When you’re looking to combine a great lake vacation with a great golf vacation, there’s simply no better place to do it than at Gull Lake! The Gull Lake region is home to some of Minnesota’s very best golf courses, and when you’re ready for some time off the links, there are tons of activities for everyone to enjoy. From mini golf to championship courses, there’s golf for the whole family here at Gull Lake!
Why not warm up for your first round with a quick nine? The Social Nine at Madden’s Resort is the perfect place to get ready, whether you’re introducing young players to the game, enjoying a family outing, or just warming up for a bigger challenge to come. This relaxing setting features eight par threes, one par four, and postage stamp targets that will challenge you without being overwhelming for anyone.
Another great nine-hole course is Alec’s Nine at Ruttger’s Resort. This was the first resort golf course in Minnesota, built back in 1921, and it’s still a great spot for junior golfers, seniors who tire easily, or just about anyone who’s looking for a shorter course. Come introduce the family to golf at this beautiful Brainerd Lakes course!
If your little ones are really little, but you want them to begin to love the game of golf, head over to Pirate’s Cove in Brainerd. This theme park style mini golf course offers plenty of silliness and adventure, while also providing a challenge for kids and golfers alike. If they haven’t got the pirates out of their system by the time you’re done, step next door to Billy Bones Raceway and let them race you on go-karts!
Go Big or Go Home
The big golf courses in the Gull Lakes region tend to be located at the lake resorts: Madden’s, Ruttger’s, Grand View Lodge, and Cragun’s being the major ones. Each has their charms, as well as multiple courses to choose from, so go ahead and take your pick!
Although it’s a short drive east from Gull Lake, Ruttger’s Resort deserves a mention for being one of the oldest in the region. Founded in 1898 as a place for weary travelers and fishermen to rest, Ruttger’s grew over time into the lovely resort it is today. Championship golf is part of the Ruttger’s tradition, and you’ll thoroughly enjoy an afternoon spent on the rambling Jack’s 18, one of the most scenic courses in the area.
If you don’t feel like driving as far as Ruttger’s, there are plenty of courses to choose from that are right near Gull Lake. Check out the courses at Grand View Lodge, which feature a variety of playing options. The Pines offers three sets of nines: Lakes, Woods, and Marsh, for an interesting set of challenges to your game. It also offers multiple putting greens and a complete short game practice area. Their other course, the Preserve, is known for scenic elevated tees and tour-speed greens. Relax afterward at their recently remodeled clubhouse and enjoy an incredible view!
Across the lake, on the southern end, you’ll find two more resorts with incredible golf courses. Cragun’s offers three courses to choose from; novices and families will appreciate a game on the Reversible Nine, the direction of which alternates daily, and the design of which is inspired by the classic St. Andrews in Scotland. Next, try out Bobby’s Legacy, rated 4.5 stars by Golf Digest, and featuring many split fairways, multiple tees, and incredible lake vistas. Your other Cragun’s option is Dutch Legacy, with a rare 5-star rating and design by Robert Trent Jones Jr. To top it off, Cragun’s are certified Bronze Audubon Signature Sanctuary courses, and they also boast a beautiful clubhouse which offers a sports bar, restaurant, and pro shop all in one location.
Near Cragun’s, you’ll find Madden’s Resort, another true golf classic in the area. Besides their great warm-up on Social Nine, Madden’s also features a driving range with a covered and heated swinging area for chilly days. Madden’s has a total of four courses; don’t miss a game at the Classic, another 5-star rated course that is a nation-wide must. This popular course pairs challenging game play with towering oaks and natural Minnesota beauty to provide a tranquil and unmatched golf experience. You can also check out Madden’s older courses, Pine Beach East and Pine Beach West, for a complete tour of the Madden’s experience. Finish up with dinner at The Classic Grill at Madden’s, one of the few fine dining restaurants in the Gull Lake area, and definitely one of the best. Enjoy contemporary American cuisine paired with top-notch service as you reflect on your great day of golf, and the beauty of Gull Lake.
Have fun getting ready for your golf trip to Gull Lake!