Golf Course Review: The Classic at Madden’s Resort (MN)

Madden’s Resort, Classic Course Rankings:

Golf Digest: #63 US public, #10 Minnesota
GolfWeek: #8 Minnesota public
Golf.com: #5 Minnesota public

Designer: Scott Hoffman, Geoffrey Cornish, John Harris, Warren Rebholz (1996)

Last month, my friend Dan and I had the opportunity to spend a day at one of Minnesota’s premiere Summertime, and golf, destinations: Brainerd, Minnesota.

I had spoken with the PGA Professional at Madden’s Resort in Brainerd, Glenn Hagberg, at the 2013 Milwaukee golf expo, and had of course heard of their Classic Course after seeing it repeatedly on lists of the country’s most highly acclaimed golf courses.

The Classic at Madden’s was named the 67th best course in the country this year by Golf Digest, and has appeared on the list for the past eleven straight years.

The Classic was built to add a PGA level course to Maddens’ resort property, and was designed by the course’s Superintendent, Scott Hoffman, with the help of three high-powered consultants: Former US Amateur champion John Harris, Minnesota Golf Association Executive Director Warren Rebholz, and the late East Coast golf architect Geoffrey Cornish. The goal was to provide a true PGA Tour level experience that can be enjoyed by golfers of all skill levels.

The Classic was designed from the Tour level tee boxes in, and features five sets of tees that measure less than the 7,102 yards played from the tips. Despite my regular support for the PGA’s “Tee it Forward” campaign, Dan and I played from the unmarked Tour tees for our first round, and not only were we provided a fantastic PGA Tour level experience, but we also added to our appreciation of the pros – blind tee shots, 200-plus yard carries off the tees, forced draws and fades, and on the eleventh hole a tee shot that has to be hit through about a ten-yard wide gap between trees to get to a fairway that is 270 yards out!

I will be writing more on our Classic experience in the near future, and am also working on a story for Midwest Golfing Magazine that focuses on Maddens’ current initiative to get players back to walking again – including a fantastic caddy program – but wanted to get some pictures up here for now. So, without further adieu, some of my favorite images from one of the most spectacular golf courses I have ever played: The Classic at Madden’s Resort:

Hole 1: Par 5 (545/510/500/489/380/380)
Hole 1: Par 5 (545/510/500/489/380/380)
Hole 1: Par 5 (545/510/500/489/380/380)
Hole 1: Par 5 (545/510/500/489/380/380)
Hole 2: Par 3 (173/165/150/132/132/95)
Hole 3: Par 4 (383/330/324/305/305/165)
Hole 3: Par 4 (383/330/324/305/305/165)
Hole 4: Par 4 (404/401/386/370/322/322)
 
Hole 5: Par 4 (418/394/371/347/347/300)
Hole 5: Par 4 (418/394/371/347/347/300)
 
Hole 6: Par 5 (545/536/525/493/493/371)
 
Hole 7: Par 3 (214/207/182/160/160/83)
 
Hole 8: Par 4 (440/429/405/351/328/328)
Hole 8: Par 4 (440/429/405/351/328/328)
 

Hole 9: Par 4 (437/420/403/389/334/334)
 
Hole 10: Par 5 (470/468/466/450/372/372)
Hole 10: Par 5 (470/468/466/450/372/372)
 
Voted the third most beautiful golf hole in the state of Minnesota, the eleventh at the Classic course is just that: Beautiful. Breathtaking, in fact.
When envisioning the course prior to design and construction, former US Amateur champion James Harris brought up the notion of placing the tournament tees further back and forcing a drawn drive off the tee to reach the fairway. “That’s impossible,” the rest of the committee told him. Legend has it he took a ball, tee and driver, and went to the spot of his proposed tee boxes and told them if a player can’t hit that shot they have no right to be a Tour player. He then proceeded to draw his tee shot through the trees and to the middle of what is now the fairway.
My tee shot was very different. I played the highest fade I possibly could, over the left side tree line and thought I nutted it. I found my ball in the rough 30 or 40 yards before the fairway started.
The bunkers on this hole are awesome around the green area. Just for fun, I played one ball from the top sand trap to see how difficult it would be to play from. I did pretty well!
 
Hole 11: Par 4 (444/339/322/306/275/275)
Hole 11: Par 4 (444/339/322/306/275/275)
Hole 11: Par 4 (444/339/322/306/275/275)
Hole 11: Par 4 (444/339/322/306/275/275)
Hole 11: Par 4 (444/339/322/306/275/275)
 
Hole 12: Par 3 (218/199/187/170/170/140)
 
Hole 13: Par 5 (634/603/591/571/494/494)
 
Hole 14: Par 3 (218/209/190/163/163/90)
 
Hole 15: Par 4 (416/408/380/363/323/323)
 
Hole 16: Par 5 (532/511/489/469/394/394)
Hole 16: Par 5 (532/511/489/469/394/394)
Hole 16: Par 5 (532/511/489/469/394/394)
 
Hole 17: Par 3 (159/155/146/133/133/80)
 
Hole 18: Par 4 (452/433/421/401/313/313)
Hole 18: Par 4 (452/433/421/401/313/313)

Course Wrap-Up:
Location: Brainerd, MN
Yardage: Tour-7,102, Black-6,717, Blue-6,438, White-6,062, Gold-5,438, Red-4,859
Slope/Rating: Tour-145/75.6, Black-141/73.9, Blue-134/72.1, White-130/70.4, Gold-131/72.5, Red-123/69.3
Par: 72
Weekend Rates: $119, including cart

2 comments on “Golf Course Review: The Classic at Madden’s Resort (MN)

  1. Pingback: The Country’s Best Golf Courses… That I’ve Played | WiscoGolfAddict

  2. Pingback: Madden’s Resort: A New Direction for The Classic Course in 2013 | WiscoGolfAddict

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