What better way to spend a fall weekend than at a beautiful resort in northern Minnesota playing golf and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city? You simply cannot go wrong with any one of several golf and resort options that being up north has to offer. Minnesota features some of the best resort courses in the country, and there’s no better time to enjoy them than when the leaves are changing in the fall. Here is our unofficial list of the top golf courses and resorts in northern Minnesota.

The Pines At Grand View Lodge

23521 Nokomis Avenue
Nisswa, MN 56468
(218) 963-2234


Play one of the best courses in the Brainerd Lakes area located directly on a resort. You can walk from your room to the first tee at The Pines, a 27-hole layout that tests golfers of all ability levels. Grand View Lodge also offers a comfortable log cabin atmosphere that fits up to eight people in one cabin. Grand View Lodge offers “Play and Stay” packages that usually range from $250-$350 depending on the length of your stay and how much golf you want to get in.

The Preserve

5506 Preserve Boulevard
Pequot Lakes, MN 56472
(218) 568-4944


Take about a 10 minute drive north of Grand View Lodge up Highway 371 to Pequot Lakes and you’ll end up at The Preserve, another one of the best courses in the Brainerd Lakes and surrounding area. The Preserve combines a challenging 18-hole layout with raised tee boxes that provided a scenic look on virtually every hole.

Deacon’s Lodge

9348 Arnold Palmer Drive
Breezy Point, MN 56472
(218) 562-6262


Deacon’s Lodge, located just north of Brainerd and affiliated with Grand View Lodge, combines one of the most picturesque golf layouts in Minnesota with one of the toughest challenges in golf. Arnold Palmer designed the course and named it after his father, “Deacon.” The course was constructed with bentgrass fairways, tees and greens and weaved over 500 acres of forest, wetland and lakes. The course is as beautiful as it is hard.

Cragun’s Legacy Courses

11000 Cragun’s Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401
(218) 825-2800


Cragun’s resort in Brainerd features two high-quality 18-hole courses in the Dutch Legacy and Bobby’s Legacy. Both courses were designed by Robert Trent Jones, and the Dutch Legacy was one of 24 courses nationwide to be given a 5-star rating by Golf Digest in 2009. Bobby’s Legacy was given a 4 ½ star rating.

(credit: golfthewilderness.com)

The Wilderness At Fortune Bay

1450 Bois Forte Road
Tower, MN 55790
(218) 753-8917


If you’re willing to make a drive to far northern Minnesota, The Wilderness at Fortune Bay can give you everything you’re looking for in a resort golf course. It’s located on the Fortune Bay Resort and Casino right by Lake Vermillion, so after a great round of golf, grab a bite to eat and try your luck at the slot machines or blackjack tables. The Wilderness is a top layout that measures to more than 7,200 yards from the back tees and is a great course for the long hitter. It’s also been named a top resort course by Golf Magazine and GolfWeek.

Giant’s Ridge

P.O. Box 390
Biwabik, MN 55708
(800) 688-7669


Giant’s Ridge is one of the premiere golf resorts in far northern Minnesota. Located in Biwabik, Giant’s Ridge features The Quarry and The Legend, two of the top public courses in the state. Golf Digest ranked the Quarry No. 16 in its 2011 list of the top 100 public courses in America. Golf Magazine ranked it the No. 1 public course in Minnesota last year. The Quarry is more than 7,000 yards from the back tees and features several elevation changes and deep bunkers. You can’t go wrong with either course when it comes to resort golf.

The Classic At Madden’s

11266 Pine Beach Peninsula
Brainerd, MN 56401
(218) 829-2811


The Classic is the gem of the group of courses that’s associated with Madden’s Resort in Brainerd. It’s one of the toughest tests in resort golf and it twists and turns around Gull Lake, making for several scenic shots over the course of 18 holes. The Classic opened in 1997 and has been one of the best golf courses in the area since. There are several elevation changes, and every hole is a challenge from the tee box to the green as pine trees line every fairy, most on both sides.

Breezy Point Resort

9252 Breezy Point Road
Breezy Point, MN 56472
(218) 562-7166


Breezy Point Resort features two 18-hole layouts, Whitebirch and Traditional, that can present golfers of all abilities with a variety of challenges. The Whitebirch course was the first course designed and built in the Brainerd Lakes area. It features a 6,700-yard layout with lush fairways and large, undulating greens. The Traditional Course, which has been played by big golf names including Patti Berg, Les Bolstad and Walter Hagen, is more of a shot-makers course that rewards accuracy over power and can be enjoyed by a variety of golfers.

Izaty’s Resort

40005 85th Avenue
Onamia, MN 56359
(320) 532-4574


Izaty’s Resort in Onamia features an 18-hole championship course, Black Brook, that opened in 1999 and a nine-hole course called the Sanctuary. Izaty’s matches a challenging course design with the view of Lake Mille Lacs on several holes. It’s a scenic layout cut through trees and is a great course to play as the leaves are changing color in the fall. Play golf and stay for the weekend at the Links Lodge Hotel, Beach Villas or Lakeside Townhomes.

Superior National At Lutsen

P.O. Box 177
Lutsen, MN 55612
(888) 564-6543


If you want to play golf and have a scenic lake view on virtually every shot you take, Superior National at Lutsen is the place for you. Superior National is located about two hours north of Duluth right next to Lake Superior and features a 27-hole layout. The course features big elevation changes, including a near 100-foot drop on its signature hole. Superior National opened in 1991 and takes every advantage of a fantastic lake view nearby. All play-and-stay packages with nearby hotels require booking your tee time at least 48 hours in advance.

— Jeff Wald is a Web Producer at WCCO-TV who is an avid golfer and regularly plays resort courses in northern Minnesota.