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Tips From the Pros: Affordable Spring Golf Trips

March 12, 2015

Affordable Vacations to Start the Golf Season

The weather in Minnesota is finally starting to cooperate for an early opening statewide, but for many Spring Golffolks, spring is still the time for golf trips. Opening the season with warm sun and green grass of California, Arizona and Hawaii are the golf vacations many dream about, but there are other places for a spring golf trip. And some are only a short drive away. So, where do Minnesota Section PGA Professionals go for an affordable spring golf vacation?

Place Your Bets In Las Vegas

Edina Country Club Director of Golf and Head Professional Marty Lass is a big fan of Las Vegas, where he usually plays 3-4 rounds per trip. With reasonable airfares from the Twin Cities on Sun Country and Delta, a quick trip to Las Vegas usually doesn’t cause too much pain to the pocketbook.

Lass says the Las Vegas Paiute Resort is one of his favorites, with three excellent Pete Dye golf courses that are always in great condition (they aren’t subject to many of the water restrictions of other Vegas courses). “I consider their service the best,” he says. “If you play multiple days you can keep your clubs stored out there between rounds, and the Food & Beverage services are always great, whether it’s the beverage cart services or inside the clubhouse. With the layouts, it’s a nice variety of holes and shotmaking, and I think the price for what you pay is the best in Vegas.”

Another favorite is the Rees Jones jewel, Cascata. “Although the price is significantly higher than most, it’s a wonderful golf experience,” says Lass. “When you arrive in the clubhouse, hitting balls on the range, and playing a unique, fun course with a very good forecaddie, it’s a great time.”

He also likes four courses with nice layouts that are not far from the Las Vegas Strip:

“They are all priced between the Paiute Resort and Cascata,” Lass says, “and they are always in good condition.”

Finally, if price is no object, Steve Wynn’s dream golf project, Shadow Creek, is a special treat. With green fees at $500, and the forecaddie fee extra, it is expensive. “However, included is being picked up and dropped off by limo, and the golf course truly is a treat to play,” exclaims Lass. “It is tremendous.” He also jokes that you can help justify the cost by being away from the casino for 6-7 hours.

Short Drives

Chaska Town Course Director of Instruction Eric Chiles heads south on I-35 for spring golf with high school golf teams. A favorite stop is The Harvester Golf Course in Rhodes, Iowa, located 20 minutes from Des Moines. “FANTASTIC golf course with villas for rent right on the golf course,” reports Chiles. “We also used to drive down to Kansas City and play Ironhorse Golf Course, which is also fantastic and reasonably priced.” Ironhorse is the only Troon Golf facility in the Kansas City area, and is rated four stars by Golf Digest.

2012 Resort Facility Promoter of the Year Tom Beaudry of The Wilderness at Fortune Bay is also a fan of the Kansas City area. He notes that most of the courses in the area remain open year-round, even if that makes for a chilly round in January or February.

One particular course in Kansas shares a few traits with The Wilderness: Firekeeper Golf Course in Mayetta, Kansas (15 minutes north of Topeka) is also a Jeffrey Brauer casino course that is ranked the number one public course in the state by Golf Week. Firekeeper is also the first signature course of four-time PGA TOUR winner Notah Begay III, the only full-blooded Native American on the tour, who worked on the design with Brauer.

March in Minnesota won’t always include 70 degree days, so it’s nice to have some additional options before the 2015 season kicks off for good.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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