The sixteenth green at Grand National (Hinckley, MN). Photo by Rob Levine.

Grander by the day

by Mark Sculati

Golfers, as a rule of thumb, will drive/fly anywhere to get in a round of golf. Las Vegas, Florida, Alabama, "up north", - you name it, golfers will go there. Metro area golfers routinely drive thirty to forty-five minutes to play their favorite courses. One such course that is definitely worth the drive is Grand National Golf Club located in Hinckley, just an hour north of the twin cities.

On your way up to Duluth? Gonna go to Grand Rapids or Lutsen?

If you are, you should plan on stopping at this Joel Goldstrand designed course. The Sportspage staff made a return visit this summer and came away feeling good about our initial positive recommendation of this course.

With four sets of tee boxes ranging from 5100 yards to 6894 yards, this course has something to offer for every type of golfer. This course does get every type of golfer, as Grand Casino is located next door. For those who travel out to Las Vegas to get in golf and gambling, Grand National is a whole lot closer and by far a better bang for the buck.

Ever play a course and come away thinking that it played a lot harder than the rating or slope indicated (not because of your swing)? That’s exactly how we felt the first time we played the course, and not to pat ourselves on the back or anything, but as of last year, the course was re-rated by the MGA. How does that happen? A team of three individuals from the MGA evaluates everything on the course (fairway, rough, and trees) once it is built and assigns both a rating and a slope. After two to three years of play, if requested, the MGA will revisit the course and re-rate the course as necessary.

At most courses it’s the drives that get average golfers in trouble. Out of bounds, trees, etc. lead to the dreaded double bogey or worse. The beauty of Grand National’s layout is that it’s the second shot at greens that makes one a man or a mouse. Many a time one of our foursome went whistling down the mostly generous fairways with a well-struck drive only to arrive at a take a gulp of air second shot. The reason being? Don’t miss right. Oh and on second thought – don’t miss short right. Oh and on third thought – don’t miss long right. Anyway, you get the picture. For the average handicapped right-handed golfer, it provides a true and believe it or not fun test of golf (especially so with each time you play the course).

The fairways and greens were in great shape and seem to get better every year – a true sign that the course is being well maintained and cared for. The sand traps were a bit hard from the 100-degree heat, but that can be taken care of.

At some courses you can pay $5-10 and get a player’s guide to show you around the course. At Grand National it comes for free (golfers love that word) on a card showing the course layout (in color) and giving advice on where to hit your shots. A great little perk that all courses should follow.

The greatest compliments that a golfer can give a course are to (a) return many times and (b) recommend it to their friends. On both accounts Grand National passes.

Black 3418/3476 73.6 137
Blue 3247/3283 72.0 134
White 3022/3127 70.2 131
Red 2559/2541 69.6 122

9 $20.00
9 $23.00
9 $16.00

Grand National Golf Club
300 Lady Luck Drive
Hinckley, MN 55037
(320) 384-7427