These Minnesota Courses Will Get Wisconsin Golfers on This Side of the River
In the fall of the year when footballs are flying, the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin seems more like a fortified defense wall than a line on the map. But during the golf season, it’s a short trip across the St. Croix River, and if any Wisconsinites are willing to make the crossing, they will find plenty of great golf as part of the spoils.
Wisconsin is home to many excellent golf courses, but most golfers occasionally look for a new challenge or a new experience–and they can be found just a short drive away for Wisconsin denizens.
Coming across on Highway 94 from Hudson, Wisc., the first course a Badger-backer will encounter is StoneRidge Golf Club, located in Stillwater, Minn. StoneRidge is green and lush with rolling hills and woods and water, which will remind many a Wisconsin native of their homeland. Hole No. 11 even has a barn from the original homestead on the site, which may make these visitors from the east feel comfortable . . . until they have to hit around it.
Rated the No. 1 public access golf course in the Twin Cities (GolfWeek), StoneRidge is a stern golf challenge and an exciting one, but there are plenty more courses to choose from. Drive a little further up Interstate 94 to Woodbury and check out Prestwick Golf Club.
The beautifully maintained Prestwick features significant elevation changes that create unique views and challenging holes. It has been ranked the Top 3 public course experience in Minnesota by the Star Tribune, a 4.5 Star Facility by Golf Digest and “Golf Course of the Year” by the Minnesota Golf Course Owners Association. A Wisconsin golfer can head there and still not have to fill up the gas tank for the return trip.
A couple other courses not too far from the Minnesota border include Willingers Golf Club in Northfield and the Jewel in Lake City–both are worth the trek. At Willingers there is a little bit of everything there. With severe elevation changes, 40 acres of woods and 60 acres of water and wetlands, Willingers offers a new look and different challenge at every tee box.
Meanwhile, The Jewel just a bit further south on Highway 35 is a true Minnesota hidden gem. Deep in the heart of Minnesota bluff country, The Jewel is a great place to be, and there is challenging golf to boot. This award-winning Hale Irwin design meanders beneath towering bluffs that make a superb backdrop for golf or just a walk in the countryside.
There are countless other great Twin Cities courses, which (depending upon where you live in Wisconsin) can be visited in a day trip. If you have more time and want to experience the northern woods Minnesota golf experience, the list of great courses expands. The Brainerd lakes area is home to some of the most renowned and honored golf courses in the state, including The Pines at GrandView Lodge, The Classic at Madden’s, and Deacon’s Lodge at Breezy Point. And don’t miss the triumvirate of Jeffrey Brauer courses known as the “Minnesota Golf Trilogy”—The Legend and The Quarry at Giants Ridge and Wilderness at Fortune Bay. They provide a unique north woods golf experience that every Wisconsin golfer would love and remember when they return to Wisconsin for flying snow–and footballs.