Regional golf courses offer a variety of challenges

June 15 – There is certainly no shortage of courses to choose from for golf enthusiasts in the Willmar area.

From a resort setting to a backdrop that’s uniquely yours, 22 golf courses in the West Central Tribune area offer a myriad of fairways, bunkers and scenic backdrops.

The season is in full swing and many courses are awaiting a call for tee time reservations.

Below is a list of golf courses in the area, some of which are open to the general public and some of which require a membership.

Courses that require memberships can be used by those living outside the membership area by paying green fees. Most courses are closed on league days at various times of the week.

The “slope rating” is a rating that dictates the difficulty of the course, based primarily on length, number of hazards, and number of trees. A score of 113 is the national average. Notes below 113 are easier to play while those above 113 are more difficult. The odds can vary from 60 to 150. The slope rating allows the golfer to determine his handicap according to the course on which he plays. The slope index shown applies to white tees for men and red tees for women.

For more information on golf courses in the area, visit

www.mngolf.org

North edge of the city along the Potato River

The course is played along the river over several holes and has some hills. It has three par 5s and three par 4s. The fairways are medium wide and fairly open.

9 holes, par 36, 3,053 yards for men and 2,985 yards for women; slope rating of 118 for men and 119 for women. Trolley rental available. No reservations taken for tee times, 320-289-2513.

Highway 9 west to Benson

A course with lots of trees, it has three holes on the west side of the Chippewa River; golfers must play three times across the river.

18 holes, par 72, 6,313 yards for men; 5,994 for women; slope index of 125 for men and 124 for women. 320-842-7901.

13 miles south of Olivia on State Highway 71, 1/2 mile west on Renville County Road 2

The course, designed by Rees Jones, blends perfectly into the meadow.

18 holes, par 72, 6,217 yards, slope index of 136 for men and 141 for women. Departure times 24 hours depending on availability, 507-644-7844.

Northwest of the city

An older course with beautiful trees, slightly hilly. All the holes are par 4 except one par 3.

9 holes, par 35, 2,837 yards; slope index of 112 for men and 119 for women. Tee time reservations are unnecessary, 320-769-2212.

North edge of Willmar, just west of Highway 71

The front nine includes a full-size driving range. The back nine has steeper slopes, mature trees and water hazards.

18 holes, par 72, 6,098 yards for men; par 73, 5,208 yards for women; slope index of 130 for men and 127 for women. Reservations for tee times are available three days (public) in advance, 320-235-1166.

Highway 67, south edge of Granite Falls

The course is hilly with few trees, recently re-landscaped greens and upgraded, elevated tee boxes. There are a few doglegs, two par 5 holes and three water hazards.

9 holes, par 36, 2,902 for men, 2,509 for women; Slope Rating 128 for men and 126 for women. 320-564-4755.

Northeast edge of Raymond, along Highway 23

This gently rolling course crosses Hawk Creek on the fifth, sixth and eighth holes. There are mature trees and some small trees.

9 holes, par 36, 3126 for men; 2,428 yards for women; slope index of 123 for men and 120 for women. Reservations are taken for tee times up to 24 hours (public) in advance, 320-967-4295.

Southwestern edge of Atwater

The rolling course has natural wetlands and an island green on the par-3 18th hole. There are seven doglegs, four par-5s and four par-3s with large greens.

18 holes, par 72; 6,336 for men; 5,194 for women, grade index 130. Reservations are taken for tee times (320-974-8600) 14 days in advance.

Highway 23, one mile west of Paynesville

A slightly hilly course, with several holes dug in the trees. It has narrow fairways and several challenging par 3 holes.

18 holes, par 71, 6,005 yards for men; 5,070 for women; slope index of 124 for men and 116 for women. Tee times taken one week in advance, 320-243-4111.

Pleasure Drive, at the southwest end of town

Located near Lake Ripley, the course is challenging with trees and water hazards.

18 holes, par 70, 6,086 yards for men; 4,997 for women; slope index of 126 for men and 121 for women. Reservations are taken for tee times, 320-693-6059.

