White Bear Yacht Club
|Red (W)||74||5658 yards||73.3||134|
|Blue M: 72.5/137||405||429||133||552||441||152||457||189||514||3272||332||180||383||514||336||423||483||205||343||3199||6471|
|White M: 71.2/133||401||400||135||565||445||150||465||180||500||3241||340||160||350||480||415||380||495||175||334||3129||6370|
|Gold M: 69.8/131||389||375||122||433||384||131||444||174||471||2923||288||150||352||472||322||383||448||125||321||2861||5784|
|Red W: 73.6/134||384||342||118||433||290||128||441||171||471||2778||282||150||352||472||322||383||448||125||321||2855||5633|
Excellent Old-School Course
The golf course at the White Bear Yacht Club was designed by Donald J. Ross in 1915. Like most courses from this era, there are no gimmicks- just pure golf. The course is set on rolling terrain. Looking down the fairway from most tee boxes all you see is undulations and hardly any flat surface to aim for. You will be lucky to draw a flat lie in the fairway, so it’s a good idea to practice hitting uphill and downhill lies with the ball above and below your feet before you come out to play this course. Also like most courses of this era, the course is not overly long, only 6,471 yards from the back tees. You won’t need driver on every hole. With the exception of one par 3 hole, there are no forced carriers over water to a green. Tree coverage on the course is moderate, the rough is not overly long, and there aren’t many water hazards, so you shouldn’t lose any balls during your round. The major obstacles to scoring are the undulating fairways, well-placed bunkers, and greens that are very speedy with subtle breaks that are hard to read. The course is a joy to play, there won’t be a time when you say “This hole looks just like the one a few holes back.” This was my first time playing the course, and three holes really stand out in my memory. The par 3 third requires that you leave your cart (riding or push), climb up a long stairway to an elevated tee, and hit over a deep gully to the green. Then at the green, you once again leave your cart and climb up another stairway to the green. If you miss the green short or left you’ll have a very difficult blind recovery shot. The par 5 seventh features an elevated green with a false front. If your approach doesn’t carry onto the green you’ll be chipping up this false front. Fail to hit your chip squarely and it will fall short and roll all the way back to your feet. Good luck! The finishing hole is a relatively short (337 yards from the middle tees) par 4. The smallish green is protected by a bunker on the left and a small pond on the right. Even though it was early in the season, as we walked up to the pond we could see that quite a few golfers had already surrendered balls to the golf gods. The WBYC is one of the more exclusive clubs in the Twin Cities metro area, so they don’t even publish guest green fees on their website. Look for a charity golf event held at the course and put a foursome together. You’ll be glad you did.
WBYC plays longer than it is!
Our group played from the White tees at 6,266 yards, 71.2/131. In cold (50 degrees), wet conditions, the course played like it was it 7,000 yards. This course is absolutely beautiful. I am amazed that it was carved out of hardwoods on hilly terrain over 100 years ago by Donald Ross. The layout fully takes advantage of the hills, woods, and marshes. The course is across the road from White Bear Lake. Keep the ball in the short grass for best approaches to tough greens. The greens are deceptively undulating. This was Fall Golf which meant leaves in the rough could hide your ball. The staff was fantastic in the pro shop and in the cafe. The shop is well stocked and you could walk out looking like a well-heeled blue blood. I would love to return to play this course in better weather.
White Bear Yacht Club is one of the true hidden gems in Twin Cities area, along with Woodhill Country Club in Wayzata. Always great to see that someone had the chance to enjoy WB, as I clearly remember just how deeply I fell in love with the course the first time I teed it up there.
The course has the prestige it does for a reason
This course is as hilly and difficult as you hear about when you are told about WBYC. That said, it's in perfect shape and beautiful. If you're playing there, you're likely with someone who's played before and you should take their advice. Blind tee shots abound and you need to be careful where you're placing the ball on the greens.
It's as nice as greens, boxes and fairways get- at least in a state where we can't play for 4 months a year.