Whitefish Golf Club – You’ll Like It Here

By Seamus McGee

When the modern era of golf course architecture emerged with a merged emphasis on target-golf, the game was lead into the arms of extreme difficulty, and demanding golf for the average player became more than a wee bit of too much to take. Bunker-lined fairways, Atlantic Ocean length carries, and trees hovering frightfully over tee-boxes, sadly, morphed into what is now known as the new normal in golf design.

Just a short two-hour trip from Minneapolis to Pequot Lakes changes everything. Relief from severity, a full dose of sincerity, and a tidy little set of golf holes is what will be discovered. See, tucked away in the tall pines and majestic oaks of the Brainerd Lakes area, is a classic style golf course built in the pre-boom days, and it simply must be at the top of your next vacation itinerary. With just the right amount of everything, Whitefish Golf Club just on the tip of Pequot Lakes is humming along – healthy and thriving. The reason for this is because they do it right, and they did it right from the start.

“Right from the beginning, the very vision and mission of our golf course and club was to be extremely player friendly,” General Manager and PGA Head Professional Steve Bengtson said, “No, we do not have the longest par 5’s or par 3’s that are played off a cliff, but what Whitefish does offer is a fun and fair test.” He continues, “It is a classic golf course, perfect for golfers who like to walk when they play, and not get overwhelmed or exhausted if they’re riding and just simply can’t handle the extremely difficult shots from the modern design era.” True.

And, interesting it is, then, that the first nine holes at Whitefish were the 1968 creation of several pioneering local residents and vacation home owners who were determined that a new golf course was needed to meet the growing demands of its’ seasonal residents. Thus, the front nine at Whitefish became a tidy way for homeowners and vacationers to spend an early morning or lovely summer afternoon frolicking amongst the fine fairways and birch trees. Time went by, and the new golf course proved so successful that adding an additional 9-holes was the obvious and logical progression.

So, by 1983, famed but not forgotten Minneapolis golf course architect Don Herfort was handed the keys to handle the design, rebuild, and add the new set of holes at Whitefish. The result was a club that, all these years later, can now provide an experience to feel great about playing an extra vacation round or two. “It’s not too long, not too tricky, and just right,” the Class A PGA Pro Bengtson stated. But, while it is true that Whitefish Golf Club is THE place to sneak in a couple of recreational rounds during a vacation up north, it is even more so the type of club to call home. “Many of our members have met a lot of their closest friends through the golf course,” said Bengtson. “They’re here for recreation, and that’s what we are in the business of providing.” Steve B. is a class A person!

As such, Whitefish staffers have tremendous pride in offering members and guests the best value in golf.  “It is a great place to socialize after a round, too. We have 300 golfing members, and our restaurant, Bogey’s, is a popular spot for players to brag about birdies and pars they had that day,” added Bengtson, alluding to the cozy and relaxed indoor and outdoor atmosphere with fare aplenty. “People love our product, and no matter who they are, people are always comfortable walking into our club,” Bengston said. “It is clearly cliché, but Whitefish really is a place ‘where everybody knows your name’.”

Whitefish is really special, and not only will you like it here, you’ll love it here. Yes, great conditions and presentation at a moderate price is what makes it great, but what Whitefish does right more than anything is treat people right. So, the founders were right on when they built a course that wasn’t crazy when all the crazies were telling them to.  And the pro, Bengston, provided an emphatic proclamation: “Customers tell us that we are the best value in the area, and we have a hard time not agreeing!” Give it a go. You’ll like it here!

Whitefish #9 Photo Courtesy of Peter Wong Photography

Whitefish #12 Photo Courtesy of Peter Wong Photography

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