I have accomplished very little in my golf career. I haven't shaved a stroke off my handicap in years. I've eagled fewer than a half dozen holes in a dozen years and I can't even say I've cleaned my clubs this season. But I have managed to play my way around the Twin Cities' public golf scene. I think (I can't say I'm 100% positive) I have played every public golf hole featured on a "championship" golf course in the metro area.
It's taken me about 8 years, several hundred 16 ounce Cokes and maybe a couple "sick days." I had to narrow the field so I only played 18 hole courses that were at least par 68. I made very few pars, several friends, and went through 3 sets of clubs. I traded up drivers 4 times and lost about 10 yards with each one. I played from a handful of fairways and lost hundreds of golf balls.
Here are the geographical limits I set. Farthest North: Chisago or Cambridge. Farthest South: Belle Plaine or Northfield. Farthest West: Buffalo, Waconia, or Watertown. Farthest East: Spring Valley, Wisconsin or maybe Lake City.
We have great options and great varieties in the Cities. You can play a course that has hosted a prestigious tournament (Chaska Town) or courses that host not so subtle evening beer leagues (too many to list). You can pay 100 bucks or... heck, I even played 18 holes for 10 bucks once.
Speaking of prestige, I have made it on to about half of the private golf clubs in the area and hope to finish that list in the next couple of years. I have a couple of invites to some clubs I'm really excited to see (I'll blog later) and I have also come to realize that there is one course (the Augusta, Cypress, or Pine Valley of Minneapolis/St. Paul) that I will never have the opportunity to tee it up at.
On a side note: I have purchased an hour long lesson with a local golf pro who has a tremendous resume. He's promised to provide video analysis and patience as we try to fix the wicked snapper and weak-fading iron play that I've developed. I'll let you know how it goes.
Anyway, here's the public course list (87?) I've compiled. Let me know if I've missed any 18 hole tracks because my wife would be thrilled for me to head back out.
Afton Alps, Baker National, Bellwood Oaks, Bluff Creek, Boulder Pointe, Braemar, Brookview, Bunker Hills, Cannon, Cedar Creek, Chaska Town, Chisago Lakes, Chomonix, Columbia, Como, Creeksbend, Crystal Lake, Dahlgreen, Daytona, Deer Run, Dwan, Eagle Valley, Edinburgh USA, Elk River, Elm Creek, Emerald Greens, Falcon Ridge, Fountain Valley, Fox Hollow, Francis A. Gross, Goodrich, Gopher Hills, Greenhaven, Heritage Links, Hiawatha, Hidden Greens, Hidden Haven, Highland National, Hollydale, Inverwood, Island View, Keller, Lakeview, Legends, Links at Northfork, Loggers Trail, Majestic Oaks, Manitou Ridge, Meadowbrook, Mississippi Dunes, Mississippi National, Monticello, Mount Frontenac, Victory Links, Oak Glen, Oak Marsh, Oneka Ridge, Pebble Creek, Phalen, Pheasant Acres, Pioneer Creek, Prestwick, Purple Hawk, Red Wing, Refuge, Ridges at Sand Creek, River Oaks, Riverwood National, Rum River, Rush Creek, Sawmill, Shamrock, Southern Hills, Stonebrooke, Stone Ridge, Summit, Tanners Brook, The Jewel, The Meadows at Mystic Lake, The Ponds, The Wilds, Theodore Wirth, Timber Creek, U of M Les Bolstad, Valleywood, Viking Meadows, Wild Marsh, and Willingers.
UPDATE!!! After receiving emails from Erik H and "RogueSniper" (who make up half of my golf-blog-reading-gallery) I realized my list is incomplete. The Sniper noticed I left out Valley View in Belle Plaine.
Erik H helped me realize I didn't list the Western Wisconsin courses I've played. Here's the list: Clifton Highlands, Clifton Hollow, Troy Burne, River Falls, Hudson GC, Kilkarney Hills, Spring Valley, Badlands, Pheasant Acres, St. Croix National, Bristol Ridge, White Eagle, and New Richmond.
New count is 101 (insert wife eye roll here)!
Thanks to Joe Rob, Neals, Coolio, and Burger man; buddies who have shared dozens of rounds with me over the years.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)