A slice of Ham
We have news for that segment of the Twin Cities golfing public that believes the civilized world ends somewhere around Highway 694. There are some excellent golf courses in the northern suburbs. If you read no further in this review, remember this: One of the finest Twin Cities public courses is in a town called Ham Lake. Honest.
Majestic Oaks consists of three courses. The best is the Platinum course.
This is a big,demanding track with par fours averaging over 385 yards and par fives over 510.
Distances are only a small part of the Platinums challenge though. The course is very well designed. Large,steep-lipped bunkers abound and every one seems to be strategically located. While nearly all of the greens afford a "ladies entrance" for the unadventurous few who play up the center of fairways, approach from any other angle and youre almost guaranteed a shot that requires carrying a trap. The par 5s invariably invite an attempt to reach in two, but severely test your shot with bunkers nearly surrounding the greens. Water can be a factor on about half of the holes. Greens are (to use a favorite term from the personals) plus-sized. No gimmicky humps or outrageous terraces but lots of long, gentle slopes that truly test your putting skill.
As the name would imply, Majestic Oaks does have trees. We even thought that some might be oak trees. This isnt a wooded course in the style of the northern Minnesota resort courses or the U of M though. The tall trees, like the traps, are there for a purpose. We often found ourselves hitting approach shots over trees but didnt have to spend any time searching through thickets for lost balls.
We complained about the absense of distance markers on the sprinkler heads but we always do that when theyre left unmarked; "How long would it take two guys with a tape measure and a bottle of nail polish to mark these suckers?" is a constant refrain when we misclub.
The Gold Course, aka "the not quite as Majestic Oaks," is a decent course in its own right. Weve played it a few times in the past as its easier to get tee times on the Gold. It wasnt up to the standards of the Platinum last year but, like its partner, is thoughtfully laid out. Word is that The Gold is maturing nicely so we hope to be back to check it out in the future.
Welcome to the 19th hole
Ham Lake, for the uninitiated, is roughly 35 minutes from either downtown. Take Highway 65 north to Bunker Lake Boulevard, then travel west about one mile to the course. Facilities also include a nine hole executive course and a driving range. Tee times can be made seven days in advance with a patrons card, four days in advance for the general public. The Platinum Course at Majestic Oaks is well worth the trip. Highly Recommended
Majestic Oaks Platinum Golf Course