I wouldn’t call myself an addict, but I do enjoy playing golf quite a bit. If you have more than 2 kids I’m sure you understand. It is 4 uninterrupted hours of solitude, usually with your boys, and at courses, you never thought you could afford as a kid when you were playing the city 9 hole course. So here are my top 5 courses I have played at. There will be glaring omissions because I haven’t played everywhere.
#5 The Links at NorthforkLocation: Ramsey, MN just off Highway 10
2023 Rates: $50 + $21 for cart ($38.00 twilight)Facts: Par 72, -11 course record, opened in 1992
Thoughts: This is my favorite links style course in the state. The fairways go on forever in true links style which helps guys like me who often spray the ball off the tee. The back 9 is less open with holes 14 onto 18 featuring heavy woods.
#4 Stonebrooke Golf ClubLocation: Shakopee, MN
2023 Rates: $79.50 includes cart, ($69.00 twilight)
Thoughts: The main draw is the pontoon that takes you from your tee shot to the fairway on hole #8. The clubhouse is gigantic, the food is above average my only issue is the price. They have introduced Dynamic pricing which means the price changes based on how busy they are. That could make your round significantly cheaper or you shell out the $80 for a round.
#3 Edinburgh USA
Location: Brooklyn Park, MN2023 Rates: $63 riding, $49 walking, Weekend: $80 riding, $60 walking
Facts: Robert Trent Jones II course, he also designed Chambers Bay site of Jordan Spieth’s US Open win in 2015, opened in 1987, and multiple LPGA events.
Thoughts: It seems as though every time I play here it’s right after a drought and the greens are way too fast to make a putt. I play the Whites or Blues so 5800-6400 yards is a decent course for me. This falls right into that bracket. The clubhouse is beautiful. The food is delicious.
#2 Rush Creek Golf Club
Location: Maple Grove, MN
2023 Rates: Before 4 pm: $125, Twilight $69, 1/2 cart $20
Facts: opened in 1996
Thoughts: I recognize that it’s tough to put a course you’ve only played twice in your personal top 5 but I enjoyed my time there. Pulling into the lot here feels a lot different than the small muni courses I grew up playing. While the price may seem steep, it is worth it. The Highlander Restaurant and Pub are also elite.
#1 The Wilderness at Fortune Bay
Location: Tower, MN
2023 Rates: depends on the season, summer rates ($103 weekday, $116 weekend) lots of stay and play packages offered with the hotel
Thoughts: This is my #1 and it’s not close. I played this course at the end of September and it happened to be the 2nd to last day they were open. Knowing that I expected the course to show signs of play throughout the summer, but it did not. It is meticulously taken care of. I was shocked by the quality of the tee boxes, the fairways, and especially the greens. When you pull into the lot you do not see much of the course. Once you walk into the pro shop giant windows show you the range and it is beautiful.
Another thing I enjoyed was the contest of the 17th hole. It is a par 3 and you can place a wager on yourself to make an ace. I believe $5 wins you $10,000 and $10 wins you $20,000. I barely made the green but gladly forked over the $10 for the memories I made with my group.
Once your round is over you can head over to the casino/hotel and enjoy a nice meal. You will find me posted up next to the slots trying to win my money back.
Honorable Mentions: There are a lot of courses that I left out because it’s a Top 5 or I simply haven’t played them…YET!
29yo, 2 kids, former place kicker for the worst high school football team in Minnesota history. 2/2 xp, 0/2 field goals, led the state in total punts.