Offseason Improvements to Familiar Minnesota Golf Courses
Golf is about discovering something new – a new shot, a new lowest score, a new place to play, or even a new playing partner. Almost as much fun as swinging a new club on real grass for the first time in the spring is discovering what is new at your favorite course when the grass turns green. From cosmetic facelifts to complete course renovations, golf courses occasionally go through offseason changes and offer a whole new look or challenge come spring. Here are some offseason golf course renovations in Minnesota that you might not have heard about.
One club that has made some course improvements is the Legends Golf Club in Prior Lake. This award-winning, upscale public course has raised the bar even higher for great courses that you can play.
Last fall, the bunkers at Legends Golf Club underwent an extensive renovation. The work included repairing or replacing the drainage in all of the bunkers on the course. Maintenance crews changed the configuration of a number of bunkers, pulling the sand to the bottom of the bunker so it remains relatively flat, and re-sodded the bunker faces.
Legends Golf Club uses Ohio Pro-Angle white sand barged in from the Ohio Valley in the course’s 52 bunkers (which represents six acres of white sand on the course). The renovation included adding more than 125 tons of new sand during the reconfiguration. The changes will provide a consistent playability and a look that golfers are sure to enjoy.
Sand and Water
Prestwick owner David Mooty continued his master plan to update this highly rated public golf club in Woodbury, with major changes on the 1st and 13th holes. Three bunkers were removed from the tee-shot landing area on the right side of the first fairway, shifting the optimal landing area to the left. A large mound and two large trees were removed from the rough on the left side of the hole, replaced by a larger, more receptive fairway area.
However, don’t be fooled by the inviting fairway as a strong drive, particularly with the prevailing southwest wind, brings the water hazard into play, especially after it has been pulled in some ten yards closer to the landing area. To further protect the generous green, a third bunker was added to the right side rough, to make the big hitter think twice about going for the green with his or her drive. A fourth greenside bunker was added on the left, for both aim and protection, and to lend some extra character to the opening hole.
The water feature running along the right side of the 13th fairway was also renovated as part of a dynamic government-private industry project with Washington County and Prestwick. The project involved the expanding of the storm water retention capabilities on the 13th and 14th holes in conjunction with the Country Road 19 expansion project, to be used as irrigation water on the golf course. The primary tees were also elevated, enhancing the view to the water feature, and extra teeing space was created. The shared white and blue tees were divided into their own teeing space and a new ladies tee was formed, decreasing the total yardage on number 13 for women.
The Preserve in Pequot Lakes, part of Grand View Lodge’s group of courses, has conducted some extensive renovations at this great North Woods track. The renovation project will cost $1 million and features extensive improvements to the course’s tee boxes. The tees are being reworked, enlarged and re-sodded to improve playability, increase the number of teeing options and entries to holes, and simply offer a better experience to golfers.
The major renovation, which began last fall, is expected to continue this spring and be completed for summer play. You can check out photos and videos of this Minnesota golf course renovation on the course’s Facebook page.
Grand View Lodge previously put some money into its other legendary course, The Pines. Coupled with the course renovations to The Preserve, it will be worth a drive up north next summer to see what’s new at these two courses.
Giants Ridge in Biwabik is attending to upkeep issues that will not change how the course looks or plays, but will certainly help maintain its peak conditioning. In 2014, the resort completed some bunker work that included re-sodding areas around the bunkers and re-conditioning and replacing sand in the steep areas of the bunkers on both courses – The Legend and The Quarry.
They have also completed 18 drainage projects on each course, which greatly impacts conditioning. The Giants Ridge courses also went through irrigation system improvements (repairing and leveling irrigation heads) to maintain consistent irrigation.
The resort has also begun to utilize the on-site weather station and soil moisture sensors that provide a greater level of consistency in determining water level application. The combination of these efforts results in much healthier golf courses and reduces the courses’ year-over-year water usage by several million gallons.
While these Minnesota golf course renovations don’t necessarily feature a new hole or course routing, they do represent changes that will help make your next round more enjoyable (if you stay out of the new bunkers, that is).
Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to raise awareness of Minnesota golf courses and resorts as international travel destinations. Our member facilities feature award-winning, championship golf courses and are geographically disbursed across the great state of Minnesota. The combination of exceptional quality and outstanding value make Minnesota one of the best golf destinations in the United States.