The Royal Club – That Royal Feeling

By Rhett Arens







Is there a finer feeling than checking into the pro shop on a sunny day, low winds, low stress, pay the greens fees and step out into four hours of unbridled golf bliss? That feeling is exactly what hits you when you walk out the back of The Royal Club and look to the south towards the winding fairways spreading like fingers in every direction. No doubt the impeccable putting green and bunker practice area will call to you for a quick tune-up of your short game touch for what you know will be a real test of your golfing skills. The King and Queen have insured you will be tested. That test starts right on the first tee where a fairway landing sits right in the wheelhouse between a pond on your left and trees on your right (note to the first timers, it doesn’t get easier on the second tee). But the elevated view from that tee box is so nice you will shrug it off and swing with a smile.

General Manager and Director of Golf, Kent Blaschko is brimming with confidence and with good reason, he and Head Golf Professional, Steve Peloquin, have The Royal Club golf operations humming on all fronts coming off a record year of rounds and facing the 2021 season with nothing but more improvements, more refined hole layouts and a customer base that treats him like royalty on social media. Confidence is a good thing in golf and tends to translate to strong score cards. Confidence breeds swing commitment and commitment results in well… results. With the confidence of the Hollis Cavner ownership group backing his efforts, Kent is feeling very good about the future of this former home for 3M’s Tartan Park. Thankfully 3M has not walked away from the golfing side of their public relations business.

The 3M Open figures prominently into The Royal’s yearly calendar which in turn keeps the playing conditions in the excellent range on the quality meter. Experienced superintendent Mike Sonnek sees to this. Knowing there will be several Pro-Am events and a busy schedule of high-profile tournaments throughout the year brings benefits to all of us. This includes the public players from around the Twin Cities who will get to play on the type of conditions only the big girls and boys of the LPGA and PGA get to play on.

With the course set-up to be in top form for the mid-summer 3M Open Pro-Am events, the playing public (who have had their golfing reinvigorated during the pandemic year) will find Kent has extended the tee times to ten-minute intervals which provides more pace of play comfort and takes some pressure off the courses usual wear and tear. In other words, they gave up revenue to give you better playing conditions. This shouldn’t be too surprising given that Cavner’s philosophy and ownership vision is to provide a private country club experience or lifestyle with full public accessibility. No easy task to pull off, but they are doing just that. Mike Sonneks’ fairways have never been so clean, and his greens have never rolled so true which speaks volumes given what the quality levels have been in the past. As part of the ‘lifestyle feeling’ that permeates The Royal, the real estate side of the business is in full-bloom with entire streets now fully occupied and new spaces going fast in both the eastern and southern developments. The horizon is still moving on this front and there appears to be no stopping the healthy growth.

By now, most of the hard-core golfing regulars have taken a run at The Royal. The storied architectural beginnings with Annika and Arnold have been retold and shared numerous times. Both nines are maturing nicely as tweaks and adjustments continue to improve play and the overall atheistic look of the layout. As an example, the short par 4, #15 green was relocated to avoid the occasional collision between a nasty hook and those beautiful homes that overlook the hole. Smart, to the point, problem solved, move on.

Last year the prestigious Annika Intercollegiate Tournament was put on hold, but this year will come roaring back with the top college women’s golfers in the country competing September 13th-15th with Annika again planning to be in attendance. There is also the 3M Open Pro-Am Experiences scheduled for July 20th and 24st. Lots of head-turning players will be warming up their swings in preparation for the TPC hosted PGA event July 22nd– 25th. The Royal is hosting a healthy calendar of high-profile events including P.J. Flecks Goal Line Football Classic and more.

All this public play is proof positive that The Royal Club is elevated into a world-class league where you get that ‘feeling’ of walking into a private country club and the door remains open for everybody.