For those golfers who like to “grip it and rip it,” there are plenty of Minnesota golf courses to test your mettle. From prairie golf to deep woods parkland tracks, courses throughout the state present provide challenges for the longest hitters in the field. You may be able to find more courses to add to this list, but here are a few of the toughest driving courses in Minnesota.
Rush Creek Golf Club
Rush Creek Golf Club, host to several national amateur and professional tournaments, is a deceptively tough place to drive. Whether it is the long downhill par 4 ninth, the narrow drives guarded by trees on holes 5 and 6 or the openers on each nine that feature plenty of trouble, the course offers a significant challenge off the tee. There are plenty of holes that are wide open, but if you are out of position, the wrong drive will hurt you. This trek through the woods and water of Maple Grove includes a fantastic finishing hole with wetlands in front of the tee and all the way down the left side. Don’t grip that driver too tightly.
Hazeltine National Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club has hosted the most national tournaments in the state, including two U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships—the Ryder Cup is coming in 2016. The course was stretched to 7,674 yards, which at the time was a record for major championship golf. While length (from the tips) is the biggest obstacle at Hazeltine, there are holes such as the iconic No. 16 with a peninsula green where tournaments have been won and lost. That drive, from 402 yards and over Lake Hazeltine, must find land between a creek on the left and deep rough and the marsh along the right. It’s a drive not suggested for the faint of heart.
Water comes into the play on nine holes at Edinburgh USA golf course in Brooklyn Park, and the trees give you little break, as well. Faders of the golf ball off the tee will see plenty of holes that fit their shot shape, but that’s where the water often comes into play. There is no more treacherous a drive than on the par 4 17th, which requires two perfect shots—first to a landing area completely surrounded by water and then another tricky shot over water to a peninsula green. You will be glad when the obstacle on 18 is merely a lot of sand into an extra-ordinarily large green.
LeSueur Country Club
LeSueur Country Club is a tough driving course, even when it doesn’t appear so at first glance. Elevation changes and tight fairways are the major contributing factors, but long uphill par threes to smallish greens provide more challenges off the tee. The blind, downhill tee shot on the par 4 number 9 is one of the toughest you will find anywhere (partially because the second shot is a long approach to an elevated green from a tough, downhill lie)—it’s a hole you won’t soon forget.
Grandview Lodge—The Pines
Grandview Lodge in Nisswa boasts 27 holes carved out of the Woods, Lakes and Marsh (the names of each nine) and there are plenty of challenges for even the longest hitters among us. The tree-lined fairways narrow most shots and any drives a little off line are typically gone in the thick woods. The up-north beauty can provide respite in this memorable wooded course, but it can often show its teeth from the tee.
The Links at Northfork
The Links at Northfork in Ramsey offers one of the most unique golfing experiences in the state. Built in the fashion of a true Scottish links style golf course, the Links at Northfork has played host to a U.S. Open qualifier, Senior PGA 3M Qualifier and numerous Minnesota Golf Association tournaments. The windswept prairie grasses are beautiful and hazardous for anyone not in full control of their driver. The course has one of the highest ratings in the state, so, driver beware.
What do you think are the toughest driving courses in Minnesota?
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.