What a wonderful October day to crown a new Mr. Golf @ SVCCOriginally published by DK on October 11, 2021 at 8:33 pm
This “friend of Doug” book was very insightfulOriginally published by DK on October 9, 2021 at 10:35 am
Doing great things in Montgomery (and elsewhere)Originally published by DK on October 8, 2021 at 10:53 am
It’s just too much on the back nineOriginally published by DK on September 19, 2021 at 1:36 pm
TC @ The DwanOriginally published by DK on September 18, 2021 at 3:05 pm
Broke down and got new golf shoes (after four years?)Originally published by DK on September 12, 2021 at 1:37 pm
Good hole to get it on, but wow does Vegas have me screwed upOriginally published by DK on September 11, 2021 at 1:56 pm
18th tee @ KellerOriginally published by DK on September 10, 2021 at 6:09 pm
Herm’s hooptieOriginally published by DK on September 6, 2021 at 4:37 pm
Despite the rain and the loss to THE Ohio StateOriginally published by DK on September 3, 2021 at 12:46 pm
Number 10 @ WillingersOriginally published by DK on August 25, 2021 at 10:06 pm
Such a great group to play golf with in MinneapolisOriginally published by DK on August 22, 2021 at 9:54 pm
The course itself was in tough shape, but it will bounce backOriginally published by DK on August 21, 2021 at 5:38 pm
And I’ll even be happy with a “senior” rateOriginally published by DK on August 19, 2021 at 10:43 pm
It’s an honor to know those two gentlemenOriginally published by DK on August 13, 2021 at 9:16 pm
All of us even parred that monster hole @ WillingersOriginally published by DK on August 12, 2021 at 12:08 pm
So nice to see Rich and his crew againOriginally published by DK on August 6, 2021 at 8:56 pm
Hastings Golf Club always has nice landscapingOriginally published by DK on July 31, 2021 at 2:54 pm
https://www.kasumigasekicc.or.jp/english/courses/eastMovie.htmlOriginally published by DK on July 27, 2021 at 6:11 pm
Brad, Craig and I hit the links in Cottage GroveOriginally published by DK on July 24, 2021 at 5:55 pm
Not a tournament legit 9.6, but I’ll take itOriginally published by DK on July 24, 2021 at 4:03 pm
Sergio, Rickie & Tony + Bubba, Louis and DJOriginally published by DK on July 22, 2021 at 3:34 pm
Some interesting stuff today @ TPC Twin Cities in BlaineOriginally published by DK on July 22, 2021 at 3:33 pm
Great to see that guy again – thanks, TB!Originally published by DK on July 21, 2021 at 10:12 pm
Two birdies at Dahlgreen and came close to shooting on the 70sOriginally published by DK on July 17, 2021 at 3:14 pm
BOGO @ The Meadows at Mystic Lake (contest prize)Originally published by DK on July 15, 2021 at 12:47 am
It was the height of our trek to reach the Solar Summit @TwoDotsOriginally published by DK on July 10, 2021 at 9:23 pm
Pond on number one, Ridges at Sand CreekOriginally published by DK on July 10, 2021 at 5:07 pm
The barn isn’t too shabby eitherOriginally published by DK on July 9, 2021 at 2:31 pm
Seth took Jeff’s place this week in Golden ValleyOriginally published by DK on July 3, 2021 at 2:36 pm
Great to catch up with Rich (and Leo and Pete) @ Gross NationalOriginally published by DK on July 2, 2021 at 1:31 pm
So great to catch up with friendsOriginally published by DK on June 25, 2021 at 8:54 am
Nice to catch up with JS in CambridgeOriginally published by DK on June 22, 2021 at 9:19 pm
Picture perfect at The DwanOriginally published by DK on June 21, 2021 at 8:42 pm
Mike: kindergarten friend; John: junior high friendOriginally published by DK on June 19, 2021 at 10:26 pm
Rush Creek + WillingersOriginally published by DK on June 16, 2021 at 10:02 pm
Thanks, Mikey Boom-Boom for the 📷Originally published by DK on June 11, 2021 at 11:23 pm
Tough walk today in the heat (car said 99F on the way home)Originally published by DK on June 5, 2021 at 2:20 pm
Keller is such a great metro assetOriginally published by DK on June 4, 2021 at 5:42 pm
Willingers doge (one of two)Originally published by DK on June 2, 2021 at 9:09 pm
https://campsite.bio/theolympicclubOriginally published by DK on May 31, 2021 at 5:47 pm
Nothing else like it in MinnesotaOriginally published by DK on May 26, 2021 at 10:07 pm
Another lovely day visiting IndependenceOriginally published by DK on May 23, 2021 at 11:33 am
18 holes with the usual gangOriginally published by DK on May 15, 2021 at 2:48 pm
Great afternoon with Rich on the NationalOriginally published by DK on May 8, 2021 at 10:13 am
This place is specialOriginally published by DK on May 4, 2021 at 9:17 pm
