Updated June 2023 Golf’s handicap system is the great equalizer in the game, but when…
It’s not news that golf courses are getting longer. With the constant improvements in golf equipment technology (that generally result in players hitting the ball further than ever before), golf courses that have been built or renovated in the past couple of decades or so have some pretty long holes so they can keep up. That includes courses here in Minnesota. So, here’s a look at some of the longest holes in the state and some hints on how to play them.
Long and Longer
The good news is there are no holes in Minnesota that rival the hole that was recently revealed on the European Challenge Tour’s new Slovakia Challenge event: the 783-yard par 6 15th hole on the Legend Course at the Penati Golf Resort Senica, Slovakia. Even three stout shots of 250 yards are going to have you coming up short on this one.
The long holes in Minnesota don’t reach the 700-yard mark, but they are long enough to seem like it. It is important to have a plan going into them, and Chris Foley of Cragun’s Legacy Courses in Brainerd, formerly was the teaching pro at Madden’s Resort, and he has one. Foley is familiar one of the holes on our list, and he offers advice for playing any long hole:
Stroke By Stroke
“Playing an extremely long hole can be very intimidating and seem like a daunting task. However, if you break the hole into chunks, the hole will be much easier to conquer. For instance on the 618 yard par 6, 6th hole at Madden’s Pine Beach East, you have four shots to hit the green in regulation. If you hit four 150+ yard shots, you are on the green in regulation. Two putt, and you’re walking to the seventh hole with a par!”
Well, the rest of these holes don’t offer the luxury of an extra shot to avoid a bogey, but it still makes sense to try not to bite everything off with one shot. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the longest holes on Minnesota course courses.
First, here are five holes that just missed the cut. They are long and difficult in their own right, and one hole only misses the top five by one yard, so they are worth mentioning.
- Legends Club—par 5, No. 11—444-593 yards
- The Jewel Golf Club—par 5, No. 1—457-584 yards
- StoneRidge Golf Club—par 5, No. 4—446-580 yards
- The Quarry at Giants Ridge—par 5, No. 2—483-575 yards
- Geneva Golf Club, Island Nine—par 5, No. 3—435-575 yards
Now, to the background sound of a drumroll, you need to take out driver and blast away on the following big challenges:
- Territory Golf Club—par 5, No. 1—464-594 yards
The good new on this lunker par 5 is that it is downhill and has a generous landing area, so you can fire away. While you may have thoughts of going for it in two, the second shot is all carry over a hazard to the green. The bad news is that this hole isn’t even the number one handicapped hole on the course. Good luck.
- StoneBrooke Golf Club—par 5, No. 17—449-595 yards
Length isn’t enough on this hole as there is water on the left and bunkers on the right off the tee. The second shot has more water on the right that ultimately runs across the fairway in front of the green. Laying up there is not a bad play to avoid a watery grave.
- Rush Creek Golf Club—par 5, No. 8—489-613 yards
Rush Creek will test your mettle with three holes of 575 or greater, but the 8th hole that surpasses 600 yards from the tips takes the cake. With bunkers and woods off the tee and water along the left up to the green, you better have that high-speed swing under control.
- Madden’s Pine Beach East—par 6, No. 6–502-618 yards
It is interesting to note that Madden’s monster 618-yard hole is on a course that is less than 6,000 yards long. So you may be tempted to eschew Foley’s advice above and go after this one. Three shots of 205 five yards will have you putting for eagle—if you avoid the water surrounding the green, back and right. But then we all know what happens when we try to kill it.
- Wilderness at Fortune Bay—par 5, No. 1—470-649 yards
You will need all five or your shots on this one, as this opening hole from the tips just astonishes. There is a split fairway divided by an exposed rock ledge, so you have choices to make on top of the length and avoiding nine bunkers. The best suggestion may be to grip it, rip it and enjoy the trip down the beautiful fairway.