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COVID-19 delays course openings

Usually Mother Nature is unkind to golf courses in Southern Minnesota during the first few months of the year, holding back the course openings because of cold, rain and snowy conditions.

However, a new challenge arose in 2020 and in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic and courses around Minnesota didn’t open until April 18. While it was a challenge financially for many of the course, most of the courses saw plenty of golfers once they opened and a majority of the courses were in excellent shape.

Here is a brief writeup of some of the area golf courses:

New Ulm Country Club

NEW ULM — The Country Club opened to good support right away and the course was in great condition, according to assistant golf professional Caleb Christensen.

The 18-hole, par-71 course is home to some scenic views on the Back Nine and it also hosts many tournaments that draws golfers from all over the state.

With the pandemic going on, many of the tournaments are scheduled but could be canceled if tournaments are not allowed to be played.

The New Ulm Invitational is scheduled for June 13-14 and it draws some of the best golfers around. The MLC Invitational will be held on Monday, June 8 and the American Cancer Society event will be held on June 15.

The B&L Mixer (July 26) and the B&L Classic (July 27) are also big events and the New Ulm Medical Foundation Tournament is August 10. The Cathedral Classic will be held on August 3, the MVL Classic on July 13 and the New Ulm Eagles Boosters tournament will be held June 22. The Club Championship for men is July 29 and the ladies is July 30.

Heading toward fall, the 3M tournament is August 15 and the Schell’s Bottle Opener (August 30) and Schell’s Bottle Cap Open (August 31) close out the month of August.

The River Bend Business Products Pro-Am will be held on September 14.

Membership rates include a family rate of $149.26 a month and a single membership for $111.98 a month. An associate membership (ages 25-29) is $61.37 per month and a young adult member (ages 19-24) is $350 annually. Junior members (age 18-under) can golf for $180 annually.

Cart lease is $690.48 for a family and $504.48 for a single. A range pass is $145.92 for a family and $123.24 for a couple, $99.84 for a single and $50 for a junior. For additional membership charges regarding cart storage, go to golfnewulm.com/membership/rates.

The course has new sand in the bunkers from last fall and everything else remains the same. Christensen said the course looks as good.

“It’s in some of the best shape that we’ve had it in early May in a long time,” Christensen said. “It’s green, the greens are rolling great, it’s perfect.”

Despite the late start and new guidelines, everything is going smooth.

“Golf has been pretty steady,” Christensen said. “People have adhering to the guidelines pretty well which is good, so we’re able to continue golfing and everyone has been respectful and happy to enjoy the golf course.”

For those wanting to take advantage of the Cottonwood Grill, it’s still open but you have to call 507-354-8896 for takeout. The Cottonwood Grill features Executive Chef Josh Kuck, who is a veteran chef of many restaurants in southern Minnesota.

Sleepy Eye Golf Club

SLEEPY EYE — Just off of Highway 14 west of Sleepy Eye, the Sleepy Eye Golf Club is enjoying a great spring with a course that is in great shape.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous, it was a great winter for standards, everything is in really great shape,” said course manager Jason Severson.

Under the management of Severson, the nine-hole course has adjusted to the new social distancing guidelines quite well. The course also offers a driving range and a restaurant with a patio, which is still closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, curbside options are available and will be ready for golfers if they call after they complete Hole No. 8. For those not on the course that want to order takeout, you can call between 11-2 and 5-8 and those hours will probably extend once the summer season comes. The menu features everything from pasta to burgers.

For weekday rates , it will cost $14 for nine holes and $21 for 18 holes. Weekend rates jump to $16 for nine holes and $23 for 18 holes.

Cart costs are $8 for 9 holes and $16 for 18 holes. There are also special guest fees if you go with a member and those are available at sleepyeyegolfclub.com/rates. Students (nine holes for $5) and all-day golf with a cart rates ($30) are also available. One person is allowed per cart unless they live in the same household and there is no touching of the flag sticks or the ball-washers.

The big tournaments this year include the Sleepy Eye Invitational on June 20 and the Riverview Sanitation Tournament on September 19. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, it’s not certain that tournaments will be allowed this year on any Minnesota golf courses. The Sleepy Eye Medical Center, Chamber of Commerce and BIC tournaments were rescheduled for later in the year. The dates have not been announced yet, so go to the website for details.

For tee times or rate information, call (507) 794-5249.

Springfield Golf Course

SPRINGFIELD — For the first time in a while, there were no water or snow problems affecting Springfield Golf Course. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic became an entirely new challenge for the area golf course managers.

Springfield emerged and this year the course is going under some renovation.

