One of the great things about golf is the variety of golf courses and golf hole designs we find in the game. And in Minnesota, any golfer looking for a challenge needn’t go far to find it. The state is filled with excellently designed courses featuring great golf holes.
You will find some of these holes are rated the highest handicap holes on a course and other times not. A few of these tough holes are filled with water hazards and bunkers, but others are challenging due to their length and superb design. Regardless, if you are looking for a challenge, here are nine of the top most challenging holes on Minnesota golf courses.
The Legend at Giants Ridge, Biwabik
Hole No. 8
Par 4, 307-456 yards
While there is plenty of room for your drive on this tough hole, the landing area (after a forced carry over a rock outcropping) is narrowed by the woods, mounding and a large fairway bunker. This long par 4 is all uphill and the elevated green complex is surrounded by more mounding and three large bunkers. The hole is straight, but there is little that is straightforward about this one.
Rush Creek Golf Club, Maple Grove
Hole No. 18
Par 5, 427-575 yards
The drive on this long, difficult finishing hole requires three decent shots to negotiate. A forced carry over marshland (which runs all the way along the left side of the hole) must not stray off the short grass as water left and the hill/woods/OB on the right offer plenty of trouble. The hole doglegs left around the hazard to the green surrounded by water on left and back and two greenside bunkers. There is no bailing out on this hole.
The Preserve at Grand View Lodge, Pequot Lakes
Hole No. 10
Par 4, 321-424 yards
Viewed from the clubhouse at The Preserve, this hole offers one of the prettiest views in Minnesota golf, but don’t let the vistas distract you from the difficulty of No. 10. An uphill drive over water to a landing area narrowed by a bunker is followed by another long, tough uphill shot to the smallish green tucked back into the trees. Good luck!
Edinburgh USA, Brooklyn Park
Hole No. 17
Par 4, 317-394 yards
A precision play is required on this unique hole at Edinburgh, a course that is filled with plenty of challenging holes. The drive on 17 is to a landing area completely surrounded by water and then another nervy approach shot over water to a peninsula green that runs back to front toward the water. Take your life vest.
The Quarry at Giants Ridge, Biwabik
Hole No. 8
Par 4, 347-478 yards
You get your pick of tough holes on this highly-regarded track, but No. 8, the No. 1 handicap hole, takes the cake. Driving through a narrow chute of trees over some rock outcroppings, the straight fairway shrinks considerably at the landing area between trees, a bunker and encroaching hills. The large green is receptive but full of beguiling undulations.
Chaska Town Course, Chaska
Hole No. 18
Par 5, 430-547 yards
If you’ve played Chaska Town Course you’ve met their beautiful, yet difficult finishing hole. This par 5 winds around Bavaria Lake on the left and features a bunker in the middle of the fairway. Take it over the bunker (avoiding another on the right) and then lay up to a narrow landing area about 100 yards out. Or go for the green in two—neither choice is stress-free.
Legends Golf Club, Prior Lake
Hole No. 11
Par 5, 444-593 yards
Buckle up for the difficult ride that is the Par 5 11th. This double dogleg plays downwind and uphill off the tee and requires a shot favoring the right to get a good vantage point for your next shot. From the tips, getting home in two is a tall order as water along the left side of the approach will have you thinking twice
Deacon’s Lodge, Breezy Point
Hole No. 7
Par 4, 296-432 yards
The drive on the dogleg right No. 7 at Deacon’s invites the courageous but is not for the faint of heart. The risk-and-reward tee ball cutting the corner of the dogleg must travel over a long waste area of brush and prairie grasses. The conservative route left offers a wider approach to an undulating green guarded by trees on the right.
The Wilds Golf Club, Prior Lake
Hole No. 18
Par 4, 345-444 yards
The finishing hole at The Wilds can be nerve wracking (I know from experience). With well-appointed homes sitting very close to the left and water along the right side of the landing area, a less-than-confident driver of ball should beware (as should the home owners). Little relief is found on the approach where another water hazard awaits. Best advice? Get on the green as soon as possible, two-putt and then quickly move on to the 19th hole.
That’s my advice for following playing any of these challenging holes of Minnesota golf.