Don't hit a cow, man

by Rob Levine

There’s really not much variation in the kinds of hazards one might encounter on a golf course. There’s the usual sand and water. Some tracks have swamps or waste bunkers. But on how many courses can you claim to have hit a cow? Not have a cow, I mean hit a cow, as in the bovine variety. About 20 yards behind the fifth green is a fenced-off farmfield, where some innocent, out-of-bounds cows, minding their own business, suddenly hosted an errant wedge shot . With a good caram, the player might have avoided a penalty stroke. Not having witnessed the shot myself, I cannot verify that the ball ended up back in bounds.

It’s beautiful
Buffalo run is an interesting and distinctive course. For the straight hitter, it might even seem an easy course. But don’t be fooled. It is a very difficult course, filled with tight fairways, lots of trouble, and small, well-protected greens. Opened last May in Buffalo, Minnesota (just over an hour west of downtown Mpls), Buffalo Run is a great bargain at $16 during the week and $22 on the weekend. The green fee includes a cart, which you would be insane to play without.

You’d also be hard-pressed to find a more scenic golf course. Buffalo Run works its way through marshes, woods, and around two lakes. There are numerous board walks where you might drive your cart of a mile over a marsh. Many tees are separated from their fairways by a carry over the marsh, that vary in distance from a hundred yards to some that are close to 200. Most have ample landing areas. If you can safely get off the tee, you’re usually left a with a shorter club to the green, making it easier to achieve greens in regulation.

Buffalo Run does show some of its youth. Its fairways were relatively hard (but, given the recent lack of rain, is understandable), and there are places where the grounds crew is now growing grass, or has repaired the fairways and greens.

Beware number four
A couple holes deserve special mention. In particular, the number one handicap, the par 4, 413-yard dogleg right number 4 seems an almost impossible hole to reach in two. It doglegs into two separate fairways. Even if you hit a perfect shot off the tee you’re still left with a 200+ yard shot to an elevated, small green. The course pro, Eric Adams, informed me that some golfers prefer to go straight to the second fairway, which is about a 240 yard carry. That’s what I’ll try next time. Which reminds me that this course is one which you’ll probably do a lot better on your second time around. The current scorecard, which is set to be replaced this week, has no pictures of the holes, which made playing the course for the first time a little more difficult.

One really beautiful and intersting hole is the 617 yard par 5 number 16. This hole requires about a 200 yard drive, followed by a 160 layup shot, before allowing you an angle at its island green.

Buffalo Run also has a wonderful clubhouse and bar. The interior design reminds me of a ski chalet, with a high ceiling and lots of big windows. Outside there’s picnic tables with large umbrellas, and even an outdoor barbeque.

For the western metro golfer looking for a challenge and/or a great golfing deal, Buffalo Run is a good choice.

  Blue White Red
Distance 6494 6068 4974
Rating 71.8 69.9 71.4
Slope 128 124 124
Buffalo Run Golf Club
1710 Montrose Blvd
Buffalo, MN 55313
Phone: 682-4476Green fee: Weekday $16; Weekend $22. Cart included.
Drive from TC: Roughly one hour west of downtown Mpls.
Location: Buffalo, MN.
Difficulty:  Difficult, in an insane way
Par: 70