BLUEBERRY PINES, MENAHGA MN
The real Pines
by Mark Sculati
Golf courses love to promote "signature" holes. Whether it be a par three with a
huge elevation drop(see Mississippi National) or a par five with a giant bearclaw
sandtrap(see Giants Ridge), courses are always looking for ways to grab the almighty
golfing dollar by showcasing a particular hole. What lies beyond that hole is what really
makes a golf course work.
Blueberry Pines Golf Club, located just eight miles south of Park
Rapids, doesnt really promote a signature hole. The reason being - it doesnt
need to. There are so many good golf holes that golfers who play the course will
invariably pick out a different hole as their favorite. The scorecard shows a photo of the
par four fifteenth while a flyer sports the par four fifth. One golfer in my foursome said
that any one of the par threes could be a signature hole they were that nice.
MINNESOTA MASON-DIXON LINE
Playing anywhere above the Minnesota Mason-Dixon line (St.Cloud) in the month of
May can find some golf courses in typical early season shape. That is poor,spotty
greens,teeboxes, and plenty of "hardpan", whether your ball rests in the fairway
or not. This was certainly not the case with Blueberry Pines. From the very first teebox
to the eighteenth green, the course was in great shape. The teeboxes were lush, the greens
contained no winterkill brown spots and rolled perfectly. Prior to our arrival it had
rained for about a week straight(5-8 inches). While other courses were under water,
Blueberry Pines, with bluegrass fairways on top of sand, and bent greens, the only problem
was hole number five, a low lying par four bordered by water the entire length of the
hole. The course will only get better with the approaching summer.
The layout mostly consisted of generous driving areas lined by pines with big
sloping greens at the end a much better layout than that other Pines course with
the same degree of difficulty. The MGA should consider hosting the MGA Net Team
Championship at Blueberry Pines versus The Pines.
The par fives average around 480 yards and provide some real scoring opportunities. Two
dogleg left and two dogleg right. A booming drive cutting the corner allows a go for in
two while anything less requires a third shot. The beauty of Blueberry Pines lies in the
par fours and par threes.
Birdie the par five first? Step to the number one handicapped number two, a 406 yard
dogleg left with a narrow driving area and water bordering the lefthand side of the green.
Anything but a perfect drive and you could be looking to keep that doublebogey off your
card (notice I didnt say bogey). A par and youre whistling to yourself after
you run off the green. I was unable to keep the doublebogey off the card when it came to
number seven a 365 yard uphill par four that required a perfect drive over water
and valley. One member of our group took the dreaded Malcolm "X". Two of our
favorite par fours were the 395 yard twelfth and the 377 yard sixteenth. The sixteenth has
water along the left hand side that you eventually have to cross to reach the green
a true golf hole(#2 handicap that we all parred maybe thats why we liked it
The four par threes will hold their own against any other par threes in the state. Four
on four, it will be hard to top these beauties. Scenic with water,pines, and sandtraps,
they were clearly our favorite part of the course.
Blueberry Pines was built in 1991 and designed by Joel Goldstrand. This track has
to rate as one of his best designs and when some of the smaller pines mature, it will be
that much better. There is a beautiful log clubhouse with a bar and room for dining. There
is also an outdoor deck to watch golfers come up the eighteenth. They also have a driving
range and putting area to warmup before hand.
The greens fees are $25.00 M-Thur $37.00 w/cart
$28.00 F-Sun $40.00 w/cart
Our group had a very enjoyable experience and would recommend this course to anyone
especially if your thinking of playing one of the higher priced courses around
this is one youd probably like better.
RT.2 BOX 76
MENAHGA, MN 56464