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Grand View Lodge

The Head Waters of the Mississippi Come Alive at Grand View Lodge

Head of the Class

By Glen Turk

Long before Brett Favre became Minnesota's number one renewable resource, the area of Brainerd, MN put the Land of 10,000 Lakes on the map as a tourist destination. At the head waters of Mississippi River resides a pure golf Mecca that incorporates some of the finest multi-course facilities in the nation. One the classiest, the Grand View Lodge, boasts three championship courses including one designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer. Just how impressive is this outlying gem - Grand View Lodge was just recently named one of North America's Top 75 Golf Resorts by Golf Digest.

Eric Peterson, Grand View's Director of Golf, explains why his property is deserving of such a lofty honor. "First of all, it is the variety of golf that we have at Grand View. All three of our championship courses have a different designer and are geographically separated by at least seven miles; creating an abundance of their own unique qualities. Our other main hallmark is that there is no disconnect between the quality of the golf, lodging, food, and other amenities including our first class Spa. Other resorts may have a great golf course but the rest of the experience is not of the same quality, but not at Grand View," stated Peterson.

Before MGM explains all that Grand View has to offer, it's important to mention this simple, yet effective vacation suggestion. Grand View is so impressive it must be experienced over multiple days. Plus, going back to work is as overrated as Jay Cutler.


It's always a good sign when the awards page at one particular golf course takes nearly five minutes to read. Since opening on May 31st, 1999, the 6964 yard Deacon's Lodge course has received acclaim worthy of its designer, Arnold Palmer. The Taj Mahal of all awards, a #1 State Public Course Ranking, was given to Deacon's Lodge by GolfWeek Magazine in March 2005 and is considered one of Palmer's best designs - period.

Creating a mesmerizing golf experience was always the goal for the eight-time major champion, who named the course after his father's nickname. No expenses were spared to create this masterpiece, including the importation of sand. The white "Ohio's Best" sand used in the primary bunkers was brought in from you guessed it - Ohio. Transported by barge via the Ohio & Mississippi Rivers, this sand was shipped to St. Paul, Minnesota and then delivered to Deacon's Lodge by thirty-two semi trailers.

According to Eric Peterson the big, bold course always leaves golfers wanting to come back for more. "The thing you will remember after playing Deacon's is the generous fairways and the large piece of land the course is built upon. Some of the fairways measure upwards of 70-80 yards across and you will seldom see another golf hole other than the one you are playing. The course does put a premium on your approach shots with large waste bunkers and some longer fescue grasses guarding the green complexes," explained Peterson.

Putting people on the spot is something I enjoy doing, so I asked Eric to pick his favorite hole on Deacon's Lodge. "I absolutely love number 12, which is the shortest par-4 on the course at 340 yards. Even though the green is guarded by wetlands in front the hole does encourage the longer hitters to go for the green. For those who choose the more conservative route, I suggest hitting your drive over a wetland to the right up against a large hill. Don't worry, the further you hit it to the right the more the ball will roll back down the hill leaving you a flat lie in the fairway," concluded Peterson.


Measuring out at just one yard over 6600, the Preserve 18 is the shortest of the championship courses at Grandview Lodge. But what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in beauty. No less than eleven elevated tees grace the property, offering impeccable views in all directions. The finest vista on the course might not be from the course at all, as most patrons agree the view from the clubhouse overlooking the property is awe-inspiring. You don't have to convince Mr. Peterson the power of the overlook, he sees it nearly every day. "The view from the clubhouse at The Preserve is second to none, as it is considered the best clubhouse view in Minnesota. The clubhouse sits on top of a hill and from the deck you can see #9, #1, #10, and #18. The tree lined fairways define each hole and a pond at the bottom of the hill comes into play on 1, 10, and 18. It is a remarkable place to enjoy a beverage and a meal before or after your round," explained this Minnesota Peterson who I'm sure hasn't been clocked doing 109 mph in a 55 zone.

The finest hole on the outward nine according to Eric is the challenging par-4 5th. "Number 5 is considered by some the most difficult par-4 in the Brainerd Lakes Area. From the back tee it requires a well placed drive over a wetland down the right side and an ideal distance of 250-275 yards. Once you have completed the drive the second shot is no easier. With a wetland in front of you from 150 - 70 yards from the green you must get your uphill second shot in the air to an elevated green with some challenging slopes. Par is a great score on this hole anytime you play it," concluded Peterson.

You've probably heard of our Editor's Choice Awards, but now it's time to unveil our Publisher's Choice Award. In the category of best risk/reward golf hole at Grand View Lodge, our very own Jay Royle (who has never met a drivable par-4 he didn't like) has selected the 287 par-4 14th hole on the Preserve course as the hands down winner. "For a guy that snapped his driver in half from swinging too hard, it's safe to say this is a favorite type of hole for me. The chance to drive the green from an elevated tee is one I'll never turn down! I absolutely love the risk/reward nature and the flow of this beautiful golf hole," regaled Royle.


