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Matty G Knows Where the Good Courses Are – Minnesota & Wisconsin
Friday, 04 February 2011 17:21

Whoever said that we don’t have Top 10 golf in the Upper Midwest hasn’t seen Matty G’s (Matt Ginella, Senior Travel Writer for Golf Digest) latest list of the best states for golf .

Hmmm…..let’s see.  Florida’s on the list. Check. So is North & South Carolina. No brainer. California too.  Sure. Pretty easy to believe these states would be there.

How about Oregon, Michigan and Alabama?  They’ve got some good contenders too.

What’s this?? Wisconsin gets on his Top 10 list (#7) and Minnesota (#8).

Yep, while the rest of the golfing world is focused on the Hawaii/California PGA Tour swing right now, the two states that rank #1 and #2 in golf courses per capita (pretty much interchangeable between the two states as which one is #1), are both covered by a 50” inch blanket of snow and under that blanket, protected by the elements, are someone of the finest courses in the country.

Matty G on Minnesota:

No. 8: Minnesota Madden’s on Gull Lake was the winner of this year’s Golf Digest Green Star Award for the golf resort’s small carbon footprint. I’m a huge fan of their championship track, the Classic, No. 40 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. If you ever want to go off radar for some real quiet time and some great golf, hunker down at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. It has two more of the 100 Greatest Public, the Quarry (No. 20) and the Legend (No. 72). My three favorite courses in Minnesota: Classic, Legend and Deacon’s Lodge. Best value: The Legend at Giants Ridge. Best course I haven’t played yet: Other than the four I’ve mentioned, I have no idea. (Open to suggestions).

Note to Matty G: Playing Giant’s Ridge is not going “off the radar”.  Since Hacker’s Guide rated 250 courses in Minnesota we know of a number of quite good courses in the state that don’t show up on Golf Digest’s list but we consider are serious contenders. Think The Jewel , Dacotah Ridge , Chaska Town , Cragun’s and Golden Eagle .

According to Matty G on Wisconsin:

No. 7: Wisconsin If you’ve ever stood on Whistling Straits’ 13th green on a clear summer afternoon, overlooking the great Lake Michigan, you’ll know why Wisconsin is on my list of top 10 states to play golf. The Badger State frequently hosts majors and has four of the 100 Greatest Public courses in the country. My three favorite public courses in Wisconsin: Straits, the Championship 18 at Blackwolf Run and the Irish course at Whistling Straits. Best value: The Bog. Best course I haven’t played yet: Erin Hills after the recent round of renovations.

Note to Matty G: We can’t argue with Whistling Straits nor with his assessment of the Bog. But we do think that Erin Hills, although it is going to host the 2017 US Open, isn’t ready for primetime yet.  Like Minnesota, Wisconsin too has some great hidden gems that don’t necessarily show up on a Golf Digest list.  What about Lawsonia , Grand Geneva , the Bull at Pinehurst Farms , or University Ridge ?? In our book, if it scores over 900 (there are 14 in WI that do), it’s a keeper!

Props out to Matty G in giving kudos to some of the best courses in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but if he just scratched a bit below the surface, he’d find dozen’s of great courses that don’t have the $200 to $400 price tag of an Erin Hills or a Whistling Straits, and are a better value to dollar course than these bigger names.

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