by E. Nolan

There exists no dictionary with sufficient hyperbolic terms to adequately state our general enthusiasm for the appearance of green grass and the feeling of warm sunshine. Golfers are especially ecstatic. Golf season is FINALLY here.

Whether you've traveled to golf over the winter, or merely dreamt of golf while buried here at home, there's no better time than the present to convert your national trips into local ones and those "if only" golf dreams into "why not" realities. To help you with your planning, here is a composite Par 70 course built from my 18 favorite public golf courses in the state. How many of these can you play this year? #ChallengeExtended

5th Green | E. Nolan

HOLE 1: PINE CREEK (La Crescent)

"Minnesota's Best 9-Hole Course" opens with this short Par 4, leading to a wild and scenic adventure with no bunkers but plenty of steep drop-offs, water hazards, and challengers, like at the Par 3 7th shown here.

HOLE 2: DEACON'S LODGE (Breezy Point)

Arnold Palmer's tribute to his father provides an assortment of signature holes, including this beautiful Par 5 that The King punctuated with a green precariously perched on the edge of Shaffer Lake.

HOLE 3: THE CLASSIC At Madden's (Brainerd)

The most curvaceous of Par 4s begins a few steps from one of The Classic's signature wooden bridges and ends on a peninsular green jutting out into glistening Bass Lake.


Elevated Par 3 tees at the furthest point from the clubhouse offer panoramic views of the tough Rees Jones design built on the least farmable of farmland in southwest Minnesota.

View from the clubhouse | Dakota Ridge Golf Course

HOLE 5: THE WILDERNESS At Fortune Bay (Tower)

"America's Most Underrated Golf Course" features 10 signature holes and some of the most entertaining greens on earth, including Jeff Brauer's Biarritz beauty on this short Par 4 near Ely.


Southeast Minnesota's best public championship design is a Hale Irwin gem near the Mississippi with no hole easier to par or birdie than this downhill runway of a Par 4.

HOLE 7: THE PINES At Grand View Lodge (Nisswa)

The most "signature" of the 27 holes on the property, this stellar Par 3 with pond, fountain, and rock wall, has even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's national golf calendar

The Pines | Peter Wong

HOLE 8: THE WILDS (Prior Lake)

Major winner and award-winning architect Tom Weiskopf worked some metro magic over water, marshland, and hills to a stunning reveal and daunting descent to the lake on this Par 5.

HOLE 9: RUSH CREEK (Maple Grove)

Rush Creek is as much pond and lake as it is creek, meaning golden beauty and golfer peril are forever present all around, including on approach to this Par 4.

To read more about the Minnesota Dream 18, along with other great content in Lake Time Magazine, you can purchase or subscribe online HERE and support this independent publication. By becoming a member you would receive the latest issues PLUS great Lake + Co. Shop perks!