Expect The Best At Crystal Lake Golf Club
By Rhett Arens
Things are rocking at Crystal Lake Golf Club. Thankfully the pandemic is mostly in the rear-view mirror. If you look around, you’ll find the practice range clicking with the sweet sound of ball-on-club all day long, the clubhouse is buzzing with merchandise sales and friendly smiles, the practice green is hopping as players make their way to the first tee, The Pub is busy dispensing refreshments and tasty food, and that showpiece course is humming with plenty of chatter and laughs. You can hear it from all corners of this 160-acre slice of golf heaven.
Most of this activity comes as no surprise to Jim Orlando and his staff who have diligently maintained country club standards at public course prices. Over the years, Jim has continuously driven incremental improvements and perfection across the entire operation and expects nothing less. This in turn has resulted in a dedicated customer-base across all age groups from the nearby edges of the southern suburbs but also has a reputation that reaches far-beyond that geography to the rest of the Twin Cities. Testing your skills among the tall pines, pristine wetlands, and dramatic water features while marveling at the beautifully maintained landscaping is a pleasure. Designer William Gill & Associates would be proud of how the course layout, its impeccable conditions and its challenging playability for all levels have stood the test of time.
Located just twenty minutes south of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Lakeville, the Crystal Lake Golf Club is a staple of suburban golf. With its rolling terrain, bunker complexes, variety of par 3s and a few reachable par 5s, it provides one of the finest golf experiences in the state. The 18-hole, par 71 course plays from four sets of tees ranging from 4,805 yards up front to 6,306 yards from the tips.
The action at Crystal Lake is not limited to the golf course. With an expansive clubhouse that incorporates a wide-view deck they have become the ‘go-to’ for everything from weddings to business meetings to family reunions in this neck of the woods as a fully inclusive operation. The hospitality staff prides themselves on an ability to combine the beautiful venue surroundings with excellent service and professional advice. If smaller, more intimate meetings is your need, they have it covered. If a large wedding is on your horizon they can meet and exceed your expectations. If something in-between is required, they have the space and customizability to make it work perfectly. Each size slot is covered with the ballroom sized Crystal Room, the Granite Room and the smaller Quartz Room. The experienced Banquet and Catering staff will take you through the planning stages, event day and post-event logistics making the entire process easy and stress free. A ‘one-stop-shop’ for your every need. In 2021 the wedding calendar is back in business after a quiet pandemic year with the new, beautifully ornate Wedding Gazebo and landscaped surroundings ringing wedding bells all summer long.
Opened in 2017, The Pub is a perfect hangout for your post-round get together or a happy hour with friends or a family dinner out. It is open daily for dining and drinks throughout the golf season. The bar is set-up for watching your favorite teams and relaxing during the off season. The patio is a great place to relax and enjoy the fresh air at one of the fire pit tables.
On the course, the tweaking towards a better round continues. In 2021 this is exemplified by an improvement to the 14th tee box. A friendly par 3 that plays 137 from the white tees. Having played the course numerous times, I have never found anything out of place on this hole, but Jim and the grounds keeping crew felt it would play better with the box straightened to the green more directly and an open canopy above the area to help the turf growth. This is typical, small example of Crystal Lake Golf Club’s on-going work and investment towards improving the playing experience. Those types of improvements might go unnoticed under other management teams, but not at Crystal Lake.
Another lights-out aspect of Crystal Lake is the instructional programs. Sheryl Maize leads this effort as a Director of Instruction. Sheryl was the 2019 LPGA National Teacher of the Year. Her schedule is stacked with group sessions, small group lessons and individual tutoring. There is always a student group or high school team on the range smiling and encouraging each other under Sheryl’s watch. She is renowned for her ‘individualism approach’ which focused on one’s core strengths and weaknesses instead of trying to build the same, technical swing for everybody. Her energy and positivity are felt everywhere on the property at Crystal Lake. Just looking at some of the more recent accolades from her instruction tells you she is an elite instructor in the world of golf professionals – 2019 LPGA National Teacher of the Year, 2020-2021 LPGA Top 50 Best Teachers, LPGA Class A Certified Teaching Professional, 2018-2020 Golf Digest Best Teacher in State.
When you pull it all together, every facet of a golf course operation and hospitality venue, Crystal Lake Golf Club has all the bases covered. In fact, they go beyond covered and have elevated into that rare air where perfection is expected, and perfection is delivered.