An early morning tee time on a crisp fall day in Minnesota is about as good as it gets.
You look great in your weather gear, right?
And you love the vibrant colors of fall, combined with early morning temps cool enough to see your breath; afternoon sunshine warm enough to save your soul.
Whatever the reason, late season golf offers something the grind of the season just doesn’t.
If you and your best golfing buddy's share the same sentiments about playing this time of year, then there are courses in southern Minnesota you should play.
Starting just south of the metro, the southern Minnesota cities of Northfield, Faribault and Owatonna have a number of championship courses available to players of all abilities.
In addition to the amazing golf you'll play, all three of these cities boast award winning dining and entertainment options for you and your foursome.
With outstanding accommodation options and vibrant, historic downtowns, why not make a weekend of it, and play them all in a few days.
Northfield Golf Club
If you ask the members of the Northfield Golf Club about their course, many will boast about it being one of the best courses in the state. And when you step up to the first tee, you'll fully understand why.
The view from the par-5 first tee is elevated, looking down to a narrow fairway, with a slight dogleg left to it.
It forces you right from the start to decide to cut the corner with a driver for a shot at this par-5 in two, or play it safely to a landing spot sum 250 yards from the well guarded green.
And it just gets better from there with a long par 3 at the second hole, and a daunting par-4, third hole; the toughest on the course. This scenario keeps repeating itself throughout the entire 18, and is just a joy to play.
Course:Northfield Golf Club, Northfield, MN
Tee Times:(507) 888-9009 Ext. 1 | https://www.northfieldgolfclub.com/bookteetimes
Price:$49 (rates and tee time availability varies)
The course, built in 1926 is stunning with it's elevated tees and pristine conditions. The greens on this gem are second to none. They are true, lightning fast and well maintained.
The tee boxes and fairways are impressive --- almost perfect --- and the layout is difficult; but playable from the forward tees to the tips.
Every tee shot on the course demands your full attention with hazards on almost every hole.
Willingers Golf Course
Willingers opened in 1991 and offers players of all abilities a golf course set up that is modern, fun, challenging and more than enjoyable.
The course is a mix of rolling hills, treelined fairways, low areas, high areas, wind, no wind; lots of trouble and well worth the greens fees when you're finished.
Their motto says “Once played, easily remembered” and that is definitely true for the myself and first-timers I've been around.
It's truly a ball strikers paradise. The fairways are wide and superbly maintained with large greens that slope back to front. If you humbly play this course you can score very well; challenge it and you could possibly pay the price.
Course:Willingers Golf Course, Northfield, MN
Tee Times:952.652.2500| https://www.willingersgc.com/bookteetimes
Course type:Public welcome
Price:Monday – Thursday $42/$57 (Walk/Ride); Friday – Sunday $52/$67 (Walk/Ride)
*Willingers has a number of different specials and rates available
Because Willingers is hot spot for players in the south metro so it can be a busy place. That said, there are many different tee-times and rates available; including: Two for Tuesdays deals, Twilight rates, senior discounts and much more. It also has an impressive driving range, clubhouse, restaurant and many more amenities to make your day of golf an enjoyable one.
Faribault Golf Course
Originally founded and open for play in 1910 the Faribault Golf Course in Faribault, MN has been hosting championship caliber events for over 100 years.
This course sits in the middle of a beautiful piece of property located on the west side of faribault and offers golfers of every ability the chance to hit every club in the bag.
According to their website the “Faribault Golf Club was instrumental along with Winona Country Club, Town and Country, The Minikahda Club, Rochester Golf & Country Club, Bryn Mawr, and Merion Park in founding and establishing the Minnesota Golf Association, and hosted annually since 1970, the Minnesota PGA Pro-Am Tournament. The club has also hosted the 1970 Minnesota State Open and local qualifying for the 1984 United States Golf Association Open.”
Course:Faribault Golf Course , Faribault, MN
Tee Times:(507) 334-3810 | http://www.faribaultgolf.com/request_tt/
Price:$44 (rates and tee time availability varies)
It's very traditional with several doglegs both right and left, water hazards and sand traps; it's really important to pay attention to your yardages or you can get in big trouble in a hurry. But, if played correctly, the layout allows golfers a chance to go low.
Legacy Golf Course
This is one of the more unique 18-hole layouts you'll play as a golfer. The front side of the course gives you an opportunity to play a scottish links style course, and the back-nine is literally cut out of the woods; with traditional characteristics of a US course, you'll probably be more familiar with. Both sides offer challenges and both sides are fun for golfers of all abilities.
Course:Legacy Golf Course, Faribault, MN
Tee Times:(507) 332-7177 |https://www.legacygolf.net/public-tee-times/
Price: Online Tee times reflect prices for 18-holes between $27-$33.
Legacy golf course offers the following from the website to explain the details more accurately, “The Legacy is a public course which offers yearly memberships, corporate outings, competitive tournaments, leagues, Jr. golf programs, lesson programs, practice facilities, PGA Professional, pro-shop, golf cart rental, club rental, snack bar and world class service. The golf course as described in the 1998 Minnesota Golfer Magazine has three kinds of holes. The center of the course is slightly hilly, with classic tree lined fairways. To the North, rolling topography is punctuated with prairie grasses, creating Scottish style links. And in the South, there are beautiful vistas with the internationally known college prep school Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the background.”
Sounds perfect, right?
Brooktree Golf Course
Brooktree Golf Course is located within the city limits of Owatonna, and is owned and operated by the city. However, this isn't what many in the golf world would consider a true “Muni”.
In fact it's just the opposite.
Brooktree is considered one of the best golf courses in southern Minnesota. The layout is fun, challenging and beautiful as it meanders along the banks of Maple Creek for some of the course.
Course:Brooktree Golf Course, Owatonna, MN
Tee Times:507-444-2467| https://www.brooktreegolfcourse.com/
Price: Online Tee times reflect prices for 18-holes between $16-$31. Call the course for full details.
The city of Owatonna takes pride in the appearance and playability of Brooktree;it definitely shows, and it has to. The course is home to city championship and usually draws a full field of competitors; anxious to play and show who's the best stick in Owatonna.
Owatonna Country Club
From the time you turn into the parking lot and take site of the Owatonna Country Club's newly remodeled 23,000 square foot facility until the time you leave, you'll be impressed with the amenities, staff and most importantly, the course.
The original 9-hole course was built in 1919 and in 1973 the back-9 was added with the design provided by well known golf course architect, Joel Goldstrand.
In 2008 the course undertook some major renovations on a number of holes that were prone to flooding on the front side. The end result was an already amazing course got even better. It now boasts some of the most challenging golf in the region.
Course:Owatonna Country Club, Owatonna, MN
Tee Times:(507) 451-6120
Course type:Private – Members and guests
Price:Call the pro shop to get the details
Owatonna Country Club is unique in the fact it is a very fun golf course to play but challenges even the best golfers. This is a thinking person's golf course with plenty of risk/reward shots demanding accuracy off the tee. Because of the faster green speeds consideration needs to be made with approach shots in order to leave you a chance to score.
Now that you are a little more familiar with these courses, take the short trip from the metro to southern Minnesota and play a few. The communities of Northfield, Faribault and Owatonna offer some great entertainment, dining and stay accommodations for any trip you plan.