With a wealth of distinctive public golf courses in the Twin Cities, you don’t need a country club membership to treat your VIP guests to a great afternoon on the links. For optimum executive-style ease and efficiency, remember to book tee times, cart, and rental clubs well in advance, as these courses are in high demand.
Rush Creek Golf Club
In true Twin Cities’ philanthropic tradition, Rush Creek was developed by W. Duncan MacMillan, a scion of the Cargill family. An avid golfer, MacMillan told the Star Tribune in 2004 that he wanted to “make something available for golfers in Minnesota that wouldn’t happen otherwise.” Designed by John Fought and Bob Cupp, this Scottish-inspired 18-hole par-72 course was the site of the 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and several LPGA events. In 2011, the club was voted Course of the Year by the Midwest Golf Course Owners Association. Outdoor dining, as well as meeting and banquet facilities, are available. Guest fees for 18 holes: $109. Maple Grove, 763-494-8844, rushcreek.com
Braemar Golf Course
In 1869, Andrew Craik, a Scotsman, named the Edina Mill after his hometown of Edinburgh; the name of the town followed. More than three-quarters of a century later, Braemar Golf Course was carved out of the green, rolling prairie. Today, Braemar’s convenient location (just off Highway 169 between Interstate 494 and Highway 62), scenic course, superb conditions, reasonable fees, and personalized service have made it one of Golf Digest’s top 75 public courses. With 27 regulation holes and two executive courses, Braemar is challenging for novice golfers and playable for experts. After a day on the links, invite your guests to join you for a round of gin and tonics followed by a celebratory steak dinner at nearby Jimmy’s Food & Cocktails, just off Shady Oak Road and Highway 62. Guest fees for nine holes: $20; for 18 holes: $39. Edina, 952-903-5750, braemargolf.com
Chaska Town Course
Located less than three miles from the high-profile, exclusive Hazeltine National Golf Club, this top-notch 18-hole public course offers an equally memorable experience for the purist golfer. Named one of the top 100 municipal golf courses by Golfweek magazine, the challenging, Arthur Hills–designed course meanders over 285 scenic acres of prairie, marshland, and woods. After putting your clubs away, relax with an Arnie Palmer on the patio of Charlie’s Grille and enjoy the sweeping views. Guest fees for 18 holes: $60 weekday, $66 weekend. Chaska, 952-443-3748, chaskatowncourse.com