White Eagle Golf Club – Improvements With Patrons In Mind
By R.J. Smiley
Garrett Gill, golf course architect, designed White Eagle Golf Club for two distinct types of patrons: homeowners and golfers. When Garrett Gill was given 350 spectacular acres to design a first-rate golf course and limited number of secluded home sites, he salivated like Pavlov’s dog. The property was perfect; the majority of home sites would sit high on the ridgeline with unobstructed views of a golf course that would wind through the valleys carved centuries ago by the tributaries that feed the St. Croix River. Gill’s idea was to allow homeowner’s a wonderful view of the golfers but the McMansions to be built on the large lots above would not distract the golfers.
With the majority of lots sold (a few choice lots are still available), homeowner PATRONS are happy. Management at White Eagle is working to enhance the overall White Eagle golfer PATRON experience. The following is a brief summary of the improvements made for the 2012 season.
New Event Center
The combination of the new Event Center and the return of Scott Landin has allowed White Eagle to compete with other courses for corporate outings, tournaments and charity fundraisers. With very little promotion, the tent-like Event Center that will seat up to 160 people, has already generated the booking of several major events. “With the ‘covered meeting room’ we, the event organizers, have a variety of options when weather threatens our event. Schedules can be adjusted and at least an abbreviated event can now take place,” stated Landin. Word is that the homeowner PATRONS have also embraced the new Event Center. There is a beautiful summer wedding scheduled for the new golf course cathedral. And several homeowners are planning large family gatherings. To enhance the experience at the Event Center, the bar space has been tripled and the menu has been expanded.
Improvements To Hole #17
The stretch of finishing holes at White Eagle has always been tough! Some even think a little too tough! From a “pace of play standpoint,” #17 has always been a monster. Many perfect drives would trickle into the hazard at the end of the fairway, or higher handicappers would find the trees and brush on the hillside to the right. White Eagle management has spared no expense to eliminate these problems. It is hard to believe that by lengthening an already long hole, you could speed up play. But it does. Now playing 480 yards from the back tees, even the longest hitters won’t reach the end-of-fairway hazard. For the higher handicappers, and the errant long hitters, the right side of the hole has been leveled and cleaned up, thus creating a much wider landing area and fewer lost balls. The addition of a cart path down the left side along the marsh area will benefit golfers, and the impatient groups following.
For those of you who have not ventured to White Eagle, you will find a wonderful variety of well-designed golf holes. It is unimaginable to think that any golfer could ever say, “I am tired of playing this boring course.” Each day, with new pin placements and Nature’s constant changes, White Eagle is a different track.
There are several holes on White Eagle that, on any other course, would be the signature hole. But the hole that returning players visualize on their trip across the bridge is #6, the down-then-up-square-dogleg-right, par 4. Which tee your group chooses is not important as the tee shot plays drastically downhill to the fairway below. The key is to block out all distractions on this very intimidating hole and think, one shot at a time. The fairway is actually very wide and any solid shot will produce good results. Once in the fairway the shot is reversed. Looking up at the blind putting surface above creates a sure look-up situation. The shot is simple, add 25 yards to the shot length and keep your head down. Truth is it takes about three trips to White Eagle to feel comfortable with the sixth.
It is worth the short drive to Hudson to play White Eagle. The wildlife is prevalent and it is not uncommon to wait for a deer to cross the fairway before taking a shot. Be sure to keep an eye skyward as there are plenty of hawks and bald eagles soaring overhead. The natural beauty and new improvements make White Eagle a ‘Must Play’ this season. Check out the waterfall on #18, it is a subconscious reminder to have an adult beverage in the grill before leaving one of the Twin Cities finest.