Lake Views & Playability Draw Golfers to Grand Rapids

By Erica Wacker

With more than 500 courses scattered throughout the state, Minnesota offers golfers no shortage of options. Roughly halfway between the golf Eagle Ridgeheavyweights of Brainerd and Biwabik, the Grand Rapids area boasts a trio of scenic and affordable championship courses: Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Coleraine, Sugarbrooke Golf Club in Cohasset and Pokegama Golf Course in the city limits. While each offers a different experience, playability and lake views define all three.

Sitting 100 feet above Trout Lake, Eagle Ridge is a great option for golfers of all skill levels. The par-72, Garrett Gill-designed course features four tee boxes at each hole, with woods, deep rough and water hazards adding some additional challenges.

“The first time I played Eagle Ridge, I marveled at the expansiveness of the course and the playability of the design,” says Greg Wires, publisher of Golf Minnesota magazine. Perfect your game on the practice green and driving range before your round, and after, relax at the clubhouse restaurant and bar overlooking the lake.

Sugarbrooke, carved out of 300 acres of maple and oak trees, is the area’s only resort course. The name comes from the signature finishing hole, with a tree-lined fairway, lake view, and a brook meandering through the green.

Visitors can stop by for nine or 18 holes or settle in for the night at Sugar Lake Lodge. Stay-and-play packages are available and include two nights of lodging, daily breakfast and unlimited play on the par-71 course designed by the renowned Joel Goldstrand.

Grand Rapids’ Pokegama, also a par-71, has been around since 1926 and is “one of the more scenic municipal courses in the state,” says Wires. The gently rolling terrain and tight fairways make it very walkable, and the mowed woods mean you’ll never lose your ball. “With mature trees and lake views, you can tell that the course has been around for a long time and has that fully developed feel.” Pokegama Grill offers casual dining.

Kent MacAlpine, Coleraine native and founding member of the local Grand Slam Senior League, plays all three courses every week throughout the summer and can’t pick a favorite. “For a person on a vacation looking for some respectable golf, these are excellent courses,” he says.

Four 9-hole courses are also nearby: Blueberry Hills in Deer River, Golf on the Edge in Big Fork, Swan Lake Golf Club in Pengilly and Quadna Hills Golf Course in Hill City. And for those with kids in tow, Thunder Alley XL Family Event Center just east of downtown Grand Rapids offers mini-golf with a north woods theme.

Explore more Minnesota courses in our golf section.