The Classic at Madden's Resort
The opening hole is a great par 5. It is very wide off the tee and slightly uphill then it drops down to a well-guarded green. I don’t think going for it in 2 is a very good option. The green is perched out near all kinds of junk and water. The front side has a great collection of short and long par 4s, great par 5s and some tricky yet beautiful par 3s. A couple of holes really stood out on the front side. Hole 3 is a beautiful short par 4 that has water all down the right side; from the back tees it is much longer and tougher. There is kind of a long tree near the corner that you need to navigate on the approach to another peninsula green. The 5th hole is most interesting. It is a medium length par 4 that doglegs to the left. As you drive straight away the fairway funnels the balls down to the left. The approach shot is the most interesting I think I’ve ever played. There are 2 greens. A teeny-tiny green short and left over some wetlands, while a large green is longer but straight over the wetlands. I decided for the review to play to both greens and see what happened. I made par on the little green and bogey on the big green. I’m not sure I would play to the small green every time, but it was fun to do both. The 7th hole might be one of the most beautiful par 3s around. It just has a north woods beauty to go along with a brute of a design. It is almost an island green with almost no bail out and from the back tee playing into the wind it is long too. A solid shot to the center of the green is the ideal play. No need to mess with the edges.
If you are going to pick one course in the Brainerd area to play, pick the Classic it is just as it’s name says a classic that deserves the highest rankings.
For more information: www.maddens.com
+North Woods Scenery
They only have white or red tees. They also allow a little more freedom on apparel and cart use. (They had a 10-some out having a good time). While it isn’t going to blow you away, there are some fun holes. The final 4 holes of the front nine are really solid holes. The 6th hole is a par 6. Yep that’s right straight and long at 620 yards. You would think it should be easy to get birdie maybe even eagle, but there are some dangers with little fescue mounds and some water up by the green. The 7th hole is a short par 5 that can be reached in 2. There isn’t a lot of danger so it is worth giving it a try. The 8th hole is a picturesque par 3 that drops down to the green. The par 4 9th hole is actually a really good hole. You tee off from an elevated tee that looks like you are hitting down a chute. The green then is back up a little toward the lodge and is fairly small.
The back nine has a bunch of solid holes too. The 11th is a short par 4 that is drivable with just the right bend on this slight dogleg right. The 15th hole is a great par 5. It is reachable in 2 as you tee off into a valley like fairway with banking on each side and the hitting slightly uphill to the green. The 16th hole is also a great looking par 4. It is short and almost reachable off the tee. It plays over a deep grass valley to a nicely guarded green.
What I liked best about this course was the simple straightforward layout and the speed at which one could play. I played 18 holes in 1.5 hours. I could have been done sooner if I didn’t have to navigate around the 10-some have a fun time. The conditions were quite nice. It was no Classic, but the greens were smooth, not too fast, but nice. The fairways were well maintained and just added this year (I was told) some fescue clumps and mounds. They really make the course look nice.
So it might not be a must play in the Brainerd area, but it is a fun quick round that all ages and skill levels can enjoy. Since they don’t take it too serious out there, you can relax and just have fun.