by Rob Levine
Every time a new course opens, were all tempted to run off and give it a try. So when we heard about Mississippi Dunes, a "Links" style course opened last year on the banks of the Big Muddy in Cottage Grove, we had to pay a visit.
The advance word on the Dunes was good: Its a Links style course, that, according to its own literature, "Rewards gamblers who carry out the shot successfully." What we found instead was a course under construction. Many holes, along with the clubhouse, range, and putting greens are either presently on the drawing boards, or partially completed. Theres a lot of winter kill on the course, and there are places where exposed dirt has run onto the fairways. This isnt to say the course isnt worth playing; just be forewarned that its in rough shape.
While it is shot-style golf, the designers seem to have focused mainly on that aspect of the course. Unlike other links courses, the wind is often blocked by large trees. At times we were left wondering whether some of the "waste areas" were there intentionally or if they simply represented immature areas of the course.
Its got potential
I hate to come down on a course, especially a new one, too much. But there were other things I didnt like so well. I counted six hidden drives, i.e. your ball (and the fairway) go well out of view before the ball is down. The greens seem almost gimmicky with large ridges built into the middle of some. One hole, the par 5 eleventh, is billed as a reachable-in-two hole. A member of our party hit a tremendous drive, right down the middle of the fairway. Unfortunately, the fairway goes out of view from the tee, and, when we reached the ball, discovered there was a 10 foot strip of deep rough (on a hill, no less) stretching across the fairway about 280 yards out! So much for rewarding golfers who take chances and make a successful shot.
Another par 5, number seventeen, features an almost totally hidden drive. There is a flag to signify the general direction. If you hit a good drive, youre left with a long, totally hidden second shot to the green that only a fool would try, given the numerous (also totally hidden) bunkers in front of the green, and the woods to the left.
Get some signs
Mississippi Dunes Golf Course