Minnesota National Golf Club – Still The Best Kept Secret In Minnesota
By R.J. Smiley
If you still don’t know where Minnesota National Golf Club is, the summer of 2015 is the time to discover the best kept secret in Minnesota golf. The golf course is located just west of Big Sandy Lake, which is a par-5 north of McGregor, MN. The Stay & Play Package offered by the owners of Minnesota National and Big Sandy Resort make it an easy choice.
So again you ask yourself, “Where the heck is McGregor?? I thought that McGregor was the brand of golf club that Jack Nicklaus used when he was first on the TOUR.” Directions are not important these days, just set your GPS for Big Sandy Resort and turn when Siri tells you. She will point your car north from the Cities up Highway 65. Traveling from the new Viking Stadium, the trip will take a little over two hours. Scenery along the way is incredible – typical Northern Minnesota.
When Siri tells you, “turn left, you have arrived at your destination,” your eyes will sweep the spectacle that is Big Sandy Resort, a truly incredible resort. This feeling of awe will enchant you for the span of your golf Stay & Play visit.
As one recent guest stated, “I was amazed to find this gem! I know that this resort has been around a long time, and has a great history, but it was a new experience for me. I loved it! Every new thing I encountered just made me love it more. The lake, pool, hot tub, golf course, FOOD, friendly staff and lodging facilities were out of this world. Upscale yet family friendly. I highly recommend you visiting here.”
The unlimited golf portion of your Stay and Play Package starts at noon the day of arrival and runs through golf course closing the day of departure. Carts are included for all rounds on either the championship course or the Savanna 9. Unlimited range balls are also available both before and after your round.
Special Note: In the eyes of this writer, only experienced players with low handicaps should venture to the two back sets of tees.
The Blue tees at Hazeltine National were used for all Championships prior to the recent PGA Championship. Compare Minnesota National Black (back) tees to Hazeltine National Blue (former Championship) tees:
Hazeltine – Blue, 7,137 yards, course rating 75.7, slope 147. Minnesota National – Black, 7,230 yards, course rating 75.6, slope 148. Minnesota National – Blue (one set up from the championship, Black tees) 6,813 yards, course rating 73.7, slope 139.
The Blue tees are an extremely good test. There is nothing hokey and nothing contrived about Minnesota National, it is just a big time golf course.
Minnesota National Golf Club is located a quick three-minute drive from Big Sandy Resort. Your initial feeling will be reinforced when you set foot in the mammoth 20,000 sq. ft. clubhouse. The original developer wanted the very best northwoods golf course in the United States, and he created a clubhouse to match the golf course. Therefore the name “Minnesota National.” He gave Joel Goldstrand 600 acres of pristine lake country wilderness and an unlimited budget – Goldstrand did the rest.
With five sets of tees, golfers of all skill levels can enjoy the course. The gently contoured fairways at Minnesota National are carpeted with striped bent grass to match the tees and greens. The snow-white bunker sand, which was imported all the way from Ohio by Mississippi River barges, creates a psychedelic contrast to the vivid green fairways and cobalt blue skies. The perfect texture of this Ohio sand gives golfers the same consistently firm surface for every bunker shot.
In addition to the championship golf course, Minnesota National boasts the Savanna 9. This nine hole executive course with bluegrass fairways and four sets of tees plays to a respectable 2,500 yards with a par of 33. Many of the local players choose to play the Savanna 9, as it is easier to make a few pars and the greens are maintained to the same level as the championship course.
Big Sandy Resort offers you multiple lodging options. Your awesome feeling continues as you step into the new condos at Big Sandy Resort. These are not the cramped, jam-as-many-as-you-can-into-a-small-space condos. They are up-north-modern, roomy and comfortable each offering immense windows and a private deck. Each with an inviting view of Big Sandy Lake that contains some of the clearest and pure sand filtered water in Minnesota. Other lodging options include, townhomes, cabins, Lodge hotel rooms and an Executive Log Home on the golf course – perfect for your golf getaway. If you want a diversion from golf, Big Sandy Resort has all the normal water sports equipment available to guests, along with an indoor pool and hot tub.
The Premier All Inclusive Stay & Play Packages include unlimited meals starting at 3:00 PM the day of arrival and ending at noon the day of departure. Golfers may choose to eat at the clubhouse or at Big Sandy Lodge.
The mystique continues while golfers choose from three dining options available at the beautifully decorated clubhouse. The spacious dining room offers a gentile feeling of privacy with large high backed booths while the uniquely decorated, with dark wood, the clubhouse bar makes golfers feel at home while golf tales are discussed. The final option is the sweeping outdoor deck overlooking the golf course. Chances are good you might see some of the critters that share their home with golfers.
The Pines Restaurant located in the resort’s main lodge offers a fine dining experience with a varied menu offering the unique tastes of Northern Minnesota. The Bear’s Den Sports Bar, that spills out onto the deck overlooking Big Sandy Lake, forces golfing guests to make their choice between watching the latest sporting event inside or the beautiful sunset over the lake while enjoying a delicious dinner.
All beverages consumed during your Stay & Play Package are included in the single price. This benefit starts at 3:00 PM the day of arrival and run through noon the day of departure. Ice tea, sodas and yes, even adult beverages containing alcohol are included in unlimited quantity with the package. Bottle or draft beers, cocktails and wine by the glass are included. Believe it or not, even drinks from beverage cart girls are included. Where else but Minnesota National do they serve you unlimited cocktails!
The Premier All Inclusive Stay & Play Packages start at $199 for the two day/one night package. Two days of unlimited golf, food, beverages and one night lodging. While the three day/two night packages start at $299. These prices run through June 15, Sunday through Thursday, with a slight up charge for weekends. The mid-season prices are slightly higher.
Where else but Minnesota National can you eat and drink your fill, play golf until your hands bleed and then crash in a beautiful new condo! Another guest commented, “If you’re a golfer, we recommend visiting Minnesota National Golf Course during your stay. They have the most beautiful clubhouse we’ve ever seen and the course was in pristine condition.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.