In my former stay-at-home dad days, I learned something valuable early on in that adventure. It was the idea that if I could get my children into golf, it meant at least one extra day a week that I could hit the course. The kids need exercise and what better way than walking nine holes with them so they will fall asleep easily later that night. Oh, and it worked out pretty well for me, also.
The key was to find some decent courses that were also home to great courses for beginning golfers. Many of these courses have decent nine hole tracks and great kids golf programs, where a parent can join in the fun or go play their own round. There are plenty of those courses among the EMGA course rolls, and here are a few to consider.
Braemar Golf Course, Edina, MN
For years, Braemar Golf Course in Edina has been a great place for anyone to learn the game on their Executive Course, and it recently became even better. In 2016, the powers that be hired local golf course architect Kevin Norby to renovate the course, and the new Academy 9 opened last spring. According to the Braemar manager Joe Abood, local golfers have been pre-booking the course for 2017, so you may want to get out there soon.
Rush Creek Golf Course, Maple Grove, MN
Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove is famous for its championship course with challenging holes and beautiful vistas, so it only made sense for them to add a nine-hole course for younger players, which they did in 2012. The Mac Nine par three course is touted as family-friendly and a great place for bigger hitters to practice their short game. That’s tailor made for any Mr. Mom golfers out there.
Chaska Par 30, Chaska, MN
The Chaska Par 30 was built in 1971 by the City of Chaska and is related to the Chaska Town Course, not far from the first tee at Hazeltine National GC, where the most recent Ryder Cup Matches were held. The Chaska Par 3 is more than a par three course and has plenty to sink your teeth into if your kids are working to step up their skills. The Robert Trent Jones design has average-sized bent grass greens, wide fairways and water hazards in play on five holes.
Madden’s on Gull Lake, Brainerd, MN
I like to plan a little golf into my family vacations, and there are a couple great resorts in Brainerd to get the most golf out of a family trip. Madden’s on Gull Lake, in addition to the highly-rated Classic, is also home to the Social 9, which is billed as “a place to have some fun.” It was just that for my entire family, as some of the holes challenged us and others were perfect for a beginner to find some success and acquire the first bit of confidence in the game.
Grand View Lodge, Nisswa, MN
Another year we vacationed across the water at Grand View Lodge, and while I scheduled some time to take on the award-winning Pines course, we definitely set aside an afternoon for everyone on Grand View’s Garden Course. This 2,500-yard par 35 course is fitted with six inch “big cups” to make it very playable and fun—and everyone enjoyed the round. In fact, I didn’t mind one-putting a few greens myself that day.