Timber Creek Golf Course – Timber, I’m Falling In Love
By E. Nolan
The Twin Cities metro is loaded with great golf courses, many of which you probably have never played before, and not because you can’t, but because you didn’t even know they existed. Were you to split the Twin Cities into fourths – NW, SW, NE and SE – it would be a tough call as to which quarter has the best collection of public golf, but my money would be on the Northwest.
Draw a line straight west from Minnetonka to Mound, and beyond that a bit to Watertown, and you find a lake-and-park loaded portion of Minnesota that not nearly enough golfers have explored. There, at the furthest west extent of the metro, on the outer edge of the suburbs, are a collection of golf courses as scenic and serene as any you’ll find in the state. There, near super-exclusive “Best in State” private clubs like Windsong Farm and Spring Hill, you can find courses with zero exclusivity and open tee sheets with absurdly high-value rounds. There, not far from Big Stone Mini Golf, on the outskirts of Watertown, you’ll find a course with a surprising number of 5-Star Google and GolfPass reviews that 234 of 250 golfers asked (at last year’s Minnesota Golf Show) had never even heard of.
Owner, Brooks Ellingson isn’t surprised by the past lack of awareness, and even less surprised by the lack of media recognition but doesn’t let it bother him. They stay plenty busy and receive plenty of accolades from the people that really matter – paying patrons. Kevin Unterreiner would know a thing or two about the best places to play in the Twin Cities. He runs one of the hottest golf program in Minnesota – the Public Country Club (PCC) – and, while he has less and less time to explore these days, he always loves visiting Timber Creek. “It has become one of my favorite metro area courses,” he says. “Course conditions have significantly improved since Brooks took over (and it) gets more fun the more you play and learn the layout.” Yes, Timber Creek is a PCC course so those thousands of members have it on their radar now, but the non-PCC player can also find a steal there. With peak rates currently running at only $50 for 18 holes with cart (lowest rates and all tee times are available online), you can see why I suspect those 234 golfers I talked to last year probably know of Timber Creek now.
If you go read the reviews of Timber Creek you’ll find very few critiques, especially the past couple years since Brooks took over. In fact, you’ll note something unique on visitor posts. Most courses struggle to get players to post reviews. Timber Creek not only gets a ton of reviews, but many of those reviewers share pictures (and beautiful ones at that). It should say something to you when tons of amateur photographers not only get great pictures at a golf course, but take the extra time to share them. Those people WANT you to know how great their round was!
The 18-hole, Par 72 course offers four sets of tees between 4,632 and 6,248 yards, weaving around and over wetlands, with many short forced carries over creeks traversed by an assortment of cool bridges to small circular greens with various sand, tree and aquatic defenses. You’ll find an assortment of doglegs and drops, of tree-pinched fairways and wide-open spaces. “There are just so many beautiful golf shots out there,” Brooks says, “and we work hard to maintain and supplement that beauty however and wherever we can.”
Their ridiculously low rates are a steal and Brooks knows that he could ask for (and receive) more. But where many course managers have bitten the hand that feeds them lately, Brooks has kept his rates not just competitive but generous. “I only charge what I need to charge,” he acknowledges. “Golfers get that and appreciate it.”
Great conditions, low costs, playable for all and great service… those are the common refrains from reviewers, and those are the words that golfers LOVE to hear. Golfers also love to hear that Timber Creek has a full driving range and practice area, with Men’s, Women’s and Junior Leagues, Senior Rates and daily deals, and a Pro Shop with a Snack Bar to seal the deal.
Timber Creek may be short on scorecard yardage, but those yards are extra-long in fun. “I never hear anyone complain about the distance here,” Brooks says. “Unless you count the people wishing the course was closer to their house. But…” he smiles. “You go the extra mile, and we will too.” Another guarantee golfers love to hear.