Pine Beach Pleasure
by Mark Sculati
Brochures are almost always met with skepticism. Címon - admit it. Something shows up in the mailbox or you pick one up while killing time and you are being told about the greatest vacation spot etc. - kind of like a carnival barker except itís on paper. Peopleís eyes roll as soon as they open it. Hereís one for you - have you ever opened a brochure AFTER you have visited a spot? Nothing like having actually experienced something to be able to comment on it. Thatís what happened after MinnesotaGolf.org visited Maddens on Gull lake.
We were in the car on the way home when I was reading through the Golf and Recreation brochure from Maddens(killing time of course). We had just played Pine Beach east and The Classic on successive days. I came to the part in the brochure where it talked about Pine Beach East.
Minnesotaís first resort course when it was built in 1926, Pine Beach East is a time honored golf course that fits the needs of golfers of all levels. With greens the same quality as The Classic, at 6104 yards Pine Beach East features generous fairways with demanding approach shots to small, well-placed greens. The course features a variety of elevation changes, beautifully manicures trees and features the stateís only par six.
What?? Greens the same quality as The Classic? Gotta be the brochure carnival barker talking right? Thatís what I would have thought had I not played the course the day before, but this brochure speaks the truth. The greens at Pine Beach East were tremendous! Absolutely true, beautiful rolls. Whoever maintains them deserves a raise - it made our day. I typically take notes on every hole and by the eighth hole I had written ďgreat greensĒ, ďmint greensĒ etc. four times already.
Thereís an old saying - ďItís not the size of the wand that matters, itís the magic thatís in itĒ. At 6,100 yards, itís obviously not the longest course, but it has plenty of magic. How about par threes to start both sides? With three par threes on the front (numbers 1,5 and 8) and three par threes on the back (numbers 10, 12 and 18) you can have a great day with your six iron - two of us hit the same club on all six holes as the yardages went 160, 172, 172, 172, 175, 176, and 185. It was a lot of fun to get grooving on one club.
Speaking of fun, how about three reachable par fives in the span of four holes. Numbers 14, 15, and 17 went 460, 475, and 482 respectively. Hit a good drive and you are looking at a second shot that gets your pulse racing - everybody likes to think ďeagleĒ in their heads. Standing on the 15th tee after a birdie on 14, one of our group remarked, ďIím so happy right now.Ē Thatís what birdies and great greens will do to your demeanor.
The front nine features one par five AND a par six. The par six sixth (Iíve never written that before) stretches 618 yards and used to be a landing strip. Landing strip - par six - you get the picture. The par five seventh provided a bit of surreal for us. A local church was slowly ringing itís bell for five oíclock mass while we played the hole. We reached yet another mint green with the bell still tolling and we concluded that we were in our own chapel - the chapel of great greens.
Looking out from the eighth tee.
We played Pine Beach East kind of like an add on or appetizer before what we thought would be the main course - The Classic. As it turns out, the appetizer was just as good as the meal. If you have any plans to play The Classic, you should not miss Pine Beach East. Stay right there at the Madden Inn and Golf Club. No driving after the round - you park the cart right by your room. Jump in the pool on the deck that overlooks holes one and 10. Seriously - how many places have a pool you can be in and still see people tee off?
Believe the brochures about Maddens on Gull Lake and Pine Beach East. Take the family. Bring a group of 12 to play. This place fits any type of golf/weekend experience that you want. No brochure carnival barker here - Iíve been there.
To visit them directly: