Minnesota -- the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" -- is home to almost 9,000 golf holes, courtesy of the roughly 500 courses in the state. It has always boasted more golf courses per capita than any other state in the U.S.
With the 2016 Ryder Cup Matches coming Sept. 30-Oct. 2 to Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, a suburb of Minneapolis, all eyes of the golf world will be on a state that too often gets overlooked as a top-class golf destination.
The best resorts and public courses are found north of the Twin Cities in Brainerd Lakes and the Iron Range. Brainerd's best resorts -- Madden's at Gull Lake, and Cragun's Resort and Hotel on Gull Lake, both in Brainerd; the Grand View Lodge Golf Resort & Spa in Nisswa; and Breezy Point Resort in Pequot Lakes -- all offer multiple courses and plenty of family fun on water or land. Deacon's Lodge at Breezy Point, an Arnold Palmer design, and The Classic at Madden's regularly rank among the top 100 public courses in the country.
Heading farther north toward the Canadian border near the beautiful Boundary Waters are the 36-hole Giants Ridge Resort in tiny Biwabik and the Wilderness at Fortune Bay, a casino-owned course in Tower, Minn., that overlooks Lake Vermillion.
A nice mix of strong municipal courses -- mainly the Chaska Town Course in Chaska and Edinburgh USA Golf Course in Brooklyn Park -- and higher-end daily fees ring the Twin Cites of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Edingburgh USA and Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove hosted the state's only LPGA Tour event for nearly a decade in the 1990s and remain popular choices today.
Willingers Golf Club in Northfield, StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater and Mississippi Dunes Golf Links in Cottage Dunes anchor the east side. Legends Golf Club, The Meadows at Mystic Lake and The Wilds Golf Club -- along with the state's largest casino, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel -- have turned Prior Lake into a great weekend getaway on the south side.
Not to be forgotten, Dacotah Ridge Golf Club in Morton (110 miles southwest of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport) and The Jewel Golf Club in Lake City (70 miles southeast of the airport) are off the beaten path. Golf Advisor users ranked The Jewel 14th among the top 50 courses in the country that cost less than $50.