Grand View Lodge's Pines Golf Course consists of three distinct nine hole layouts that offer endless combinations of fun for their guests. The course was designed by Minnesota native and former PGA Tour player Joel Goldstrand. Recent renovations that include wider fairways and the edition of over 100 new pine trees have not only made the course more beautiful, but more playable as well.

"Starting about three years ago The Pines Golf Course has undergone an extensive renovation," explained Peterson. "We added over 100 sprinkler heads, widened all fairways by approximately 25 yards, rebuilt many and replaced sand in all bunkers, renovated six tee complexes, planted 150 midsized pine trees to support the tree line, and also did extensive leveling of fairway and rough areas. These renovations, along with the consistency of our regular maintenance, has made The Pines the best public conditioned course in Minnesota," added Peterson.

The Lakes nine is aptly named as golfers weave through four of Minnesota's over 10,000 lakes while playing the final four holes. Two par-3's within the quad squad of holes only heighten the excitement level, including the signature 152 yard 7th and the 212 yard 9th. The initial short hole graces the front of the scorecard and honestly looks too good to be real.

"Number 7 on the Lakes nine is often considered the signature hole and could be the most recognized hole in Minnesota golf. Standing on the tee you have water directly in front of you and then along the entire left side of the hole from tee to green," explained Eric Peterson. "Any errant shot to the left is sure to find the water. To the right of the green is a large hill side with wood planks built into the hill so if a player misses the green to the right it is common to see the ball bounce back all the way across the green back into the water on the left. The green has a large slope in the middle separating the green creating a front or back pin placement."

The Woods nine takes golfer's on an epic journey through hardwood pines, native areas, and soft rolling hills. According to Peterson, designer Joel Goldstrand saved the best for last. "The ninth hole on the Woods course is an outstanding par-5 measuring 540 yards from the back tee. Longer hitters can reach this green in two, but your second shot must have exceptional accuracy since the green is protected by bunkers in front and water left, right and back of the green complex. The shape of the green can create some challenging pin placements - especially be cautious of the back left location."

Your 27 hole extravaganza ends with the Marsh nine, which plays a sturdy 3423 yards from the tips. Creative bunkering schemes are more prevalent at the Marsh, especially when trying to conquer the 451 yard, par-4 7th. A very deep, three tiered green is guarded by six "church pew" bunkers directly left of the putting surface. The pews offer a "Kodak Moment" for sure, as a shot and prayer are required to get up and down from this predicament.

Finally it's important to note that in 2002 The Pines course was the only 5-Star property by Golf Digest in the entire state. You have to believe that the surrounding amenities at Grand View Lodge were also taken into account at the rater's meetings. Also, at no time will you pay more than $114 to play any property at Grand View Lodge, a value in the truest sense of the word.


Looking for a relaxing nine where enjoyment, not score is paramount? Then the Garden Course at Grand View Lodge is the perfect amenity. Built in the 1930's, the Garden Golf Course began Grand View Lodge's tradition of grand golf and offers gently rolling fairways, challenging greens and beautiful garden setting. This 9-hole par 35 course is located on the main grounds of Grand View Lodge, just a short walk from the Historic Lodge. The 2502 yard course is no pushover by any stretch of the imagination. The trio of par-3's all play over 155 yards from the tips with two of them playing over 180 yards. Those tough short holes are offset by the fortune of playing back to back par-5's that combine just over 800 yards. Guests can play The Garden for only $22.50 per player w/cart and their $11 replay rate is what Cub's Great Ernie Banks had in mind when he said "Let's Play Two!"

In conclusion, the word all-inclusive must have originated from a traveler just after he/she left Grand View Lodge. Besides the impeccable golf experience, patrons of Grand View are treated to unmatched lodging options. From golf villas to rustic cabins with all the amenities, your family or group will be able to find the one that's perfect for your stay. Plus, if casting your club on the course has gotten you down, then cast a line from the 1,500 foot natural sand beach on beautiful Gull Lake. You may head to Brainerd for the golf, but that doesn't mean that's all you have to do while there. My wife just reached over to check my temperature. For more information on Grand View Lodge, visit their website at or call 888-437-4637.

Revised: 12/19/2011 - Article Viewed 31,254 Times - View Course Profile

About: Glen Turk

Glen Turk Glen Turk is a Wisconsin native and is the Senior Writer/Editor of Midwest Golfing Magazine. Midwest Golfing Magazine was formerly known as Pub-Links Golfer's Magazine and is a free publication distributed four times per year throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio.

His duties at MGM include writing course features, facilitating product testing, and overseeing the overall content and look of the magazine. But clearly his most important task is playing as much golf as his wife allows. Fortunately for him, she plays also and loves out-driving him even with a 60 yard head start.

Glen plays to a 6 handicap but once set a record by having his ball retriever regripped 15 times in one calendar year. It was a December trip to Guam that ultimately did him in. Finally, if you haven't caught on by now, the two most worthy weapons in Glen's writing arsenal are self-deprecating humor and pithy one-liners.

My signature line, "Be A Force on The Course" and now more recently, "Hit 'Em Where They Mow!" can be reused at no charge.

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