There are some wonderful golf trails throughout the United States: the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama, the Audubon Golf Trail in Louisiana, or even the Brainerd Golf Trail here in Minnesota. But there is another place to play multiple championship golf courses that is even a bit further north. You can find three of the toughest Northern MN golf courses by heading to the Iron Range to play the Minnesota Golf Trilogy – three of the most challenging courses in the state, all with very different features and terrain, but also within a half-hour of each other.
The Minnesota Golf Trilogy features the two courses at Giants Ridge in Biwabik – The Legend and The Quarry – plus The Wilderness at Fortune Bay course in Tower. In addition to their proximity, the trio of golf tracks share one distinct feature – all three courses were designed by famed Arlington, Texas, golf course architect Jeffrey Brauer. Brauer has earned recognition and awards for all three.
The Wilderness at Fortune Bay
Rated 2nd on the Golf Digest list of Top 40 Casino Courses in the country. The Wilderness is designed by Jeffrey Brauer and showcases all the natural aesthetic beauty to be found in Minnesota’s Iron Range. The course 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.
Giants Ridge – The Quarry
Golf Digest Magazine considers The Quarry at Giants Ridge, the 16th best public golf course in the United States. To call the course breathtaking would be an understatement. The Quarry is a Brauer masterpiece with its routing reclaimed from a rugged former quarry. Immense fairways lead to large flash bunkers rimmed by fescue that protects the big undulating greens. Elevated tees provide memorable views of the scarred and beautiful landscape.
From the back tees, The Quarry stretches to 7,200 yards and yet from the white tees, at 6,100 yards, the average “Joe” will get all he can handle and have the time of his or her life. Oh, you may find it interesting that on the Golf Digest list of America’s Best 100 Public Courses, The Quarry beat out the likes of Kapalua, Harbor Town Links, and Chambers Bay.
Giants Ridge – The Legend
Unlike its sister course, The Legend is not ranked in the Golf Digest Top 100 Public Courses, but it is the 16th ranked course in the state (including both public and private). The Legend, which is the original course at Giants Ridge, is a feast for the senses: woods, water, and sand. One bunker is even shaped in the form of a giant footprint!
Dramatic, visually stunning and challenging for golfers of all levels, The Legend plays over 6,900 yards from the tips. Oh, is that not long enough for you? Tell yourself it’s 7,200 yards and go have at it, you won’t miss the 300 yards – especially once you see the signature 17th hole, a Par 3 with a stunning view of (and carry over) Lake Sabin. It is not only daunting, but it is also serene and calming, right up until you address your ball for your shot!
Stay and Play
The lodging on each of the properties is spacious and comfortable whether you are taking in the Trilogy over a long weekend or spending a week to experience everything the area has to offer. The Villas at Giants Ridge can hold a big group with plenty of space for relaxing after golf, BWCAW fishing, or returning from dinner from a quaint Northern Minnesota town nearby. And if you enjoy gaming, Fortune Bay Casino has over 25,000 square feet of poker, blackjack, slot machines, and video poker spread across two floors – not to mention a full calendar of live music on. the weekends. Regardless, you will have plenty of memories to share until you plan next year’s return to Minnesota’s Golf Trilogy in the Northern Minnesota wilderness.