The 15 best golf courses in Minnesota (2022/2023)

white bear yacht club

White Bear Yacht Club in White Bear Lake, Minn.

Patrick Koenig

As part of GOLF’s course rating process for 2022-23, our fleet of 100-plus expert panelists identified the best golf courses in Minnesota. Browse the links below to check out all of our course rankings, or scroll down to see the best courses in Minnesota.

GOLF’s other course rankings: Top 100 Courses in the World | Top 100 Courses in the U.S. | Top 100 Courses You Can Play | Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S. | America’s Best Municipal Courses | The 100 Best Short Courses in the World

The best golf courses in Minnesota (2022/2023)

1 = Top 100 Course in the U.S.
P = Public/Resort Course
V = Top 100 Value Course in the U.S.
M = Top 30 Municipal Course in the U.S.

Ed. note: Some courses were omitted from our rankings because they did not receive enough votes.

1. White Bear Yacht Club (White Bear Lake) [1]

William Watson deserves the credit for laying out the holes that are the backbone of today’s course, though the club historian notes that Donald Ross “gave freely of his advice in its development.” The two Scots were surely bewitched by the opportunity to work on this roly-poly landscape. The view from the 1st tee of the 18-foot-deep greenside bunker tells you this is going to be different, though nothing really prepares you for such a one-off hole as the elegant 12h with its long fallaway green. It’s great to see a 6,500-yard course put on a pedestal.

2. Interlachen (Edina)

Interlachen in Edina, Minn. Getty Images

3. Northland (Duluth)

Situated high above Lake Superior, this is one of the more stunning and surprising courses on this list to play. Putts that experienced golfers read as breaking X feet actually break twice that much, such is the invisible pull of the lake. Donald Ross renovated the course in 1927 and in his vast portfolio of courses, this remains one of his most distinctive efforts.

4. Hazeltine National (Chaska)

5. Midland Hills (Roseville)

6. Somerset (Mendota Heights)

7. Minikahda Club (Minneapolis)

The 3rd hole at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.
The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis. Courtesy Photo

8. Spring Hill (Wayzata)

9. Rochester (Rochester)

10. Minneapolis GC (St. Louis Park)

11. Windsong Farm (Independence)

12. Giant’s Ridge — Quarry (Biwabik) [P]

The 13th hole at the quarry at giants ridge.
The Quarry course at Giant’s Ridge. GOLF

13. Town & Country (St. Paul)

14. Olympic Hills (Eden Prairie)

15. The Classic at Madden’s (Brainerd) [P]

How we rank our courses

For GOLF’s course rankings lists, each panelist is provided a list of hundreds of courses and “buckets,” or groupings. If they believe the course to be among the best in its category (World, U.S. Value, etc.), they check the corresponding box to place it in a specific bucket. Panelists are also free to write in courses they felt should have been included on the ballot. Points were assigned to each bucket; to arrive at an average score for each course, we divide its aggregate score by the number of votes. From those point tallies, the courses are then ranked accordingly.

The key to the process is the experience and expertise of our panel. Hailing from 15 nations and all the worldwide golf meccas, each of our 117 handpicked panelists has a keen eye for architecture, both regionally and globally. Many of our panelists have played more than 1,000 courses in 20-plus countries.

Because we don’t prescribe a set method to assess courses as other ranks do, no one opinion carries the day — our rank is a democracy. Some panelists believe that enjoyment is the ultimate goal, and thus prioritize design attributes such as width and playing angles, while frowning on upon having to constantly hunt for balls in thick rough. Other panelists value challenge and the demands of hitting every club in the bag. Still others consider a course’s surroundings and overall environment of paramount importance, thereby emphasizing the setting and naturalness of the course. In the end, allowing raters to freely express their tastes is what produces the desired eclecticism in our Top 100 lists.

Panelist integrity is vital. Voters with any ties or associations to eligible courses must flag such conflicts. Panelists also know not to let the quality of their play influence their ballot — same for a luxe experience or clubhouse. While opulence may make for a more a memorable outing, it’s not what GOLF’s course lists are about. Our focus is on design and architecture. We study the course, not the trappings around it.

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