BREEZY POINT, Minn. - Deacon's Lodge - one of the state's best golf courses - has only gotten better since being purchased by nearby Breezy Point Resort in 2012.
The spectacular Arnold Palmer design, named after Palmer's father, is kept in as good a shape as any public/resort course in Minnesota. In peak season, the greens will be some of the fastest golfers will see for the summer. A nice log-cabin clubhouse accompanies the 6,943-yard course.
Deacon's Lodge, my second favorite Palmer design in the world, is one of the mainstays of Brainerd, a vacation land of lakes and golf three hours north of the Twin Cities that ranks among the Midwest's best golf destinations. The routing skirts the Shaffer, Lynch and Douglas lakes for an endless loop of wetland challenges.
Don't be afraid to tee it forward, otherwise you'll face one daunting carry after another. The slope from the blues is a harrowing 142. For example, even from the white tees on No. 7, the no. 1 handicap, it's a full 200-yard blast to fly over a wetland to reach the fairway. Those who can't hit it that far must meekly layup to the left, leaving a long approach to the green.
Golfers with a handicap of 10 or higher will probably lose a few balls, but that doesn't dampen the fun. If you need more golf, the resort offers the Traditional Golf Course and Whitebirch Golf Course as well.