Well hidden in a remote location between Emily and Manhattan Beach, Golden Eagle Golf Club has proven that having a successful golf course is not all about location. Golden Eagle owner, Bruce McIntosh searched for several years to find just the right property to build his dream golf course. “With a topographic map in hand, I have walked hundreds of acres on many different properties in rural Minnesota,” Bruce told me on a recent visit. After walking the raw Golden Eagle property several times to really get a feel for it, Bruce knew he had finally found “the spot.” Soon Bruce introduced the property to his friend, former PGA TOUR player and golf course designer, Mike Morley. The two had worked together on another golf course project. McIntosh knew that he and Morley shared many of the same design philosophies.
A golf course designed by Bruce and Mike would have generous fairways where a wide variety of golfers could enjoy playing the game – not constantly looking for golf balls. The hilly topography at Golden Eagle was perfect for the elevated tees that all Mike Morley designed courses are known for. “I know from my own experience that golfers like to see their ball stop rolling,” explained Bruce. “Golf is about seeing where your golf ball goes not guessing where it might have gone.”
Bruce related an interesting story to me about one of my favorite holes, the par-4 seventh. The seventh plays from a seriously elevated tee down into a ribbon of fairway located at the bottom of a canyon with nearly vertical sidewalls that feed most tee shots to the bottom, and then back up hill to an elevated plateau green. Bruce said that he and Morley were standing in the heart of what would become the fairway. “Mike looked at the steep slope on the left side, shook his head, then looked at the even more severe angle on the right rolled his eyes and said, ‘If this becomes the fairway, every golfer will hit from the same divot.’”
For the past fifteen years, Bruce and his wife Kathy have worked tirelessly to lure golfers to the magic of Golden Eagle. Most days you will find Bruce, the Olympic Hockey star and NHL player, standing behind the counter in the pro shop greeting every guest with a big, “Hello XXX it is nice to see you back again.” While Kathy caters to customers in the grill adjacent to the pro shop. “It’s all about teamwork,” says Bruce. “We try to spoil them before they get on the course.”
“The Year Of The Great Golf Giveaway”
2015 marks the 15th season for the “not so new” Golden Eagle Golf Club. Bruce’s plans call for a season long contest where golfers register to win a season ending Play and Stay Golf Package at the first class accommodation located on the golf course.
In addition to the Play and Stay Package, each Saturday all season long, golfers will compete for a spot in the drawing for free green fees at Golden Eagle. The starters will run the weekly competition. Prior to teeing off each foursome will participate in a long putt contest on the putting green. The closest in each group will be entered in the drawing for the weekly prize. Bruce said, “If we get bored we might have a bunker shot contest or something like that. The rules might change, but we are going to give golf away all season long. We want to thank our regulars for being good customers.”
Last year I asked Bruce what people say about his golf course? He told me that one comment echoes in his ears, “I just can’t believe how beautiful it is. Or, it is so much prettier than I thought it would be.”
So I asked Bruce to give me some quotes from players who have experienced Golden Eagle over the past 15 years.
Dave from Minneapolis – “Two of the best finishing holes (17 & 18) that make any contest exciting. Walk or ride makes for a great day in the north country. Bruce and Kathy provide an experience both on the course and in the clubhouse that leaves you with a good feeling.”
Mary from Bloomington – “It was my first time around your beautiful golf course. My it was pretty, so natural. It was fun seeing that eagle’s nest on fourteen, I think, but my very favorite hole is #8. From my tee up on that hill I felt like I was going to make a hole-in-one. It seemed like I could see the bottom of the cup. I did have a birdie putt!”
Terry from Wayzata – “I have hosted a Fishing Opener Weekend at my cabin for over 30 years which includes eating, drinking and a couple of days of golf. We moved our golf to Golden Eagle the first year that that they opened and have been back ever since. In addition to giving us a challenging and picturesque round of golf, we have been treated like the PGA TOUR has arrived in town. With on the course contests, to a scoreboard and prizes, to hilarious golf commentary from owner Bruce. Golden Eagle has been a perfect venue for us.”
Bob from the White Fish Chain – “When it first opened, I wondered where are the golfers going to come from. I felt like there was too much golf in the area already. Then I played Golden Eagle. Now, it is my favorite course anywhere. Peaceful is the way I would describe it! But what I like the very most about Golden Eagle are the par-3 holes. They are not exceptionally hard, but each one of those holes is a picture. Sixteen is my favorite. Sitting down there the green looks like a big catchers mitt, make a smooth swing and almost every ball ends up on the green.”
Dennis from Palm Springs – “I always make Golden Eagle one of the first courses I play when I come to Minnesota for our golf trip. All the holes are great, but that #3 might be the best hole I ever played. The drive is fun; just turn it left a little around the bunker and then a 6, 7 or 8-iron to the green. That downhill second shot seems to hang in the air for a full minute. My first time, I blew it over the green. Never again! It is more down hill than you think. God, I love that hole.”
Barb from Bloomington – “I have played Golden Eagle about 40 times over the years. It is one of my favorite courses because it is so woman friendly.”
Tom from Apple Valley – “They can talk all they want about how beautiful and how good, hands down the most beautiful hole on the golf course is #13. That hole spells golf up north in Minnesota. I would pay a green fee just to play thirteen 18 times.”
To me golf holes at Golden Eagle are like women in a beauty contest, they are all beautiful. But, everybody has a favorite. Don’t let the golf season slip away without visiting Bruce and Kathy in their fifteenth season at beautiful Golden Eagle. You might win free golf!