Golfing The Classic at Madden's Resort in Central Minnesota

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The Classic's signature, par 3 seventeenth hole / Dan Thornberg, Courtesy of Madden's Resort
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Golfing The Classic at Madden's Resort in Central Minnesota

By Sherel Purcell

During a recent road trip through the Midwest, my husband John and I serendipitously ran into some fellow golf lovers who recommended The Classic at Madden's Resort in Central Minnesota. The course wasn’t originally on our itinerary, but their hearty recommendation spurred us to drive a few extra hours north and see what the fuss was about.

After driving all day, it felt good to stretch our legs on The Classic’s perfectly groomed, green velvet fairways. The track winds thorough verdant northern forests, over hills and through tall grasses crisscrossed by wooden bridges spanning marshes, ponds, lily-padded wetlands and burbling creeks. We were immediately smitten.

Woman golfing at The Classic at Madden's Resort while caddy holds her clubs

The Classic at Madden's Resort is one of Minnesota's most memorable courses / Kim Pogue

Initially, the 545-yard, par 5 first hole appeared wide open, but we soon discovered otherwise. Its gradual slope had us shooting blindly to a distant hill—a challenging little trick of Midwestern geography that immediately validated the long drive here.

Approaching our second shots, we stared in disbelief at the drastically narrowed fairway that dropped sharply towards a clump of trees, partly obscuring marshy waters on the right. John, forced to shoot over this hazard, caught the left edge of the sizable green, sending the ball speeding right—just missing the hole. 

I came up short with an open shot to the green that landed in a deep fairway bunker. My 65-degree sand wedge barely cleared the lip but was no match for the slippery green. We headed to the next hole humbled, a few strokes over par and hungry for more.

Hole 11 at The Classic at Madden's Resort as seen from above

Hole 11 of The Classic at Madden's Resort as seen from above / Courtesy of Madden's Resort

On the par 4 fifth hole, our joy turned to confusion as we approached the water fronting two greens—a unique feature of this course. I played to the much smaller but closer bailout green, while John went for the larger green 60 yards away. A better choice, as he parred the hole with a pleasing thunk into the cup while a loud splash completed my shot. 

A few enjoyable hours later, we arrived at the signature, par 3 seventeenth hole. To avoid the hole’s four sand bunkers and tight knot of trees guarding their emerald prize, we aimed straight for the pin. As the sun began to set over the course, we walked away happy with our hard-earned bogeys and vowed to take a caddy next time to help navigate the many challenges of this incredible five-star course.

Other Notable Golf Courses in Minnesota

Beautiful, award-winning public golf courses are found throughout the Land of 10,000 Lakes allowing golfers to experience more of Minnesota’s great outdoors.

Giants Ridge, in the Iron Range of Northeast Minnesota, features two championship courses: The Legend and The Quarry. The more challenging Quarry course sits on an abandoned iron ore mine—a nod to the area’s past—and features dramatic lake and forest views from elevated tees.

The North Shore offers everything from laid-back 9-hole courses such as the Silver Bay Municipal Golf Course and the Gunflint Hills Golf Course in Grand Marais to the stunning 27-hole Superior National Golf Club at the base of Lutsen’s Moose Mountain.

The Wilderness at Fortune Bay offers scenic and challenging golf surrounded by woodlands overlooking Lake Vermilion.

In the Twin Cities area, Chaska Town Course sits on a walkable, 285 acres of oak groves and marshlands designed by Arthur Hills.

Abutting the Chippewa National Forest in Northwest Minnesota, Tianna Country Club invites golfers to play her well-maintained fairways and greens amidst the undulating hills of the Leech Lake Area.

Wide open skies and sprawling prairies in the southern region of the state greet golfers at the Dacotah Ridge Golf Club—Minnesota’s only course fully designed by Rees Jones. 

Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a golf and travel writer whose articles appear on North American websites (USA Today,, TripSavvy and others) as well as in magazines, newspapers and travel guides.