Updated July 2023 Some of the keys to golfing with children and beginners who are…
Updated April 2023
In Minnesota, you’re never more than a short drive away from a wonderful public golf course – or more. The golf is as good as it gets in Minnesota, a place known for its numerous challenging, premium golf courses. From the top of the state to the bottom there is a grand choice of courses to suit your game and fit into your schedule. Each year Golf Digest publishes its “Best of Lists” and in 2023 many of their “best” golf courses in Minnesota are fully accessible to the public. Here are our favorites from the list.
If you are looking for a spectacular northern Minnesota getaway, try Giants Ridge up north on the Iron Range. The air is crisp, the colors vibrant and the golf second to none in the state, and even country. With two top championship courses that have both been cited by national “Best Of” lists, The Legend and The Quarry offer a memorable weekend of challenging golf surrounded by secluded woods, shimmering waters and abundant wildlife. Consistently ranked in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses, The Quarry settled in at number 35 in the 2022 “Best Of” list.
Although both were designed by renowned golf architect Jeffrey Brauer, each course features a unique layout and character. The Quarry is built on the site of a former sand quarry and iron ore mine, while The Legend is a player-friendly resort course carved out of the Superior National Forest.
Located about a half-hour north of Giants Ridge, overlooking the shores of beautiful Lake Vermillion, The Wilderness at Fortune Bay completes the Northern Trilogy of Jeffrey Brauer-designed courses. The Wilderness showcases all the natural aesthetic beauty to be found in Minnesota’s Iron Range. It 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 visit the Wilderness and sharpen up your short game and putter because there is a premium on placement on the tiered greens.
Arnold Palmer designed this beautiful and challenging course, tucked into the Central Lakes region of the state. It meanders through colorful hardwoods, over rolling hills and around water and sand. Deacon’s Lodge is in the Brainerd Lakes Area and part of the Breezy Point Resort which means you’ll find one of the most stunning courses in the state with plenty to do before or after your round. If you’re planning on staying, the lodging can comfortably accommodate your twosome or your large group at this award-winning public course.
Pro tip: with the beautiful colors and great course conditions, fall is a great time of year to visit it.
Chaska Town Course lies in the shadow of Hazeltine National Golf Club, where the Ryder Cup Matches were contested in September of 2016. However “The Town Course” is no slouch when it comes to beauty and challenge. Occasionally sharing the bill with Hazeltine on some of their national tournaments, this well-conditioned public course offers everything you want in an afternoon of competitive golf. Tee it up at Chaska Town Course, which will co-host the U.S. Amateur in 2024.
One of the best collections of golf holes in Minnesota is getting better! With a commitment to outstanding golf, Cragun’s Resort is in the midst of a $10 million renovation project that will enhance the golf experience for players of all levels. Minnesota native, Tom Lehman and The Lehman Design Group, are implementing the course renovations through 2024. When it’s all said and done, golfers will have the luxury of choosing from 3 options: The Dutch, The Lehman and The Reversible Par 3. Though the courses will be modified, the quality and value that golfers have come to appreciate at Cragun’s will continue to be appreciated. Even with the renovations underway, the golf courses are ready for play in 2023!
From the opening tee shot to the final putt, The Classic at Madden’s delivers exceptional golf hole after hole, leaving golfers of all levels completely fulfilled. However, make no mistake, The Classic is not for the faint of heart, but with visually stunning terrain in a serene setting even the high handicapper can enjoy their day on the course. Situated in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes Area, you can find yourself on The Classic for an early morning tee time at the lake shore in the afternoon and still have plenty of time to watch the sunset on Gull Lake.
This outstanding daily fee club, located in Stillwater, MN StoneRidge, offers an unforgettable golf experience that matches the quality and conditions of most private clubs. Ranked in the Top 25 golf courses in Minnesota by Golf Digest, Golfweek Magazine also found StoneRidge worthy of the top ranking public course in the Twin Cities. The links style course with native grasses throughout will help you mentally escape from life off the course. However, make sure you have your putter dialed in and ready to go, the greens will make you earn every par chance you have!
You’re Never Far From a Great Public Course in Minnesota
In reality, there are way too many fabulous public courses in Minnesota to play in a week. Whether you’re looking for a resort course or one of the top-notch public access courses closer to the Twin Cities, you can always find a great place to play. Here’s a list of our courses >
Pro Tip: If any of these top public courses catch your fancy, remember that the golf season runs well into October in Minnesota. In fact, fall is one of the prime times to play in the area. The conditions of the golf courses are typically at their peak in the fall, and with fewer people taking advantage, you can find some of the best public golf courses in Minnesota wide open and waiting for you to tee it up. Don’t believe us? Check out what golf.com has to say about some of the best public golf courses in Minnesota!