Golf Being Served on the Rocks
May 22, 2001
I’ll have a “Titleist on the rocks, hold the slice.”
Nope, not a drink you’ll find offered in the 19th hole. Rather a reality many linksters will be faced with when they leave their tee shot short on the new par-3 16th hole at Pine Island Golf Course.
The 177-yard hole will instantly become one of the most unique golf holes in the area when the new nine holes open for play at the course next month. The greens are guarded by sand, trees and water. But rocks?
Carved from an old quarry, good-sized boulders were left to the right of and also in front of the green. Bail out left and a gentle slope will lead your ball down towards sand trap.
Clubhouse manager Dean Weis gave this writer a tour of the new holes and stopped to prove the 16th can be tamed by firing a wood through the wind that landed softly on the putting surface. A gimme birdie for sure.
This should be pointed out, however, this came on his second attempt. The first try? No comment.
Opened for play on Labor Day of 1994, the original nine-hold layout quickly developed a solid reputation among the legions of golf fanatics. Great greens were what most folks came away talking about.
This writer found the greens to be even better than advertised. Large and gently rolling, these putting surfaces were fast and very true. Each green offered a bevy of pin-position choices, helping to create a sense of variety despite being just a nine-hole course.
But that’s about to change, as the new nine is slated to open June 23.
My assessment? Let me put it this way; if you are a golf nut and happen to be in the market for a new home, you might want to consider moving to Pine Island. Give the holds a year or two to fill in and you’re going to have one of the top courses in the region to tee it up.
“The original plan was for 18 holes,” said Weis. “But we didn’t think it would happen this fast. We were able to get out of debt last year and optioned right away for the purchase of the additional land.”
The course is set up as a co-op, owned by folks. Led by the experience and knowledge of Ken Edstrom they built the course themselves. Edstrom, a retired local business owner, also helped in the building of Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Rochester.
“Ken and about ten or 12 guys built this course.” Said Weis. “They just poured their guts out to get it built. They bought some old junk and hammered out a golf course.”
One piece of old junk, a tired-looking dozer, sits quietly on the topside of the old quarry overlooking the 16th green.
Although the work was done by the locals, the club was smart enough to hire top talent to lay out the course and also to design the greens. Tom Haugen, part owner of Stonebrook Golf Club in Shakopee, was involved in the project.
“One thing Tom told use was you have to have good greens,” said Weis. “People will come back to play good greens.”
The finished 18-hole product will play to a championship-tee length of over 6,600 yards. Included in the mix will be a 594-yard par-5. Four sets of tees will be offered to allow golfers of all ability levels to enjoy their rounds.
Greg Peterson writes a weekly golf column for the Post-Bulletin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.