Island View Golf Club
Island View Golf Club has to rank among the nicest golf courses in the entire Willmar Metropolitan Area. At least it seemed like it was that far out of the Twin Cities to one of our foursome traveling from the northeast suburbs. Once the round started, however even that petty criticism was quickly forgotten. This is a course with a distinctive personality. The initial few holes are relatively open and readily lend themselves to the establishment of a false sense of security. Island View gets progressively harder as you walk (or ride) the track. The front nine finishes with three holes that usually require blind approach shots to elevated greens.
The back nine gets even tougher. It features tight, rolling fairways lined with mature hardwoods, greens protected by overhanging trees and surrounded by cleverly placed traps, and some sadistic pin placements. While our group started strong, by rounds end we were struggling to salvage some self respect.
This golf course is fun to play even when the course, almost inevitably, begins to win the battle. Lake Waconia is sometimes in sight and some pretty ponds are an integral part of the courses demands. Course maintenance is excellent. Apparently when they are dissatisfied with the condition of a green here they simply plow it under and start over. We learned that the fifth green had been temporary until recently but never would have suspected that based on its condition. Fairways,while maddeningly narrow at times, are in good shape. The rough is thick and treacherous.
One subtle feature of this courses operation impressed us a lot: Fivesomes are allowed only if there are three gas carts for the five players. Having suffered through some five hour-plus rounds this year it was nice to see this concern about the pace of play.
Island View has been a very well regarded course among knowledgeable Metro golfers for a long time. Built in 1963, it is a semi-private course. Members get a real sweetheart deal. Initial stock purchase is refundable when you terminate your membership. Family memberships are around $900/year with no monthly minimum in the clubhouse. Members can schedule tee times a week in advance. Non-members pay green fees of $31 and can schedule times two days in advance.
No credit cards are accepted. Driving range, restaurant and bar are available. Island View Golf Club is an interesting hybrid of private and top of the line public courses. Western suburban golfers might consider going the membership route. For those who would find the long drive prohibitive its a great course to get out to on an occasional basis.
Island View Golf Club