Updated June 2023 For some avid golfers, the term “family golf vacation” might strike fear…
TGIF! It’s time for the weekend, with some fun, sun, golf, and relaxation! Who could ask for anything more, and where could you find any more options than we have in Minnesota?
Whether you’re a scratch golfer looking for a challenge, or more of a duffer looking to spend as much time on the course as in the spa, Minnesota has so many great golf getaways to offer.
Gull Lake Getaways
At Madden’s on Gull Lake in Brainerd, you are sure to have a wonderful golf experience, no matter what your skill level. You are also sure to have a wonderful spa experience at Panache Salon and Day Spa. The spa is a short walk from the Inn, Lodge, and cabins at Madden’s. It’s open from April through October and features great views of Gull Lake to really put your mind at ease. Before or after you get a manicure, pedicure or massage, make sure you spend some time in Panache’s lounge. Sink into one of the comfy chairs and relax by the fireplace.
Grand View Lodge in Nisswa is another great option for a weekend getaway in the Gull Lake area. You can play not one, but three distinct Championship courses designed to provide a unique and vigorous golf experience, and the Glacial Waters Spa is ready to pamper you afterward. The experts at Glacial Waters are all about the healing power of water and nurturing your mind and spirit. They use organic products to help you relax and recharge. Continue to relax at any one of Grand View’s many restaurants, and don’t forget to stick around for Sunday brunch!
Cragun’s Resort offers golf for all levels, from the highly-rated Legacy courses to the Reversible 9, a par 3 that was inspired by the classic St. Andrews in Scotland. The Reversible 9’s direction alternates daily, and is ideal for novice, family and group play. Minnesota’s largest four-season resort also has so many things to do in addition to golf. You’ll enjoy the comfortable accommodations, great dining, a full-service marina on Gull Lake, and the Indoor Sports Centre with tennis, basketball, track and exercise facilities, indoor and outdoor pools, and two sandy beaches.
Duluth and the North Shore
Black Bear Golf Course in Carlton is just 20 miles south of the port city of Duluth, and the course offers up all kinds of action. The 18-hole, par 72 championship course is set in the quiet beauty of the northern Minnesota woodlands. It is marked by its iconic bear paw-print bunker. And when the golf is done for the day, saddle up to your favorite gaming table inside the Black Bear Casino, which offers a host of different games (slots, blackjack, poker, and bingo), plus great eats and deluxe accommodations in the attached hotel.
Superior National Golf Course is a picturesque drive north from Duluth along the North Shore of Lake Superior, and a spectacular getaway for anybody who loves golf or the great outdoors. $4.6 million in renovations and improvements by renowned architect Jeffrey Brauer solidified Superior National’s place among Minnesota’s Top 10 destination golf courses. What’s more, Superior National is a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, so you may find yourself sharing the links with deer, fox, timberwolves, owls, bald eagles, or moose.
Stillwater/St. Croix Valley
Few towns are better-suited to a weekend getaway than Stillwater. With small-town shops, area wineries, the St. Croix Valley, and so many quaint places to stay, Stillwater has it all – including some great golf courses.
StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater was built in 2000 and has been thrilling its patrons ever since with a links-style layout that incorporates native fescue grasses, large and beguiling green complexes, and at least one hole – the Barn Hole – that you won’t soon forget. Hole number 11 features a small barn, a remnant from the original occupant of the land, that could, depending on your shot, come into play as you head toward the green. You’ll see plenty of barns in the St. Croix Valley, but seldom are they situated between you and your approach shot to a well-manicured bentgrass green.
Prestwick Golf Club is an award-winning track located a little further west on I-94 from StoneRidge, in Woodbury, and it boasts one of the more unique courses in the Twin Cities. With huge elevation changes (offering spectacular vistas), Prestwick’s challenge will have you coming back again and again. The Midwest Golf Course Owners Association’s 2005 Course of the Year, Prestwick has plenty of water and sand to challenge your game and natural beauty to distract your focus. The clubhouse, which includes David’s Chophouse restaurant, is a great place for post-round cocktail and meal.
Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo is the other great place to add some championship golf to your Stillwater getaway – especially if you’re a fan of the game’s history. Set in the beautiful rolling hills of the St. Croix River Valley, along the shore of Horseshoe Lake, the course was co-designed by legendary golf pros Arnold Palmer and Annika Sörenstam. The first 9 holes, known as the Queen’s Nine, were designed by Annika. The back nine, known as the King’s Nine, was designed by Arnie.