In Minnesota, you’re never more than a short drive away from a wonderful public golf course – or more. The golf is as good as it gets in Minnesota, a place known for its numerous challenging, upscale golf courses. From the top of the state to the bottom there is a grand choice of courses to suit your game and fit into your schedule. Here are some of the best public golf courses in Minnesota to add to your bucket list.
If you are looking for a great northern Minnesota getaway, try Giants Ridge up on the Iron Range. The air is crisp, the colors vibrant and the golf second to none in the state. With two top championship courses that have both been cited by national “Best Of” lists, The Legend and The Quarry offer a memorable weekend of challenging golf surrounded by secluded woods, shimmering waters and abundant wildlife.
Although both were designed by renowned golf architect Jeffrey Brauer, each course features a unique layout and character. The Quarry is built on the site of a former sand quarry and iron ore mine, while The Legend is player-friendly resort course carved out of the Superior National Forest.
Located about a half-hour north of Giants Ridge, overlooking the shores of beautiful Lake Vermillion, The Wilderness at Fortune Bay completes the Northern Trilogy of Jeffrey Brauer-designed courses. The Wilderness showcases all the natural aesthetic beauty to be found in Minnesota’s Iron Range. It can play up to 7,200 yards from the tips with a stern slope of 142. It’s also quite manageable and ridiculously enjoyable from the forward tees. Bring your “A+” game when you come to the Wilderness and sharpen up your short game and putter because there is a premium in placement on the tiered greens.
Arnold Palmer designed this beautiful and challenging course, tucked into the Central Lakes region of the state. It meanders through colorful hardwoods, over rolling hills and around water and sand. The lodging can comfortably accommodate your twosome or your large group at this award-winning public course. Pro tip: with the beautiful colors and great course conditions, fall is a great time of year to visit it.
If you are in the Twin Cities, check out Edinburgh, which is the former host to an LPGA tournament. This city parkland course is full of unique and challenging holes — particularly the water holes. No. 17 is true target golf with an island landing area and peninsula green that requires thought and precision on each shot. Play where the pros have played on this great public track.
Chaska Town Course lies in the shadow of Hazeltine National Golf Club, where the Ryder Cup Matches were contested in September of 2016, but it is no slouch when it comes to beauty and challenge. Occasionally sharing the bill with Hazeltine on some of their national tournaments, this well-conditioned public course offers everything you want in an afternoon of competitive golf. Tee it up at CTC, which will co-host the U.S. Junior Amateur with Hazeltine in 2020, and the U.S. Amateur in 2024.
No Minnesota golf tour is complete without a trip to bluff country on the southeastern edge of the state, where The Jewel shimmers in the spectacular countryside. Nestled beneath towering bluffs, The Jewel’s challenge is unsurpassed and it’s beauty unmatched. In the fall, the surrounding hillsides of blazing bright trees frame the fairways like no other place in Minnesota.
You’re Never Far From a Great Public Course in Minnesota
In reality, there are way too many great public courses in Minnesota to play in a week. Whether you’re looking for a resort course or one of the top-notch public access courses closer to the Twin Cities, you can always find a great place to play. Here are some of your best options, listed alphabetically.
- Arrowwood Resort – Alexandria
- Black Bear Golf Course – Carlton
- Braemar Golf Course – Edina
- Cragun’s Resort – Brainerd
- Golden Eagle Golf Club – Fifty Lakes
- Grand View Lodge – Nisswa
- Legends Club – Prior Lake
- Madden’s on Gull Lake – Gull Lake
- Prestwick Golf Club – Woodbury
- Ridges at Sand Creek – Jordan
- Royal Golf Club – Lake Elmo
- Rush Creek Golf Club – Maple Grove
- Stonebrooke Golf Club – Shakopee
- StoneRidge Golf Club – Stillwater
- Superior National Golf Course – Lutsen
- Territory Golf Club – St. Cloud
- Thumper Pond Resort – Ottertail
- The Wilds Golf Club – Prior Lake
- Willingers Golf Course – Northfield
Pro Tip: If any of these top public courses catch your fancy, remember that the golf season runs well into October in Minnesota. In fact, fall is one of the prime times to play in the area. The conditions of the golf courses are typically at their peak in the fall, and with fewer people taking advantage, you can find some of the best public golf courses in Minnesota wide open and waiting for you to tee it up. Don’t believe us? Check out what golf.com has to say about some of the best public golf courses in Minnesota!