Minnesota Golfer - Summer 2009 - 35
n years past, announcements of new golf course openings
came in bunches. But since the golf boom busted,
those announcements have dwindled and are now more
rare than double eagles. The state does boast one addition
this year, however: Wedgewood Cove Golf Club in Albert Lea.
" We've got a good chance of being the best new course in
Minnesota this year, " jokes course pro and superintendent
Donnie Teeter. Read here about Wedgewood Cove, as well as
Wayzata Country Club and Minneapolis Golf Club, both of
which were renovated recently. Then, hit the links to see these
courses for yourself.
New Kid on the Block
A February headline in the Albert Lea Tribune proclaimed,
" Golf in Albert Lea will not be the same again, " referring to
the opening of Wedgewood Cove this summer. That is exactly
what the club's owners are hoping for.
In 2006, developer Scott LaFavre bought and closed the
nearly 100-year-old Albert Lea Country Club, which had suffered
some tumultuous fi nancial years. Then, he plowed it under
for a housing development, leaving the area with only one
18-hole track, Green Lea Golf Course. It wasn't long, however,
before a plan was hatched to marry the housing development
with a new golf course, and Wedgewood Cove was born.
The new public facility boasts the service and amenities of a
high-end course at a price that is right for the times: 18 holes,
GPS golf carts and range balls for $45 on weekdays and $55
on weekends. According to Teeter, most of the great golf along
the I-90 corridor is private, so there is a need for public golf
in the area.
" We are going to have a nice little niche here, " he says. " It's
hard to forecast how we are going to do, but we are going to
offer a mid-range price point with high-end public appeal and
service in a part of Minnesota that doesn't have any of that. "
The 7,009-yard course features gentle, rolling hills, native
grass-topped mounds defi ning the fairways and 19 ponds.
" It's hard to call it a links course because there is so much
water, " says Teeter, " but it certainly has the feel of a rolling,
links-type course. There are virtually no trees. "
The front nine opens in July, the back nine in August. For
more information on the course, go to wedgewoodcove.com.
Wayzata's New Bunkers
Wayzata Country Club opened in 1956, and it was 40 years
before the bunkers there were touched, says head pro Dick
Walters. In 1996, architect John Fought tweaked them, and
last year he returned to overhaul them.
" He took the bottoms out, " Walters explains. " They used
to be really fl at and oval bunkers, with really steep-faced lips,
which was a nice look that everybody really liked ... until it
started raining hard and we would get a lot of washouts. "
The sand in the faces would wash down to the bottom of
the bunker, followed by soil, which contaminated the bunkers
and made them very hard to play. The result: bunkers became
ground under repair for days after every rainstorm. " It was
Minneapolis Golf Club, St. Louis Park
time to do something, " Walters says. " That was the main impetus
behind this renovation project-fi x the bunkers. "
In addition to the bunkers, Fought's master plan included:
reworking all tee boxes, taking out and trimming trees that
were crowding fairways, widening the water feature on No. 17
and increasing the size of the clubhouse deck for more outdoor
The club also built a new six-hole practice facility across
Wayzata Boulevard. It has a state-of-the-art practice area,
plus six par-3 holes that Fought designed to resemble classic
Walters is excited about what the practice area provides his
members. " It's wonderful for juniors and beginners, " he says.
" It's an ideal spot to learn the game. It provides accessibility if
our course is full. We've got six holes to play anytime. There
is not another practice facility around that offers what this
one will. "
MGC Returns to Ross
Minneapolis Golf Club has had the same problem with its
bunkers as Wayzata Country Club, and it has spent part of the
last two seasons fi xing them, while returning them to their
original Donald Ross design.
" The bunkers were pretty tired, " says course superintendent
Dale Caldwell. " They were redone in 1983 by Jeff Cornish,
who created these fl ash bunkers that Ross never had, and they
were a real maintenance headache. We took off those big fl ash
sand faces and turned them into grass-faced bunkers. "
MGC had 71 original bunkers. It took out 19 that were not
in play and added 24 more for a total of 76. Some bunkers running
parallel to fairways were " kicked out " to encroach on play
a bit more. In addition, three tees were reworked to more properly
align with the holes. As a result, 100 yards were added to
the course, which now plays to 7,100 yards.
" It defi nitely plays a little differently because we have bunkers
that are in areas where they weren't before, " Caldwell says.
" We toughened up the holes. You really have to think your
way around in a number of spots where you didn't have to
before. I think it is much more fun to play. " MG
Summer 2009 MINNESOTAGOLFER
PHOTO BY W.P. RYAN
Minnesota Golfer - Summer 2009
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Minnesota Golfer - Summer 2009
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