Skiing, now golf 🇯🇵Originally published by DK on April 11, 2021 at 6:12 pm
First year of new Masters.org Fantasy contestOriginally published by DK on April 8, 2021 at 6:51 pm
https://golf.com/news/features/every-hole-augusta-national-explained-masters-champ/Originally published by DK on April 6, 2021 at 9:23 am
Buy 3, get one free – thanks, Golf Pro Cody!Originally published by DK on April 2, 2021 at 3:47 pm
…but it got nice by the end (Ops @ Gross National)Originally published by DK on April 2, 2021 at 3:41 pm
Not quite open yet at The Meadows (had tarps on when we first arrived)Originally published by DK on March 31, 2021 at 5:15 pm
Thank you, LK, BK (and PK)Originally published by DK on February 3, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Thanks, Jamie!Originally published by DK on January 19, 2021 at 5:02 pm
As the clock inched closer to midnight at the end of this extraordinary year, I realized I was only 10K away from 300 miles on my run chart. This was already the highest annual total for the last four years, but I couldn’t end with 293.8 miles, right? Two treadmill sessions later (while watching season two of Dark), 2020 officially ends up with 300.1 miles. This, unfortunately, is mostly hill walking on a treadmill and not running outside on trails. Given the circumstances, though, I’m fine with just having a trend going in the right direction again.
With the lack of a bike challenge at work this year, my overall bike miles dropped significantly from 2019 (634.1 versus 1074.2). Part of that was also due to Erik the Bike Man being massively overwhelmed with business during the pandemic, forcing me to leave my bike at the Highland Store for three prime summer riding weeks for a needed repair. I imagine mileage will go up again in 2021, with more commuting and single track miles, along with a trip or two to outstate trails like Root River.
I can’t imagine how golf could get better in 2021. I played more rounds last season than any other year I’ve kept records. By a lot. We started a little later than normal because of the initial lockdowns (first round: April 23 at Willingers), but the weather was good all season and we played all the way into the beginning of December. My handicap dropped quite a bit this year, so there is definitely something to be said for more practice (even if I did it all on actual courses).
Grateful (in so many ways) to get to do these things. Now on to programming for the new year…Originally published by DK on January 1, 2021 at 12:35 am
Water hazards are *much* easierOriginally published by DK on December 4, 2020 at 6:29 pm
My latest research rabbit hole started when my friend Brad told me the Montgomery National Golf Course website said MNGC was one of architect Joel Goldstrand’s best designs. We’ve played a lot of rounds on Goldstrand courses over the years and I was curious to 1) know what he was up to now and 2) come up with a list of my personal favorite Goldstrand courses. Jim Souhan helped me out with the first part by interviewing him last year before the 3M Open.
Now in his 80s, the Plymouth resident has designed or renovated more than 100 golf courses during his career in several states (the majority in Minnesota). He also had an impressive playing career, winning a Minnesota state high school title in 1957, two NCAA titles at the University of Houston, the Minnesota State Open in 1973 and 1985, a tie for 12th at the U.S. Open at Hazeltine and an appearance at the 1971 Masters (82-77-MC). He was a pro at Minneapolis Golf Club for 16 years and won the Minnesota Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year award in 1979.
I haven’t played all of his courses, but here are my favorites (in rough order):
- Ridges at Sand Creek – also a part of my Minnesota 7, this gets the top slot mainly because I’ve played it the most.
- Superior National (Canyon 9) – technically now a Brauer course, the Canyon 9 has some amazingly photogenic holes (above).
- The Pines – Fred Boos (RIP) knew what he was doing when this grandfather of Brainerd courses opened in 1990.
- Eagle Valley – the City of Woodbury has a very nice muni layout thanks to Joel.
- Cannon Golf Club – not a lot of original Goldstrand left (second nine, but Garrett Gill re-did four holes in 2006).
- Links at Northfork – haven’t played here a lot, but lots of people rave about it.
- Fox Hollow – last time I played here, I got paired up with Pepe Willie. Love the green in the middle of the Crow River.