“We’re just trying our best right now to follow all the guidelines and all the things that they’ve been putting out and keeping up with the changes,” Jen Schultz said. “It’s been nice to golf in April this year, compared to the last couple of years with flooding and snow issues because we can’t control Mother Nature. Something exciting going this year is we’re having a course renovation taking affect July 1 at the golf course.”

Schultz said that the course will re-arranged so that there aren’t as many holes affected by flooding of the Cottonwood River. Tee boxes and greens will be moved around to make sure flooding affects less holes.

Rates are $15 for nine holes this year and $20 for 18 holes. First year membership is also available for $199 and a scorecard is posted on the Springfield Golf Course’s Facebook page. Schultz said to follow the Facebook page for their changing menu.

Winthrop Golf Club

WINTHROP — Nestled along Highway 15 just a few miles south of Winthrop, the Winthrop Golf Club offers an inexpensive golf alternative with some challenges that divide the course up along the way.

The nine-hole, Par-36 course offers 2,912 yards in what is considered a friendly course towards golfers of all ages and skill levels. The course rating is 34.1 with a slope rating of 114.

The Winthrop Golf Club opens at 8 a.m. every day and rates are $11 plus tax for

nine holes. For those who want a cart, add an additional $7 plus tax. For those who want to golf 18 holes, the cost is $18 plus tax and $12 plus tax for a cart.

There is also a weekly special called Wacky Wednesday’s and that features half-price green fees. This does not include a cart rental.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be only one rider per cart, unless members of the same household. Carts are available on a first-come, first-serve basis (no reservations). The Winthrop Golf Club will also be practicing social distancing.

Tee times are required so please call Winthrop Golf Club at 507-647-5828 or go to the website www.winthropgolfing.com to reserve your spot. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Dacotah Ridge Golf Club

REDWOOD FALLS — The Dacotah Ridge Golf Club’s rugged 18-hole prairieland course in Morton brings in top golfers from all over and it’s sure to do the same in 2020.

The award-winning course is built on 240 acres and is 4 miles east of Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel.

Summer Green fees are $69 for 18 holes with a cart and $38 for nine holes with a cart and $49 with a cart for twilight/junior rates. You can replay 18 holes for $40 and nine holes for $25.

Spring/Fall rates drop to $58 for 18 holes and a cart, $32 for nine holes and a cart, $43 for twilight and junior rates and that includes a cart. You can replay 18 holes for $32 and nine holes for $22 in the spring and fall.

For additional rates and information, visit www.dacotahridge.com/green-fees. Reserve your tee time online today at dacotahridge.com.

Madelia Golf Course

MADELIA — The Madelia Golf Course is a 9-hole, par 36 course, located along the Watonwan River and Watona City Park. The course is located just north of the Watonwan County Road 9 exit off of State Highway 60.

Green fees are $13 for the first round Monday-Thursday and each additional round is $9. On Friday through Sunday, the rates jump to $15 for nine holes and $9 each additional round. A junior golf round is $10 and a punch card with 20 punches is $230. A family membership is $600, a new family membership is $500, a single membership is $450 ($375 if you’re new) and $400 for a senior (65 and older) golfer. A junior golfer’s (ages 19-24) membership costs $250 and a student’s membership (18-under) costs $125.

The course also rents clubs and pull carts. Cart rental is $12 for the first round and $10 each additional round. You can also lease a cart for $300.

The golf course’s upgraded irrigation system, installed a few years ago, keeps the course in the lush condition golfers in the region have come to expect. Clubs and pull carts are available for rent and motorized carts for rent or lease.

To schedule a tee time, call 507-642-3608.

North Links Golf Course

NORTH MANKATO — Located two miles west of North Mankato off Highway 14 west, North Links has become one of Southern Minnesota’s most popular courses over the years.

Green fees are $32 for 18 holes, $18.50 for nine holes, $26 for early twilight (starting at 2 p.m.) and $18.50 for twilight (starting at 3 p.m.).

The course also has weekday specials that include $25 for senior 18 holes, $15 for senior nine holes, $15 for junior 18 holes, and $10 for junior nine holes.

All of these rates can be booked online at www.northlinksgolf.com or by calling 507-947-3355, or you can email info@northlinksgolf.com.

Farmers Golf and Health Club

SANBORN — The Farmers Golf and Health Club has a variety of membership options.

It costs $640 for a family membership, $570 for a couple’s membership, $390 for a single adult membership and $135 for a student membership.

Memberships also include new couple ($345), new member ($240), new family ($445) and out of area ($320).

For tee times, call 507-648-3629.

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