History And Home At Dahlgreen Golf Club
By Rhett Arens
Located a mere five miles west of Chaska, Dahlgreen Golf Club exudes that comfortable clubhouse feel that allows you to let your hair down and have some fun. The course also has that familiar feel that keeps you loose and allows that driver to keep hitting fairways. That feeling doesn’t come from some manufactured marketing conference room, it comes from the family who cultivated it, first as the family farm and then as the dream-come-true golf course it is today. As Head Golf Pro Eric Wann is fond of saying, “Hospitality is number one here, we try to make everyone feel like they belong.”
Founded in 1969, this piece of golfing terrain goes back much farther than that as a family farm operation. Before its opening at the end of the 60’s Bill and Emma Tessman nurtured and farmed the land on which Dahlgreen was built, which means there are deep family ties to the land. Upon arriving at a crossroads about what to do with the property, it was Emma who suggested a golf course. With that idea the dream was launched and began its journey into reality. Located on the outskirts of Dahlgren Township, it was son-in-law Paul who coined the name ‘Dahlgreen’ and being no stranger to hard work the family rolled up their collective sleeves and began the transformation.
The original front nine was seeded and opened for limited play in 1968 generating enough revenue with the ‘pay on your honor’ system (a wooden box nailed to a tree) that eventually the back nine was graded, seeded and opened in the summer of 1971, and with that, the 18-hole dream was born. A number of changes and improvements were undertaken over the years where holes were renovated and rerouted allowing for a smooth pace of play and good proximity to the clubhouse. More long-term changes came in the addition of water features and bunkers along with some elevation fine-tuning and expanded tee boxes. It has all come to fruition where today Dahlgreen’s classic 18-hole design offers a “true test of golf.”
The golf course is complimented perfectly with a large, window-filled bar/restaurant called Stick’s Tavern. It has a great reputation in the greater Carver County area for its delicious food and is a busy spot on weekends. The farm to table menu is a product of using only high quality, fresh, locally sourced ingredients from Minnesota farms and nearby producers. The deep menu offers specialties including pan-seared walleye, prime rib and several signature pasta dishes. There are plenty of appetizer options as well, everything from chicken pot stickers to beer battered cheese curds and more. The fantastic views from the window-filled Stick’s combines plenty of elbow room with a family friendly atmosphere, pool tables, large screen TV’s and plenty of belly-up stools at the full service bar. No reservations required, just come in, sit down and let F&B Manager Keith Hinrichs and his staff do the rest.
If you think you’re going to bring your big city game to this little gem in the country and dominate, you’ve got another thing coming. The scorecard spells it out in plain language; at a challenging 6,761 yards from the back tees where you will be playing into a 73.5 rating and 136 slope. If that’s a bit too intimidating, you might consider the white tees at 6,527 yards with a 134/72.4, still a formidable challenge. Don’t worry, there are two more sets of tees set-up for the higher handicappers and families with the front set coming in at 5,108 yards. It’s always nice to dial it into your own range.
Eric Wann, Head Golf Professional is quick to remind you that golf is played with a variety of shots. Using all the clubs in the bag will serve you well at DGC. With tight fairway tee box looks and a handful of water carrys your layup decisions and swing execution will need to be working well. Dahlgreen’s didn’t put the name ‘green’ in their brand for nothing. Those silky, slightly undulating surfaces have a reputation in golf circles as fair and beautifully maintained. That reputation is well-deserved and something the Eric and the Tessman family takes pride in. Eric stands behind his quote that, “These greens can compete with any greens in the state.” It’s right there in their name, so they understand it needs to be front and center.
Heading west out of Eden Prairie on Highway 212 you’ll pass a few of the high-profile, high-end courses that make their home in this corner of the Twin Cities. Keep the car on cruise control and proceed west as you pass Chaska. The green fields and wide-open skies will greet you as you roll into Dahlgren. It’s well worth the drive if just to putt on those excellent greens. Stay the course as they say and you’ll find Dahlgreen waiting for you just west of town with a smile, a carefully maintained 18-hole course and family hug that only tradition and hard-work can make happen.