Twin Pleasures At Heritage Links GC
By Rhett Arens
Not sure what it is about this corner of the Twin Cities? Maybe it’s something in the water that sprouts quality golf courses from the lay of the land, kinda like Scotty Scheffler’s run on PGA tournaments this year… the next one is just around the corner. There are plenty of them here in the South Metro and nestled among the rolling hills is another winner – Heritage Links Golf Club, holding its head high among the rest.
Opening for play in 1997, the par-71 golf course at Heritage Links is over 6,600 yards from the back tees providing plenty of length for the big hitters and lots of tight spots for the shot makers. It was designed by noted Minnesota golf architect Joel Goldstrand. Joel was known as a long hitter in his PGA days. After a stint as Club Pro at the Minneapolis Golf Club, he became one of the most prominent course designers in state history. If you play golf in Minnesota, you have played a Goldstrand course. It says a lot about Heritage Links lineage and has Head Golf Professional Brett Martinson and his team proud to be managing the operation.
The course is located in Lakeville, Minnesota about three miles west of 35W on County Road 70. The front nine plays with an open feel, full exposure to the wind and water. The back nine is more wooded in a park-style tradition with tree-lined fairways, plenty of well-maintained bunkers and testy elevation changes. With nearly 45 bunkers spread throughout the 18-hole layout, water comes into play on 16 of 18 holes. It sounds daunting, but believe me, read your shot lines, and try to stay away from those misguided hero shots and you’ll find more pars than bogeys and it certainly helps to have strong shot-making abilities. With four sets of tees ranging from 5,145 yards to 6,672 yards, it is no problem finding your proper difficulty level and keeping your card clean of doubles.
The 2022 season finds the Heritage Links Golf Club in the best shape ‘ever’ as Superintendent Ty Tolleson has worked his experience and skills to the max resulting in phenomenal course conditions. Let’s look at a few of the highlights as you make your way around the course.
The round starts with a wide-open look from the box. Right handers will appreciate the opportunity to let a hard fade loose. The long par 4, 3rd has water on both sides off the tee which really shouldn’t impact too much, it’s the second wetlands patch that can cause trouble, beware. In fact, these pockets of cattail strewn marshlands are a signature element in the course design, they are strategically scattered throughout the front nine which builds in cautionary shot requirements.
The back is another animal, it has the trees, some challenging layups and some tight restrictions coming into greens. That becomes very apparent as you try to navigate the drive distance to set-up those second shots through trees and over water hazards. Good luck, it’s more of the deceptive Goldstrand magic playing with your head. The par 3, 14th is a short (138 yards from the back tees) downhill look with natural wetlands surrounding the left half of the green and a bunker out front, it is an atheistically beautiful hole. The last four holes are called ‘Murderers Row’ by the regulars who try to tackle them on a weekly basis. The 15th requires a carry off the tee box and well-placed iron or wedge into the green, again there is prominent water out front of the green. The 17th requires precision on the tee shot and 18 is best played by splitting the fairway and then nailing your yardage uphill into the green, this shot can play anywhere from 125 to 170 depending on wind and pin placement. It’s a gas to play where the front and back nines have such a different feel.
Brett has added some winter golf fun recently with the installation of two HD Golf Simulators. They’ve paired these state-of-art playing simulators with a small, but well-thought-out menu of food and drinks. It’s an ideal venue for keeping your game sharp in the winter and staying in touch with friends.
The golf is a great reason to visit Heritage Links, but there are other reasons as well. The recently remodeled clubhouse has a comfortable new bar and a spacious, new deck that gives a welcoming vibe. The Heritage Links Banquet Facility is a superb choice when planning your next banquet, wedding or group event. The hospitality team has been serving customers in the greater Lakeville area for years including Prior Lake, Burnsville, Elko, New Market, Apple Valley and Farmington. With the bonus of having two types of playing experiences on one score card and recent upgrades in the facilities, Heritage Links is inviting you to come out and test your shot making.