Voyager Village – The Golfer’s Landing
By E. Nolan
I always forget that Voyager Village is in Wisconsin, partially because it seems so close to the Twin Cities and additionally because there are so many other Minnesota courses nearby. Management at Voyager Village likes to emphasize the two-hour metro proximity – that it’s only two hours away – but truthfully, it’s never even taken me that long to get there. I’ve played Voyager Village on my way to/from Hayward, on a trip to Turtle Lake and even on a Hinckley casino swing – it’s not much of a detour from any of them. (For that matter, it’s even on the way to/from Duluth!) That’s the best angle to consider when you’re looking at this beautiful lakeside property and wondering how/when you can get there. So many different ways.
There’s a certain truth to the local adage that “the further north you go the prettier it gets.” Anyone who’s been to Hayward in the summer knows what kind of a destination it is for boaters, fishermen (and women) and golfers. (Tons of lakes!) Voyager Village is set in that same kind of destination (just a whole lot closer). So many lakes! Voyager Village has 27 holes of golf (and its own landing strip), surrounded by Loon, Fish, Hanscom and Birch Island Lakes. In fact, they have a fun, short little 9-holer cut along the banks of Birch Island Lake, providing some amazing beauty and golf drama at every turn.
Voyager Village is more of a Golf Community and Country Club than a Golf Resort, and they warmly welcome all non-members. Golf may be the centerpiece and main event, but it’s not the all and everything. They have a great indoor Pool & Fitness Center, Bocce Leagues, Tennis and Pickleball Courts, Hiking and Biking Trails, Mini Golf, Lakes & Beaches, Playgrounds and even a Community Theatre. In other words, Voyager Village is a year round destination!
Their Grill is a popular community and golfer hangout, but also a convenient lunch/dinner stop for area pilots, given its prime location just off Voyager Village’s airstrip. You’re trying to visualize the place right now, aren’t you – lakeside, airstrip, 27 holes of golf, pool & rec center, mini golf – and it’s got to be blowing your mind. That’s why I had to go check it out for myself (a few times) and why I think you should be planning your own trip up there this year.
I don’t want to get away from The Grill without talking about their diverse menu (Hangover Burger, Cheese Curds and Southwest Chipotle Chicken Wrap, to name a few items), their bountiful specials (Wing Night, Burger Night, Prime Rib, Fish Fry and Broasted Chicken) and their fabulous breakfasts Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (They have a great menu just for their breakfasts!) This is a place that pulls no punches in pleasing their people, and if you’re visiting there… you’re one of their people.
The championship course is set within 5,200 acres of wood and wetlands, loaded with rolling hills, beautiful views and plenty of wildlife (occasionally even bears). The Par 72 course plays from four sets of tees from 5,250 to nearly 6,600 yards – plenty of options and distance to challenge anyone’s game, and a great facility for hosting golf groups/events.
The first hole is a straightaway runway (can be literally if you’re a tad bit right). From there you break off into the forest where a collection of thrilling holes will impress. The beautiful, downhill Par 3, 4th hole is my favorite on the front nine, guarded to the front and right by a pretty little pond. The 6th hole heads back down the other side of the runway and you weave your way back to the clubhouse. There are some tight shots on the front, but generally it’s a good nine to get your game rolling.
The back is more challenging. Hole 11 is one of the course “signatures” – an undulating three-shot Par 5 that snakes around ponds. Make sure you’re paying close attention to your distances. You’ll cut back and forth, through the trees and along the marshland, all the way up to the fun closing stretch from 16 to 18. Sixteen is a lengthy uphill climb, setting up the Par 3 at 17 and the incredibly dramatic 18th with its menacing tee shot and last couple shots in to the closing green.
I enjoy the championship round, but nothing beats playing along the lake in my book, so my son and I will loop around the “Lake 9” as often as we can. Shot after beautiful shot, it’s a great quick round to add on (or play several times) on ANY golf day. Take the YouTube aerial tour on their website (or in your own plane). Get to know Voyager Village a bit better. Then make sure you stop by when you’re in, or circling around, the neighborhood.