The Golf Advisor website has a comprehensive list of Goldstrand courses, while RJ Smiley at Tee Times Magazine has a fun story about Minnesota architects (Goldstrand ties with Don Herfort for biggest impact on Minnesota golf history). Explore Minnesota Golf also published a short video interview with Goldstrand back in 2010. I think Joe Bissen should head over to Plymouth with a note pad and tape recorder – a Goldstrand book would be awesome!Originally published by DK on November 30, 2020 at 9:01 pm
Round #65, Montgomery NationalOriginally published by DK on November 28, 2020 at 2:47 pm
Cue the outrageOriginally published by DK on November 15, 2020 at 9:31 am
From no coverage of the front nine to (perhaps) too much coverage?Originally published by DK on November 14, 2020 at 1:18 pm
Best November weather day ever?Originally published by DK on November 3, 2020 at 2:54 pm
https://golf.com/travel/courses/golf-top-100-golf-courses-us-2020-2021/Originally published by DK on November 2, 2020 at 2:29 pm
This has been a wonderful golf seasonOriginally published by DK on October 31, 2020 at 4:51 pm
Might’ve been the last round of 2020Originally published by DK on October 17, 2020 at 5:32 pm
Flurries to sunshine @ The WildsOriginally published by DK on October 16, 2020 at 5:44 pm
…and Joyce (Lost Spur #6, Eagan)Originally published by DK on October 14, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Patrick’s list of his top 10 Minnesota golf courses got me thinking. People often ask me my favorite courses in the state, but I’ve never really wanted to rank them. I’ve also never joined a club, so there are a number of great private courses that I’ve only played a handful of times (and some key ones I’ve still yet to play). Throw in the recent Minnesota public and private rankings from Golfweek and I guess it’s time to finally come up with my list. But since this is 7 Minute Miles, we only do “Top 7” lists around here, OK?
Before we start, a few general comments. Golf has been insanely popular in Minnesota during COVID, which has made it harder to get tee times all over this season. This is a complete reversal of the downward slide the industry took since the “Tiger Boom,” which lead to the closing of so many courses in the state (Joe Bissen documents this history extremely well in his two books on the topic). It’s been a really long time since Minnesota had any courses listed in national “best new course” rankings, but we definitely punch above our weight class nationally, with a wide range of great courses that are typically much less expensive to play than other parts of the country.
Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of Donald Ross and local architects Paul Miller and Garrett Gill are friends of mine. Minnesota has many great Ross courses that don’t make my list, but are truly great courses. Northland and White Bear Yacht Club, in particular, would likely make the list if I got to play them more often (and I’ve never played Woodhill or Minikahda). I’m curious to play Minneapolis again after the big redo, but the layout wasn’t one of my favorites before that work was done. Gill and/or Miller worked on many of my favorite public courses around here, including two that aren’t in my top seven, but are very close to the cut: Legends Club and Meadows at Mystic Lake.
I should also talk briefly about the Brainerd lakes area. There are a concentration of spectacular courses there, but most of them get canceled out for me by the Jeffrey Brauer trio of courses farther north. So I while I think courses like The Classic and The Preserve are wonderful, I’d still rather play at Fortune Bay and Giants Ridge. Deacon’s Lodge is the only course on the Golfweek public list that I haven’t played, so I may have to revisit my thinking about this at some point (I also haven’t played Golden Eagle in Fifty Lakes).
Lists like this are always subjective (and ultimately political), but this is my take for 2020. With all of that out of the way, let’s get started.
#7 – Willingers Golf Club, Northfield
I’ve played this Gill/Miller course 45 times and keep my handicap here. I love that the plans for the housing development fell through, leaving the nature vibe intact. I wish they could find a few more yards on the card to get the white tees to 6000 yards so more people would play the correct set of tees, but otherwise this is such a fun layout. It never seems overly crowded and I don’t think we’ve ever had a slow round here in 25 years of venturing down to Northfield. RIP the tree on number 12.
#6 – Ridges at Sand Creek, Jordan
My regular Saturday group used to alternate between here and Willingers on a regular basis, but this really has become our mainstay the past few years. We started playing here in 2000 and had a brief boycott after owner Mike Malone and crew regularly allowed fivesomes on weekend mornings. We had one terribly slow round here this year (a common problem for many courses), but management now is very proactive about keeping things moving. The holes “on top” aren’t all that memorable (aka the farmland holes), but the 11 holes along the Sand Creek would not be out of place in Brainerd. Sand Creek hosts the state high school class AA boys and girls championships (if and when those ever return) and always seems to be in tournament condition. Probably the best Joel Goldstrand course ever. Sad COVID casualty: the free shuttles up the hill for us walkers.
