Silver Springs Golf Course in Monticello
Ethical Golf

by Kevin Turnquist

Ethical dilemmas have a way of cropping up in everyday life, even in such unlikely places as sports journalism. Today’s moral choice is, at least on the surface, a simple one. Suppose you knew of an out of the way golf course that ranks among the best golfing values in the Metropolitan area and always has tee times available, even on short notice. Revealing the existence of this course could result in more traffic on it.

Tee times are harder to get, the course becomes more crowded, and pretty soon your secret course is no longer a secret. Golfing buddies start to shun you as though you’d given away a beloved fishing hole.

You have to give up golf and with it goes the only semblance of regular exercise in your life. Weight starts to creep up from inactivity. Drinking increases. Job performance begins to suffer. The wife and kids leave after you lose your job.

Eventually you become a shell of a man, living in the past and telling any barfly who will listen about the life you used to have before you gave away your secret golf course. Ethical dilemmas are not pretty.

Well, anyway, the course in question is called Silver Springs Golf Course and it’s in Monticello. Silver Springs has two courses. The Silver course was built in 1974 and the Gold in 1985. Both are gently rolling courses cut out of surrounding farmlands and notable for a wide variety of good sized hardwoods.

The Silver plays a little tougher but both are designed to provide a fair challenge for the mid-handicap golfer. Difficulty comes from both distance (Silver is 6622 yards from the whites, Gold is 6438) and the relatively tight fairways. Mis-hit shots generally result in obstructed approaches but lost balls are a rarity.

The greens are enormous ovoid things that hold very well because of their spongy softness. One erratic member of our group was amazed to find that he hadn’t had to pitch up to a green for the first seven holes. Then it dawned on him that he had already three putted four times and had hit about two hundred yards of lag puts. Conditions of the greens could not be blamed. They were in very nice shape as was the rest of the course.

The excellent value at Silver Springs results from a combination of low green fees and some outstanding specials. Weekend rounds are only $20.50. Two people teeing off between 2:00 and 5:00 pm. on weekdays can play for $39.00 total, including cart. Twilight rate is even better at $32.00, cart included, for two.

Every traveling weekend hacker knows how difficult arranging tee times can be. Courses vary in terms of the days and times reservations are taken for Saturday and Sunday. Many courses reserve the plum tee time for patron card holders. Repeatedly pushing the redial button in competition with dozens of other golfers who are doing the same thing at the same time is a Minnesota summer ritual. Location, relative obscurity, and having 36 holes make Silver Springs more accessible. Weekend morning tee times are readily available, even as late as Friday. A 9:00 am tee time on a clear August Saturday found the course wonderfully uncrowded.

Nice courses. Good value. Easy tee times. Why would an arguably sane golf reporter risk a horrible future to reveal the location of such a course? Ironically the key to resolving these ethical dilemmas usually lies in determining the most selfish solution and going with it. As grave as the risks of disclosure may be, they pale in comparison to the knowledge that withholding a secret course like this will result in painful, unending battles with conscience. Perhaps the best part of such a disclosure is that you get to think of yourself as the kind of person who will, at least occasionally, do the right thing.

Silver Springs Golf Course
Monticello, Minnesota
(612) 295-2951
Difficulty: Moderate
Drive Time: Roughly 45 minutes from downtown Minneapolis
Cost: $20.50 on weekends

Silver Course

  Distance Rating Slope
Blue 6956 72.1 118
White 6622 70.5 115
Women 6176 73.9 126

Gold Course

  Distance Rating Slope
Blue 6750 70.8 117
White 6438 69.5 115
Women 5959 72.6 121