Course closeup: Minnesota National Golf Course
June 5, 2020
Located just 53 miles from Cloquet, near McGregor, the National Golf Course is officially in Aitkin County but a welcome addition to the golf guide. This highly rated golf course has easy access, yet is in the northern Minnesota wilderness and is "golf as nature intended."
Designed by well-known Minnesota golf course architect Joel Goldstrand, this beautiful course is tucked away on 600 gorgeous lakeside acres surrounded by towering pines, colorful hardwoods and abundant wildlife habitat. Goldstrand, an accomplished golfer himself, has 40 courses credited to his design in mainly Minnesota and surrounding states.
The course has manicured bentgrass greens, tees and fairways. Slightly errant shots could find a bunker filled with Ohio professional grade white sand. There are 27 holes available with the Championship 18 playing from 7,230 yards from the back black tees (WOW) to 5139 holes from the front tees with a par of 72. There are 5 sets of tees. The other nine holes (2500 yards, par 33), some of which were formerly part of the Savannah Golf and Supper Club, are a shorter 9-hole track perfect for quick rounds, a family-friendly forum, or those who may want to work on their wedge/short game. The championship course was built in 2007 and 2008. Cut from often existing forests, it seems much more mature for its age.
If it's your first visit to the course, you'll be impressed by the clubhouse. It includes 20,000 square feet of space, 40-foot open-beam ceilings, five stone fireplaces, two bars, and four event venues.
When the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, it will again be the perfect place for corporate events, golf getaways or outings, and dream weddings. James Carlson, Minnesota National's PGA Professional, said they've already had to cancel - or delay until next year - six of the nine summer weddings that were reserved/booked at the Club due to the pandemic.
Carlson said they have implemented all state and CDC recommendations for golf courses during the pandemic.
The course address is 23247 480th Lane, McGregor, Minnesota. Call ahead for tee times, 218-426-4444.
Minnesota National has many play-and-stay options. In more typical years, there are townhomes to rent right on the course, a newer RV park, and lodging at the Big Sandy Lodge and Resort, a six-minute drive from the course. Call 218-426-5040 for the latest on play-and-stay opportunities.
The last time I played Minnesota National was last August on my birthday. I went there with my son, Ryan, and my lake neighbor, Chuck Forslund, who is in his 80s. Although usually walkers, we rented carts and were glad we did. Equipped with the latest GPS system, it made club selection easier. The course was in fantastic shape. Having the Minnesota National forward tee option made it more competitive for all of us. Chuck won.