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Minnesota courses a must for golfers

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Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, 450 golf courses, and hundreds of highways. Which add up to one thing — golf tour!

With a little delusion of earning a spot on the LPGA, I like to make up my own ‘pretend’ golf tours. The natural beauty and diversity of Minnesota’s terrain provides the perfect landscape for top designers to build impressive courses, making it the number-one golf state per capita. It’s the ideal place to go and pretend to be a good golfer.  

Warroad, Minn. was first stop on my imaginary golf tour. Located in a residential setting on Lake of the Woods, Warroad Estates Golf Course caters to beginner and experienced golfers alike with four sets of tees. It also tests everyone with plenty of water and sand throughout. Be sure to take notice of their ninth green, shaped like the home state.
Crookston features Minakwa Golf Club.

This lovely nine-hole course was established in 1922, contributing to Minnesota’s long golf tradition. It’s home to the University of Minnesota-Crookston men’s and women’s golf teams, and saves the best for last, with the final two holes both par-5s, and the longest on the course.

The picturesque town of Fertile opened the nine-hole Sandhill River Golf Course in 1996, built by volunteer labour. It’s a pleasure and challenge to play, with the Sand Hill River bordering six of nine holes, and lots of forest throughout.

This means you get a fairly private round, while the course gets a bunch of your golf balls.
Next destination was Detroit Lakes, and Wildflower Golf Course. Built in the tradition of Scotland’s seaside golf, Wildflower captures the spirit of tall grass prairie meets lakeside.
With noticeable elevation changes, Pelican Lake in view, and charming old farm buildings, the course is scenic and serene.

Then it’s on to Ottertail, and Thumper Pond. Guests to this new resort can enjoy 18 holes, fine dining in the Red Pine Restaurant, a massive indoor waterpark, and luxurious Serene Woods Spa.

Thumper Pond was touted as a "must-play in Minnesota" by Golf Magazine, and turned out to be most memorable for my imaginary golf tour, with a number of ‘firsts’ achieved. It was my first time golfing alongside an actual real-life golf pro. It was also where I shot my first birdie (on the green, not in the air), won my first closest-to-the-pin challenge, and, with a score of 98, broke 100 for the first time!

Making our way back to the Canada-US border, the final stop was Oak Crest Golf Course in Roseau. The course has a very homey feel, perhaps because of its close proximity to Canadian soil. Or maybe due to the fact the pro shop manager was a transplanted Saskatchewanian, with fiercely proud prairie roots.  

I was glad to emerge from the battle of Oak Crest with 101 – not quite breaking 100, but good enough to make me happy, and proving for the first time that snowmen don’t have to exist on every course.

Imagine that.

RoseAnna Schick is an avid traveller who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. Email her at rascreative@yahoo.ca.

Minnesota’s finest links:
Check out the courses discussed in this week’s Travelations:
Warroad Estates Golf Course:
www.warroadestates.com
Sandhill River Golf Course: www.sandhillrivergolf.com
Wildflower Golf Course at Fair Hills Resort:
www.fairhillsresort.com
Thumper Pond Golf Course & Resort:
www.thumperpond.com
Oak Crest Golf Course: www.oakcrestgolfcourse.com

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