March 30th. River 9 & Canyon 9 now open for golfing
Hole #4 of the Canyon Course, Superior National Golf Course
at the foot of Moose Mountain
Superior National Golf Course Review
Located downhill from Lutsen Ski Area, near Lutsen, Minnesota, Superior National is a 27 hole championship course ranking among the top golfing experiences around Lake Superior. It is a well-run and maintained facility that rivels Apostle Islands in Bayfield for scenic views. Not quite the exceptional "experience" course of Marquette's Greywalls Golf Course , it is easily the most attractive and enjoyable course along Minnesota's North Shore. Scenic, challenging and offers regular specials that save a few dollars over their premium rates. You'll also have an good opportunity to lose a few golf balls.
Dan and I played the course in late September 2011, during the fall color season, and we were able to score a nice discount package on 27 holes: $50 for cart, greens fee, and 27 holes of golf. The three nines of the course are rotated daily: River, Canyon, and Mountain courses. The three 18 hole combinations carry a slope rating from 138 to 144 from the Blue Tees and from 128 to 131 from the Gold Tees. Depending on the tees and the course combination, the 18 hole length can vary from 5319 yards to 6746 yards. Dan and I started out on the River course and finished up on the Mountain. While the River is the shortest of the three, with the more modest slope rating, we found it equally challenging. The Canyon course is the most scenic with more dramatic elevation changes.
While an enjoyable set of courses, there were a few negatives. The sand bunkers appear to be ground-up basalt rock or perhaps shale. It makes a very hard surface and there are actually small stones among the grains. You basically need to chip out of the bunkers rather than use your normal sand shot. Plus watch out for those stones so you don't put a chip in your favorite wedge. I also would like to have seen 100 yard markers in the fairways; the markers seemed to stop at 150. The directional signs at cart path intersections could be more prominent. There are places where paths to different holes (some even on different courses) intersect and you end up going the wrong direction if you missed a sign. We had to reverse our course on a few occasions and found one fellow about to tee off on Canyon #7 which he thought was #5.
On the plus side, the graphics on the monuments by the tees provided a good description of the layout of each hole. Ditto for the score card itself which also included yardage distance to distinctive landmarks on each hole. The cart paths were paved and in good condition. We found the greens ran true and the challenging holes weren't gimmicky - strike the ball right and you've got a chance for par.
The Pro Shop has the basics, including some apparel, but is not as well equiped as Nemadji in Superior or the Marquette Golf Club's shop. There is a modest grill plus a canteen area with snacks and beverages. And a comfortable lounge area with a TV. The carts are in good condition with on board ball washing and club cleaning stations, but they are gas vs electric. The driving range is level, well marked, and convenient to the club house. The putting green is next to club house; there is no chipping green however.
This was my first opportunity to play Superior National. My frequent playinig partner, Dan, has played it before. He's a big fan of Giant's Ridge in Biwabik, Minnesota and clearly favored it over Superior National. But after playing Superior National again he now places it more comparable to Giants Ridge. The standard summer rate for cart & green fee is $73 midweek and $84 weekends which places it higher than most of the courses around Lake Superior but certainly less than many city courses that aren't as attractive as Superior National. There are discounts for spring and fall play, plus twilight rates, and senior/junior rates. They also run other specials for those who sign up on their email list. So if you are on a budget but would like to play a very scenic and challenging course you should be able to hook up with one of their special rates. Because it is a top course and the numerous special rate offerings I'd rate Superior National as a very good value.
Golf Course Review Rating Card
Superior National Golf Club, Lutsen, MN
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Lake Superior Golf Course Reviews
Profiles of Minnesota Lake Superior Courses
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|Carlton, Minnesota - Black Bear Resort Golf Course|
|Two Harbors, Minnesota - Lakeview National Golf Course|
|Silver Bay, Minnesota - Silver Bay Golf Course|
|Lutsen, Minnesota - Superior National Golf Course|
|Directory of All Minnesota North Shore Golf Courses|