The real Pines

by Mark Sculati

Golf courses love to promote "signature" holes. Whether it be a par three with a huge elevation drop(see Mississippi National) or a par five with a giant bearclaw sandtrap(see Giants Ridge), courses are always looking for ways to grab the almighty golfing dollar by showcasing a particular hole. What lies beyond that hole is what really makes a golf course work.

Blueberry Pines Golf Club, located just eight miles south of Park Rapids, doesn’t really promote a signature hole. The reason being - it doesn’t need to. There are so many good golf holes that golfers who play the course will invariably pick out a different hole as their favorite. The scorecard shows a photo of the par four fifteenth while a flyer sports the par four fifth. One golfer in my foursome said that any one of the par threes could be a signature hole – they were that nice.

Playing anywhere above the Minnesota Mason-Dixon line (St.Cloud) in the month of May can find some golf courses in typical early season shape. That is poor,spotty greens,teeboxes, and plenty of "hardpan", whether your ball rests in the fairway or not. This was certainly not the case with Blueberry Pines. From the very first teebox to the eighteenth green, the course was in great shape. The teeboxes were lush, the greens contained no winterkill brown spots and rolled perfectly. Prior to our arrival it had rained for about a week straight(5-8 inches). While other courses were under water, Blueberry Pines, with bluegrass fairways on top of sand, and bent greens, the only problem was hole number five, a low lying par four bordered by water the entire length of the hole. The course will only get better with the approaching summer.

The layout mostly consisted of generous driving areas lined by pines with big sloping greens at the end – a much better layout than that other Pines course with the same degree of difficulty. The MGA should consider hosting the MGA Net Team Championship at Blueberry Pines versus The Pines.

The par fives average around 480 yards and provide some real scoring opportunities. Two dogleg left and two dogleg right. A booming drive cutting the corner allows a go for in two while anything less requires a third shot. The beauty of Blueberry Pines lies in the par fours and par threes.

Birdie the par five first? Step to the number one handicapped number two, a 406 yard dogleg left with a narrow driving area and water bordering the lefthand side of the green. Anything but a perfect drive and you could be looking to keep that doublebogey off your card (notice I didn’t say bogey). A par and you’re whistling to yourself after you run off the green. I was unable to keep the doublebogey off the card when it came to number seven – a 365 yard uphill par four that required a perfect drive over water and valley. One member of our group took the dreaded Malcolm "X". Two of our favorite par fours were the 395 yard twelfth and the 377 yard sixteenth. The sixteenth has water along the left hand side that you eventually have to cross to reach the green – a true golf hole(#2 handicap that we all parred – maybe that’s why we liked it so much).

The four par threes will hold their own against any other par threes in the state. Four on four, it will be hard to top these beauties. Scenic with water,pines, and sandtraps, they were clearly our favorite part of the course.

Blueberry Pines was built in 1991 and designed by Joel Goldstrand. This track has to rate as one of his best designs and when some of the smaller pines mature, it will be that much better. There is a beautiful log clubhouse with a bar and room for dining. There is also an outdoor deck to watch golfers come up the eighteenth. They also have a driving range and putting area to warmup before hand.

The greens fees are $25.00 M-Thur $37.00 w/cart

$28.00 F-Sun $40.00 w/cart

Our group had a very enjoyable experience and would recommend this course to anyone – especially if your thinking of playing one of the higher priced courses around – this is one you’d probably like better.

RT.2 BOX 76
(218) 564-4653

  Rating Slope Distance
BLACK 72.6 135 6693
BLUE 71.4 132 6393
WHITE 70.2 130 6121
RED 69.5 123 5024