#5 – Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska
My mentor has been a member here as long as I can remember, so I’ve had the honor of playing Hazeltine several times over the years. The new clubhouse is a big improvement over the old the one, but I guess it’s not really that new any more. It was great fun volunteering at the 2002 PGA Championship, playing reporter at the 2009 PGA and attending the 2016 Ryder Cup as a fan. The staff here are top notch, from my friend (and course superintendent) Chris Tritabaugh to past Tapemark participants Mike Barge and Chandler Withington. The history is building for this “modern” course and it’s super fun to play where the pros play. HNGC would likely be ranked higher for me if I were a better player – it’s an extremely difficult golf course, with lightning fast greens and nearly impossible rough when they get it ready for the big tournaments.
#4 – The Quarry at Giants Ridge, Biwabik
When I worked in northern Minnesota, Giants Ridge was the competition. The original golf course, now called The Legend, was the first resort course to open in the area. It wasn’t walkable and conditioning could be a little hit or miss, but it was a fun course. The Quarry opened next, followed closely by The Wilderness. It instantly became a dog fight between us and The Quarry for the top public course in the state. Initially, I thought it was a bit too much target golf, but it has really grown on me over time. It is quirky, stunningly beautiful, well-conditioned, walkable and a joy to play. The clubhouse is small, but has a solid pro shop and a good kitchen. Wasn’t a fan of the closing hole at either Giants Ridge course, but I now appreciate 18 at The Quarry much more than I used to. Eagled number 10 last time I was there – good times, good times…
#3 – Windsong Farm Golf Club, Independence
Back when I worked for an airline, I played Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon and learned about architect Bob Cupp. That lead me to Rush Creek in Maple Grove, which was a Bob Cupp/John Fought collaboration. Mr. Fought started working with Tom Lehman, which brought us the gem that is Windsong Farm (and also the splendid Somerby outside of Rochester). I had taken pictures of the Minnesota Junior Girl’s State Championship at Windsong in 2007, but had never played the course until last year. They recently completed a number of improvements and a second round there this year confirmed my opinion that “the Farm” is becoming a big, big deal in the Minnesota golf scene.
#2 – The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, Tower
Spoiler alert: I worked for the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa for five years, so I’ve played more golf on The Wilderness than any other course. I will always have a bias for it over Giants Ridge, but Fortune Bay generally has a more playable course than either The Quarry or The Legend. It’s just more fun to me, with fewer chances to lose a million golf balls. The stretch of 12-13-14 are still the only holes I’ve ever birdied back to back to back. I love walking this course, even though everyone to this day thinks I’m crazy for doing that. Stellar set of par threes. The biarritz green on the par four fifth hole is the only one I know of in Minnesota.
#1 – Interlachen Country Club, Edina
Hard to disagree with Patrick here – Interlachen is the full real deal of Minnesota golf. I love everything about this club: the history with Bobby Jones and the lily pad shot in the 1930 U.S. Open, watching Annika at the 2002 Solheim Cup, photographing the 2008 Women’s U.S. Open, the beautiful English Tudor clubhouse, the tight fairways, the elevated greens. Willie Watson, Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones, Willie Kidd, Patty Berg, Jock Olson. Always envisioned this as the ultimate Minnesota country club lifestyle: golf with all the other perks thrown in. Only played the course a handful of times (two charity tournaments and one solo round to play and photograph). Only negative is that it’s too short now for the PGA Tour to ever return. Their loss.
So that wraps up my first edition of Top 7 Minnesota Courses. I hope to play the remaining three courses from the Golfweek rankings that I’ve not visited and make this an annual post (or maybe every other year, like a certain golf publication). Would also like to give a big shout-out to Dave Tentis across the border at Troy Burne (another great Tom Lehman course) that we might have to give honorary Minnesota citizenship to at some point. Oh, and be sure to check out the excellent golf course photography that Patrick has posted on his beautiful website.Originally published by DK on October 9, 2020 at 11:43 pm
Love the subtle jab at NYOriginally published by DK on October 9, 2020 at 2:51 pm
http://www.pjkoenig.com/golf-blog/2020/10/5/the-minnesota-top-tenOriginally published by DK on October 9, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Don’t see that every dayOriginally published by DK on October 1, 2020 at 11:12 pm