The most scenic Par 3s in Minnesota set themselves apart in two distinct ways: Highlighting unique, natural landscapes and integrating that beauty into challenging tee box decisions for golfers of all levels. The landscapes on these golf courses – these Par 3s in particular – are worthy of their own trip. Beauty alone may suffice, but the risk vs. reward excitement you’ll find on these tee boxes complete the experience. Here are some of Minnesota’s most scenic Par 3s.
Hole 3 at The Wilderness at Fortune Bay is carved in Minnesota’s North Woods, with an experience that begins before you reach the tee, on a path through dense evergreens. Once you hit the clearing, the thick trunks make way for a tree-lined Par 3 off a small pond. The neighboring wetlands draw wildlife year round. “The Walleye” is a warm, challenging welcome for your Northern Minnesota visit and offers an appreciative pause to get you ready for the holes ahead.
You won’t forget playing Hole 17 at Deacon’s Lodge, the signature hole on this cherished Arnold Palmer course at Breezy Point Point. At 200 yards from the back tee, the inviting 40-yard-deep green is surrounded by wetlands, a lake, and woods. These natural features, along with greenside bunkers, provide both a great view and a great test for those who step foot on a hole that made Arnie’s own “Dream 18” list.
Some holes are so tough they make you want to hole out as soon as possible and move onto the next one. When you reach Hole 17 at Giants Ridge – The Legends Course, you’ll want to stay for a day on the lake. The “Cypress Point of Minnesota,” as many call it, offers one of the best shoreline spots on Sabin Lake. With a lake inlet guarding the green, the teeshot will grab your attention, too. They are arranged to challenge players of all skill levels without overly intimidating when picking your club.
The Legends Club signature hole is what you might call a Minnesota Island Green — it’s surrounded by a lake and woods. The Legends Club signature hole, the 13th, helped this Prior Lake track earn the National Golf Course of the Year award. The shoreline green is flanked by three bunkers and walled off by trees at the back. The long, winding bridge from the teeing area to the green highlights just how much club you’ll need to carry the water. Together, all of these elements make for a picture perfect Par 3.
Anchored off Lake Superior, Superior National at Lutsen provides an oceanside feel, while its distinct Minnesota landscape gives it a true North Shore brand. Elevation changes, the Poplar River and woods are hard for any other course to replicate. For Hole 2 on the River Nine, the Poplar River is at your feet from tee to green, up close. Architect Jeffrey Brauer and his team took the river’s presence into consideration during extensive course renovations in 2019. They moved the green closer to the river and shaped the putting surface to model another famous Par 3 design: Hole 12 at Augusta National. They widened the left side of the green for a bailout, and pinched the right side of the green, creating a more demanding but potentially rewarding landing zone. The recent changes to the course, the seaside-like landscape, and the up-close feel of the natural water hazard make this a great par 3 in the state.