LAKEVILLE, Minn. -- I have previously written about my penchant for doing pre-round research on a golf course online. I found the website for Brackett's Crossing in Lakeville to be more than pleasant to look at. It is sharp. It's neat and tidy. Once you get out to the club you'll find a course that is sharp, neat, tidy, and fun.
I will admit I might not have been as observant as I should have been on the front 9. Couldn't tell you what the fairways looked like but I quickly learned to appreciate the fine sand in the bunkers. I saw a lot of the course because I was spraying it all over the place. I will tell you that if you put the ball in the right places you will find an extremely well maintained and manicured track.
The course is named after JJ Brackett, a settler who carried the mail through the very hills that currently hold 18 holes. Not sure if JJ walked it, but the members do. It seemed to be a golf-crazed lot that plays a lot. They even run ladies beginner nights and a weekend family hour on the course; doing their part to grow the game.
The first hole is where you realize that they pay attention to detail around here. The shrubbery that displays the club's logo sits behind a fountain in a pond. The par 4 first offers plenty of good visuals off the tee (pond, stream, and sand), generous landing areas, and enough trouble if you stray too far off line. I found that to be the case on all the 4-pars.
The director of golf, who kindly and patiently witnessed my pathetic play, called the medium length par 3 2nd hole his favorite. A little uphill, the green's tucked in an amphitheater that's surrounded by trees and bunkers. The 3rd hole has been debated for years. It's a sharp dog-leg par 5 that demands a couple (or three) well-placed shots. It's lined left with thick woods and there's a massive tree in the center of the fairway a little more than 200 yards out. The tree line's thinner on the right, but there's water along most of the hole. Steve, the club's GM, was kind enough to write down an 8 for me.
I liked the back 9 better than the front. My favorite spot on the course, and what started a great finish, was the par 5 14th tee box, which featured a step ladder of tees moving higher the further back you played. Number 15 is up there with the area's best par 4s, a demanding downhill, dog-leg left that requires a perfectly placed 3 wood that clears water and misses a fairway burnker. The approach is equally demanding and words don't do this hole the justice it deserves.
Sixteen was a fun downhill par 3 surrounded by water and 18 was a great "match-settler" bisected by a stream; a par 5 ending uphill near the clubhouse. Club legend has it a pretty prestigious wedding was once painfully interrupted by a skulled iron.
As hard as I tried to stink up the joint, I walked away with fond memories of Brackett's. The maintenance crews do a phenomenal job and the layout is interesting, and at times, demanding. This is fun track, useful for testing the area's best in tournaments, but also forgiving enough for a lazy Sunday round.
Now, if I could just get my game sharp, neat, and tidy.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)