Highway 23, halfway between Spicer and New London

With seven ponds, 33 bunkers, streams, intermediate water hazards and lots of trees, this course is challenging. The fairways are of medium width.

27 holes, par 72, 6,217 yards for men and 5,393 yards for women on Willows/Pines; 6,400 and 5,442 on Pines/Oaks; 6,337 and 5,373 on Oaks/Willows; average slope index of 132 for men and 127 for women. Reservations for tee times taken up to seven days in advance, 320-354-2296.

South on Hwy 75, West on State 40

An old course with many mature trees and some hills. There is one par 3 and the others are par 4s.

9 holes, par 35, 2,802 yards for men and 2,715 for women; slope index of 125 for men and 122 for women. No reservations needed except weekends, 320-598-7587.

West of Glenwood on Highway 28, turn north on Golf Course Road

The hilly and semi-hilly terrain overlooking Lake Minnewaska will challenge the average to above average golfer and the greens are all moderately bunkered.

18 holes, par 72, 6,212 yards for men; 5,136 yards for women; slope rating of 133 for men and 126 for women. Reservations can be made up to a week in advance and are advised at 320-634-3680.

Seven miles northeast of Buffalo Lake in Renville County 8

On the north shore of Lake Ellie, the course is somewhat hilly, with fairways 90 feet wide. Four holes have doglegs and No. 6 is played over an extension of the lake.

18 holes, par 72, 5,304 yards for men; 5,138 yards for women; slope rating of 117 for men and 121 for women. Tee times seven days in advance, 320-587-0525.

Southeast edge of town, three blocks south of the courthouse

This course features tree-lined fairways and water hazards, including a par 3 that requires you to play on water.

9 holes, par 36, 3,171 yards for men; 2,609 yards for women; slope index of 118 for men and 116 for women. 320-523-2313.

South of Glenwood on State Highway 104, turn right on Pezhekee Road.

One of Minnesota’s few golf courses. The fairways pass through a forest of maple, lime and oak trees, lush greens, varied natural terrain, bridges, overlooking Lake Minnewaska. Several water hazards, balanced with par 3s, par 4s and par 5s, a few ravines and fairly deep woods.

18 holes, par 72, 7,263 yards for men; par 75, 6,295 yards for women; slope rating of 119. Reservations are taken for tee times. 320-634-4501.

Three miles south of Morris on State Highway 9

A hilly course with narrow fairways and sandy situations affecting four holes. Each hole has two or three rows of trees. Both par 3s have water hazards.

18 holes, par 72, 5,995 yards for men; 4,889 yards for women; slope index of 129 for men and 119 for women. Tee time reservations accepted, 320-392-1009.

East edge of Brooten along Highway 55

The large meadow course has three water obstacles. A reversible nine-hole course, play one way one day and the other the next.

9 holes, par 36, 3,078 yards for men; 2,627 yards for women; slope index of 126 for men and 121 for women. Reservations five days in advance, 320-346-2677.

101 E. Oak Street, Redwood Falls

One of the most scenic courses in the state features a green island at #3 and a 90-foot drop overlooking the Redwood River Valley at #17.

18 holes, par 70, 5,698 yards for men; 4,958 yards for women; slope index of 120 for men and 113 for women. Call for tee times, 507-627-8901.

Highway 212, west of Montevideo

The course runs north to south above and below the bluff overlooking the Minnesota River Valley. The river comes into play on five holes as a water hazard. Trees come into play on several holes.

18 holes, par 72, 6,190 yards for men; 5,735 yards for women; slope rating of 127 for men and 121 for women. Reservations are taken up to 7 days in advance, 320-231-1281.

One mile south and two miles west of Renville

This nine-hole course has a very good layout, and is both challenging and scenic.

9 holes, par 36; 3,438 yards for men; 3,266 yards for women; slope index of 144 for men and 141 for women. Call for tee times, 320-779-4653.

East edge of Willmar, just off Lakeland Drive on Becker Avenue

This route has a few hills and creeks to cross. A nine-hole course with a few groves of old trees.

9 holes, par 35, 2,479 yards for men, slope index of 105; 2,212 yards for women. No reservations taken for tee times.

Michael C. Ford