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.”
How Early the Golf Season Actually Opens In Minnesota
Minnesota is known for our long, cold winters. But we also have some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country – not to
mention some of the most passionate golfers. In fact, Minnesota leads the nation in golfers per capita, meaning there’s plenty of pressure to get those courses open for the season. Still, you may be surprised by just how early the golf season actually opens here in Minnesota.
Granted, we had a milder winter than usual, but most of the courses in the Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance were already open by the middle of April.
You may need to pack a sweater and some rain gear for your first rounds of the spring, but that never stopped anybody from golfing in Scotland. And once our weather warms up, golf in Minnesota is absolutely glorious. So click the links below and schedule a round or two.
Enjoy the season!
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