Golfing for Everyone
By Bailey Hovland
Cutting through the early morning silence, lawn mowers roam up and down the hills of the Eagle Creek Country Club out by Willmar Lake. The cool morning dew clings to the uncut blades of grass, bending them ever so slightly as the sun creeps over the golf course. Dawn breaks on this cool August morning, and Eagle Creek Golf Course comes alive in the early sunlight. Stepping onto the freshly cut grass, you set down your bag and reach for your driver. You look down the fairway, golf ball in hand, searching for the best shot. The air is calm with no breeze to influence your game. You place the ball on a tee, and standing up, you tense your shoulders and straighten your arms. A moment goes by and you take a deep breath, ready to begin. You line up your driver, pull back, and swing.
During the Minnesota summer months (and a few spring and fall months as well), golf courses across the Willmar Lakes Area come alive. Each of the grounds are maintained meticulously each morning in anticipation of the golfers who will be driving and putting their way across the greens. And they come in droves, especially on gorgeous days where the wind is absent and puffy clouds drift overhead, allowing a little coverage from the heat of the sun. Young and old, men and women, amateur or expert, it doesn’t matter. All you need is a love of the game and, of course, a fully outfitted golf bag and some golf balls.
At the Eagle Creek Golf Course in Willmar, golf aficionados can enjoy all the perks that come with golfing in the summertime. With rentable golf carts, a spacious 18 holes, a stocked beverage cart, and even a restaurant attached to the golf course, Eagle Creek has everything you could want for a day of golfing. They also host a number of events each month, including Date Night on the Links, the Eagle Creek Parent/Child Scramble, and the Eagle Creek Junior Club Championship, which means plenty of activities for everyone in the family to enjoy. Looking ahead, Eagle Creek will be hosting the second annual Willmar Warhawks Hockey Tournament on Friday, September 7, to support the new junior hockey team. You can register individually or with a team by emailing email@example.com.
Just across town Valley Golf Course also offers plenty of fun for golfers. Opened in 1976, Valley is known for its bargain prices and its 2,479 yard stretch of golfing fun. With a course rating of 33.9 and a slope rating of 105, Valley Golf Course is a perfect course for golfers in the mid-range. However, golfers are warned to not be fooled by the somewhat short layout. Ball placement is imperative off the
tees, where good shots are rewarded and poor ones find OB on all 9 holes. A wandering creek joins the game on 5 holes and sand traps play a role on 3 holes. The clubhouse is equipped with a snack bar, outfitted with plenty of tables to socialize before or after your round. And there are different leagues you can join if you so choose, including: a men’s senior league on Tuesday mornings, a men’s league on Tuesday evenings, a senior women’s league on Thursday mornings, and a women’s league on Wednesday evenings.
Between Spicer and New London, the Little Crow Country Club has just recently reopened after a season of construction, unveiling an all new clubhouse, event center, hotel, and restaurant. This scenic golf course offers 3 distinct nines with 27 holes total, allowing tournaments to be flexible and customized based on the competitors. The Willows 9 encompasses 3,077 yards at a par 36. With dog-legs and water hazards, the Willows 9 tests shot shaping. The Pines 9 is also a par 36 course with 3,151 yards, showcasing Little Crow’s longest par 5 and shortest par 4 on the course. The Oaks 9 is, yet again, a par 36 course ranging 3,260 yards. With trees lining the fairways and a few more forgiving features, the Oaks 9 will utilize your longer clubs. Some upcoming events at Little Crow include the 2018 MCPR Annual Golf Outing on August 23, the Kingery Classic on September 8, and the Crow’s Revenge on October 13.
The Hawk Creek Country Club in Raymond has 9 holes of fun plus a full-size driving range and putting green. With a convenient location, affordable costs, and a friendly golf experience, Hawk Creek offers a memorable golfing outing on the southwestern side of the Willmar Lakes Area. Island Pine Golf Club is located on the southwest edge of Atwater. Consisting of a full 18-hole course, scenic natural wetlands, and a grill area with a lounge and an outside deck, Island Pine is a prime location for an afternoon of driving, putting, and possibly even fishing for a few lost balls in the course’s water features.
Back on the golf course, you look into the distance, watching your golf ball sail through the air and make a bouncy landing on the green. You slide your driver back into your bag and hoist it up onto your shoulder, beginning the long trek to your next shot. It’s a beautiful day to play golf in the Willmar Lakes Area, and you’re just happy you can enjoy one of these last summer days out on the greens.
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