Tianna Country Club, Walker, Minnesota
Jewel of the North

by Rob Levine

Tianna Country Club, located a few miles south of Leech Lake in Walker Minnesota, is not for every golfer. For one thing, it’s about a three-hour drive from the Twin Cities just to get to the course. But for those who do go, it is a treat not to be missed. Tianna features 18 adventurous holes cut out of classic northern Minnesota rolling hills and pine forest. We counted no less than 11 holes that play uphill, many to elevated (and dreaded) domed greens.

Tianna’s got it all
If Tianna were a city-type loop, the first nine would be called the Lowlands, and the back nine the Uplands. Fortunately, it’s not that kind of place. The front is the decidedly easier nine, with real scoring opportunies on no fewer than five of its holes. Number two, the signature hole, has been called the most beautiful hole in Minnesota golf, and who am I to dispute that. It’s a lovely 170-yard par 3 from a slightly elevated tee that goes over a small pond. From the tee box you see this neat tunnel through the woods, which opens up on the other side, with big pine trees to the left and behind the green.

On number three, a short 268-yard par 4 that’s impossible to drive without negotiating the trees just in front of the green, we were lucky enough to see a perfect drive that wound up in the center of the green, and was then knocked in for an eagle 2.

Deceptively long
On some of the longer holes at Tianna (and the holes are deceptively long—I saw many balls fall short) you need to hit a pretty long drive just to have a chance to get to the green in regulation. I found the sand wedge to be useful around the greens, particularly when standing below the dance floor and needing to drop it close. One of these holes is the number two handicap fourth, a 429-yard par four. The second half of the fairway goes uphill, leading to a small, domed green.

The back nine is more difficult, featuring fewer real scoring opportunities. For most golfers just getting through the back and avoiding any real explosions is an accomplishment. Five of the holes go uphill, including number 12, the number one handicap, a 418-yard dogleg left par 4.

The course itself is in excellent condition; the fairway grass is very green and healthy, as is the grass on the greens. Amazingly, the greens are virtually mar-free, with no ball or spike marks. The speed of play is good; we never waited on a tee during 72 holes of golf.

Someday, they’ll be turning them away
Tianna is a truly great course, unlike any others I’m aware of. It’s full of northwoods charm, challenging hills and greens, and general good feeling, not to mention being a great golfing value: for $20 you can play unlimited golf (plus $10 for each 18 holes for a cart—something you’ll definitely need).

It says on one of the inscriptions at Tianna that "Someday, they’ll be turning them away." Yeah, maybe when there’s more global warming and Duluth becomes the new St. Tropez of the North. Until then, bring warm clothes. Highly recommended.

Tianna Country Club
Walker, Minnesota
(218) 547-1712
Green fee: $20; $10 for a cart

Drive from TC: 3 hrs
Difficulty: Difficult

Visit the Tianna home page.

  Blue White Gold Red

Distance

6550 6323 5681 5425
Rating 72.0 71.0 68.0 66.3
Slope 127 125 119 116