Golf With Devotion At Dahlgreen Golf Club
By Rhett Arens
Chaska has a center of gravity when it comes to golf. Without naming names, we all know the big hitter, deep pocket tracks that populate this corner of the Twin Cities. Thankfully there is also a family orientated, value-priced option for those of us that seek out some of that ‘old school, at home feeling’ when we pull the clubs out of the trunk. Dahlgreen Golf Club has cultivated that vibe for years… 51 to be exact. It shouldn’t come as any surprise given the course has been owned and operated by the same family for those 51 years. The fact that this stretch of real estate has been entertaining players for half a century is a tell-tale sign that there is always an appetite for good quality at a fair price. This former family farm site now enjoys one of the longest standing golf operations in the state.
Where the front nine sits was a former pasture for dairy cows and saw its first round of play in 1968. Patrons left their green fees in a wooden box nailed to a tree on the honor system until the clubhouse was built in 1969. Having seen the potential for success, the back nine was under development in 1971 with the full 18-hole course officially opened as Dahlgreen Golf Club in 1972 by the Tessman family. Appropriately the course was named Dahlgreen in reference to the nearby township of Dahlgren. Remember, their ‘greens’ have always been special here.
Flash forward to today where Dahlgreen is still thriving in the Chaska golf scene having implemented many upgrades and improvements over the years. Bunkers were added, hills excavated, berms built, tees boxes expanded, and plenty of trees planted. It’s all resulted in a challenging yet fair course that hosts its share of tournaments, leagues and events. I can’t imagine the pride the Tessman family feels when they look out over their generational homestead and see those lovely tee boxes full of golfers where the cows once pastured.
Assistant Golf Professional Eric Wann is quick to point out that their position in the golf hierarchy does not sacrifice quality, especially on the putting green quality. Everybody in the western suburbs knows that Dahlgreen brings the goods on its greens. The course length stretches from 5,108 on the forward tees to 6,761 from the blue tees so there are options for players of all skill levels which keeps the pace of play nicely on-target.
The layout starts with a short par 4 (336 from the whites) that ideally plays best with a slight draw. Not everyone has that shot in their bag, but birdies are workable on this hole. The deceptively long par 3 second changes gears and gives you the chance to show-off your mid-iron game. The lengthy par 5 fifth is tight. The fairway drops to the right and when coupled with the dogleg right it’s an obvious choice to stay left for a look into the green complex. It’s still no easy task so keep your swing under control and the ball flight straight or slightly fading right. It’s nice to come into the turn with a birdie opportunity and that is exactly what the straightforward par 4 ninth offers. Again, a straight drive is preferred, but be smart on your second shot yardage as there are two big bunkers guarding the front edge of the green.
Elevation greets you as you turn the corner into the par 4 tenth that looks longer than it plays. Best to keep the drives left of center. Birdies and even eagles may be possible on the short par 5 eleventh which plays at 525 yards from the whites and offers some grip-n-rip elbow room. Beware of the greenside bunkers on the right, but by all means… go for it! With your shot-making skill firing on all cylinders you are ready for challenging par 4 closer. This 383 yard gentle dogleg right you will require you to split the water on the right and tall trees on the left. The fun doesn’t end on the fairway as the rollicking green presents the need for a careful read and a steady putting stroke.
A nice place to unwind and engage in some post-round banter is at The Sticks Tavern. The family run restaurant and bar offer a full menu and a wide selection of classic appetizers. It is the perfect setting for family and friends to gather for lunch or dinner. The same home comfort atmosphere that hangs on the golf course is in full display at The Sticks as well. Enjoy the views of the course and the locally sourced ingredients from this slice of the Chaska countryside.
Courses like Dahlgreen can fly under the radar at times alongside the sexier, corporate golf mega complexes, but there will always be an appreciation for the comforts of home, a welcoming smile and a high-value round of golf. The Team at Dahlgreen is all about that and 51 years of success making people smile speaks for itself. It’s a great time to swing in and become part of the family.