50 Words or Less
The Legend at Giants Ridge is an absolute beauty of a golf course. While not overly tricky or lengthy, it has some of the most magnificent-looking holes in Minnesota.
The area around The Legend at Giants Ridge is a fascinating and diverse terrain. Hills, forested areas, waste areas, and iconic lakes and ponds are all featured. While it makes for really interesting and visually varied holes, it also makes for a great ski resort during the off-season. On top of that, during the golf season it doubles as the largest lift-served mountain bike park in the Midwest. Another fascinating aspect is the massive amount of giant stones situated all around the course from the nearby iron mine that had been operated since the late 1970s.
The Legend at Giants Ridge has what you need to get warmed up before your round. It features both a practice putting green as well as a driving range. The driving range is long enough to account for long ball hitters, and the green is massive, offering the opportunity to try very long putts, although it doesn’t offer too much undulation. Unlike The Quarry, The Legend’s range seems to see dramatically more use.
Customer Service & Amenities
There is a crucial decision to be made before your round starts at The Legend at Giants Ridge, and that’s whether you want to ride a cart or a Finn Scooter (review HERE). The cart is the classic option, and the GPS in the cart was extremely helpful with the overhead views of the hole and very accurate yardage. The Finn Scooter, though, presents a bit of unique fun for the player. Besides that decision, you’ll also find yourself deciding what to get at the pro shop which has a bunch of gear on offer.
After your round ends, there’s even more to do, namely eating at a pair of restaurants just a few steps away from the 18th. Burnt Onion Kitchen and Brews is the place if you’re craving a great ribeye, but their meatloaf or French onion soup can’t be missed. Or, if you’re feeling like a meat smörgåsbord, the birthplace of “Minnesota BBQ,” Neighbors BBQ was a delicious and unexpected surprise.
Beauty & Scenery
The most notable thing about this course is how beautiful it is, and beautiful in different ways. The water, trees, flowers, and even the rocks on this course make you want to pull out a camera and snap pictures. Flowers grown on the property abound and can often be found around tee boxes.
Wildlife also heighten the natural beauty. Deer are an extremely common sight, and they’re friendly. During my pair of rounds, I saw five or six, and two got within ten yards of me. Beyond the deer, there’s a mini-menagerie of rarely-seen animals you can encounter that includes a family of foxes, black bears, and even moose.
Compared to Quarry, the Legend at Giants Ridge has dramatically easier tee shots. There are hardly any elevation changes, fairways are wide, and what you see is what you get. There aren’t many forced carries and there are certainly no blind shots, which is not the case at The Quarry. It’s also easier in terms of sheer length, maxing out at under 7,000 yards.
While the tee shots tend to be easy, the approaches ramp up the difficulty dramatically. Many of the biggest challenges of this course are just beside the greens. While most of the holes are designed to be forgiving and scorable, holes 11, 17, and 18 all feature forced carries over water. Tall trees, bunkers, and tall grass round out the other hazards this course features to some degree, depending on the hole.
Greens & Surrounds
The greens here are straightforward. They are medium-speed and often feature subtle, minimal breaks. While not massive by any means, the par 5 greens do tend to be bigger than others, meaning they are that much more scorable and forgiving for the various skill levels of golfers that play here. Like the driving range, it seems this course gets a good amount of play, and it’s reflected in the greens having noticeably more pitch marks than The Quarry. While there I tended to under-read the greens, at The Legend at Giants Ridge, I tended to over-read them.
The blueprint of this course is tried and true – it’s a classic resort course. That means that it isn’t overly long nor is it overly difficult. Greens are medium in terms of speed, fairways in general are wide, and the rough is manageable. The course is not trying to trick you as the design is straightforward and there are not many blind shots to speak of. While a handful of holes are truly challenging, this is a course meant to provide a pleasant round of golf to most.
#17 – Par 3 – 226 yards
You know you’re in for a treat if you have to walk up a set of stairs surrounded by flowers to get to your tee box. This hole is jaw-droppingly beautiful, but don’t get lulled into a false sense of security; it is extremely difficult. It is a long par 3 that is surrounded by water, with a steep incline with rocks at the base of the hazard. While the scorecard reads 226 yards, it can play even longer. As a result, every tee level of this hole will demand something between a long iron or wood. What makes it more difficult is that even from an elevated tee box, the green is elevated, so the hole demands an extremely high tee shot that stops quickly.
#3 – Par 5 – 501 yards
Featuring one of the more interesting bunker complexes I have ever seen, the 3rd hole is a scorable par 5 that can jumpstart your round here at The Legend at Giants Ridge. The bunker in question is actually a series of 4 large bunkers in the shape of a giant footprint and is the logo for the course itself. Avoid that bunker by bombing a drive beyond it up the left if you can, otherwise aim right and remember that it’s a three-shot hole.
#11 – Par 3 – 157 yards
While it may not be as photographed as the 17th, the 11th hole is gorgeous in its own right. It features another peninsula green surrounded by water and reeds. Once you make it to the green, remember to turn around and take a minute to listen to the sound of the fountain behind you. This is a short, extremely scorable, fun, and calming hole. Take advantage of this opportunity and snap a few photos.
The Legend at Giants Ridge is a feast for the eyes. While the whole property is beautiful, there are a few standout holes that elevate the entire property. Just like TPC Sawgrass is inseparable from its 17th hole’s island green, The Legend is inseparable from its 17th hole in the same way. Sometimes a round is worth playing just for one hole.