If you live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul you know the area is a golfer’s paradise with its bounty of great golf courses within short driving distances. But if you travel for work and like to…
For one spectacular week in late September and early October, Minnesota was the center of the golf world. And boy did Minnesota shine!
As the first foursome took to the tee for the opening shots of the 2016 Ryder Cup, a thick fog blanketed the fairways across Hazeltine National Golf Club, and the cool damp air soaked into the spectators as they awaited the start of play in overwhelming delight. Chilly temperatures early in the week gave way to brilliant blue skies, warm breezes, and nostalgic Indian summer afternoons. The Ryder Cup was here, along with the world’s best golfers, creating the greatest stage for Minnesota golf and both were up to the challenge.
As the sultry heat of a Minnesota summer dissipates and gives way to the temperate glory of fall, you may hear the following question: What are the best courses in the Twin Cities for fall golf? If you are ever asked that question, the answer is easy: any of them. Fall is arguably the best time to play golf in Minnesota, so you generally won’t go wrong choosing one.
As in all things, though, some are better than others. And if you are looking for the best places to play golf in the Twin Cities, the golf courses of the Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance have that in spades. The course conditioning this time of year is top-notch, the weather could not be better, and the splendor of the turning trees in one of the most beautiful urban areas in the country are three of the best reasons to tee it up in the Twin Cities in the fall.
Here is a list of some great courses for fall golf in the Twin Cities, where the green fairways are complemented by shimmering blue waters and blazing autumn colors:
The 2016 Ryder Cup comes to Minnesota in (very) late September. That may have some of the planners of the event shivering in fear over what the weather might bring. But for golf fans coming to Hazeltine National Golf Club to enjoy the event, it just takes a little preparation and foreknowledge to plan for Ryder Cup weather in Minnesota — and we have that here.
What is fall golf like in Minnesota?
Every fall, my extended family has a golf outing on the last weekend in September (planned for then because we are a group with varying degrees of golf skills and don’t want to clog up courses during peak summer play), and honestly we have a seen a wide range of weather over the years — including snow pellets shaped like tiny golf balls on one occasion. But in general, we have experienced golf in, arguably, some of the finest weather of the season.
With two excellent Jeffrey Bauer courses, The Legend and The Quarry, Giants Ridge has long been on most Minnesota golfers’ must-play lists. Giants Ridge head professional John Kendall has been at the resort in Biwabik for 16 years, and has helped it grow into one of the top courses in the country. We talked with Kendall recently, and asked him five questions about those great northern Minnesota tracks.
Q: What makes The Quarry a consistent Top Public Golf Course in America?
A: More than anything, I think that the variety of holes golfers play at The Quarry is the reason it has been so well received. Jeffrey Brauer used the elevation changes on the property to create some memorable views and gave the course a look that you wouldn’t expect from northeast Minnesota. The par 3s and par 5s at The Quarry are all great, but for me, the par 4s really stand out. I’ve never played a course with as good a mix of outstanding short and long par 4s that are not only challenging to play but are also as picturesque as they are.
Q: How is The Quarry different from The Legend? Do they appeal to the same or different kinds of golfers?
Winter’s Over And So Is The Need For Winter Rules
Minnesota is known for its winters—sometimes long, occasionally harsh, and certainly snowy. But the people here are used to it and prepared for it—just like they are prepared for any adverse conditions, especially on the golf course. This year we’re experiencing great conditions for early spring golf— which means most courses won’t need any “winter rules” because the courses are ready to go.
What Are Winter Rules?
In the previous two years, local golf courses have suffered through two late, wet and cold springs, and some clubs (particularly last season) employed the Preferred Lies or Winter Rules procedure, which falls under Local Rules in the Rules of Golf book. The procedure calls for the following:
“Adverse conditions, including the poor condition of the course or the existence of mud, are sometimes so general, particularly during winter months, that the Committee may decide to grant relief by temporary Local Rule either to protect the course or to promote fair and pleasant play. The Local Rule should be withdrawn as soon as the conditions warrant.”