Minnesota is filled with natural beauty and has golf courses that can keep players of all levels happy – many of which you can play without breaking your family vacation budget. With outdoor activities at a premium in 2021, now is the time to plan your 2022 summer getaway. Enjoy months of anticipation and still rest assured knowing you’ve got it all booked and ready to go.
If your goal is to hit several courses, this blog covers how to plan a trip whether you’re flying into MSP airport or doing a driving tour of the northern half of the state. Additionally, check with the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau for hotel referrals – you’ll find some of the best golf in the Midwest moments away from your hotel. Another option is to stay at one of the many family-friendly resorts and take advantage of the additional entertainment and amenities options those offer. This is the land of 10,000 lakes after all.
Twin Cities Area Courses
If you fly into MSP airport you’re not only moments away from some premier courses but also within an hour or two drive of many of the best courses in the Midwest, plus you can visit all the attractions that both Minneapolis and St. Paul have to offer very easily.
A short drive west of the airport are two fun options: Braemar Golf Course in Edina and the Chaska Town Course. You can play Braemar, one of the best municipal courses in Minnesota in the country. The Chaska Town Course is on Golfweek Magazine’s List of the Top 100 Municipal Courses in America. Both Braemar and Chaska offer fees with a cart for well under $100. Chaska Town Course is the tag team partner to the private Hazeltine National Golf Club just down the road, which is home to the 2016 and 2029 Ryder Cup. Chaska Town Course and Hazeltine National will co-host the 2024 U.S. Amateur Golf Championship.
In the southern suburbs are a bunch of sprawling courses to choose from that mix wide-open fairways and majestic woods. There are several good options in the city of Prior Lake. A great place to start is the Legends Club which boasts some beautiful par 3s.
If you get the chance, check out the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Clubhouse at The Wilds Golf Club in Prior Lake – which is a perfect mix of elevated wilderness and spectacular views of the distant Minneapolis skyline.
You can mix golf with some gaming by staying at the Mystic Lake Casino and playing the Meadows at Mystic Lake (also in Prior Lake). There’s a hotel and conference center on property plus tons of dining options, and the casino is open 24/7. Good luck!
In the city of Jordan, just 40 minutes from the airport, you can play the Ridges at Sand Creek anytime for less than $60. You’ll get to hit your driver over a windswept prairie and navigate plenty of mature trees with your irons.
The highly acclaimed Willingers Golf Club in the city of Northfield is a tranquil mix of wetlands and woods. The topography will challenge you and surroundings will inspire you. It has been named by Golf Magazine as one of the “Top 5 Best Value Courses.”
In the south metro city of Shakopee you’ll find one of Minnesota’s most memorable golf holes – the 8th at Stonebrook Golf Club which includes a ferry boat ride across Lake O’Dowd.
Just in from Minnesota’s eastern border with Wisconsin are several courses worth making a trip to play. Woodbury is home to the pristine Prestwick Golf Club, named one of the top 3 public courses in Minnesota by the state’s largest newspaper the StarTribune.
Lake Elmo is home to Royal Golf Club which was co-designed by the late Arnold Palmer and LPGA Hall of Famer, Annika Sorenstam. It was his last course design and her first. In tribute to both, the front side is referred to as the “Queen’s Nine” and the back as the “King’s Nine.”
The picturesque town of Stillwater is home to StoneRidge Golf Club. It’s a links-style course built on former farmland with undulating greens and irregular bunkers. Golfweek Magazine named it the #1 public course in the Twin Cities.
Outstate Minnesota Courses
There may be no better place on Earth than Outstate Minnesota during the summer. The weather is perfect, the air is pure, the golf is spectacular (and reasonably priced).
In the middle of the state, near the city of St. Cloud, check out Territory Golf Club. The holes are beautifully-maintained. There’s a mix of woods, prairie, and a meandering river through the course. Be ready to unload your driver on the 600-yard 10th hole (there are plenty of tee box options to shorten it up considerably though).
Looking for fun for the whole family? Check out the Arrowwood Resort near Alexandria. It includes an indoor waterpark, a spa, a marina, and the newly renovated Atikwa Championship Golf Course. The course was designed to help preserve natural wetlands so it’s filled with breathtaking nature and plenty of lake views.
Minnesota National Golf Course in McGregor is your entryway to the northwoods. This 18-hole championship course has a peaceful setting that incorporates lots of woods and water. There’s also the shorter nine-hole Savannah Course at Minnesota National, if you want to get in a quicker round or introduce some younger people to golf.
Northern Minnesota is blessed with many lake-side resorts that feature outstanding golf courses. Each resort offers its own mix of water activities and amenities that’ll keep non-golfers happy for days. Several of them are in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Breezy Point Resort on Pelican Lake features three courses including Arnold Palmer’s Deacon’s Lodge Golf Club along with boating, fishing, pools, tennis, and a spa.
On Gull Lake in Brainerd you’ll find Madden’s Resort with nationally acclaimed Madden’s Classic Course as one of its four golf courses which totals 63 holes. Madden’s regularly makes both regional and national lists of top golf resorts. Also on Gull Lake is Cragun’s Resort and Hotel with a 2022 $10 million Legacy Courses renovation! Cragun’s has partnered with Minnesota’s most decorated PGA Tour professional & golf course designer – Tom Lehman. It’s an Audubon Signature Sanctuary golf facility and when complete the Legacy will be a true world class golfer’s paradise offering 54 holes of 5-Star golf. While you’re in Brainerd, get a truly unique golf experience at the brand new Gravel Pit Golf opening this year. It’s an old mine that’s been converted to a truly unique 13-hole par 3 course. There’s even a 13-hole extreme putting course to challenge you. Gravel Pit GC is a destination on its own.
The days just keep getting longer and better the further north you go in Minnesota in the summer. Just off Lake Superior you’ll find Superior National Golf Course in Lutsen. It boasts both the River & Canyon 18-hole course and the Mountain 9-hole course. The views of Lake Superior rival any oceanview course in the world.
You can play two beautiful – and very different – courses when you stay at Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort in Biwabik. The older course, The Legend, features large fairways and meandering greens through tall hardwoods. The newer course, The Quarry, was built on an old open pit mine operation and is now the #1 public course in Minnesota and Top 100 public golf course in the U.S. according to Golf Digest. Need stuff for everyone to do? The resort also features mountain biking and climbing walls, as well as skiing and tubing in the winter.
Just a little further north, near the city of Tower, is the #2 public course in Minnesota according to Golf Digest – The Wilderness at Fortune Bay. Sitting alongside picturesque Lake Vermillion, this Jeffery Brauer designed course features rock outcroppings, rolling hills, thick woods, and lots of wildlife (it’s an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary). The course is part of a resort that features a casino, hotel, marina, and fine dining.
With so many options, you’re going to want to give yourself as much time to golf and enjoy the Minnesota summer as possible. Start planning and booking now so you’ve got a trip to look forward to that you will remember for a lifetime.