Jeff Brauer designed the 18-hole Legend course at the Giant’s Ridge Golf & Ski Resort in 1997. He then returned six years later to lay out the longer and tougher Quarry course on land that had previously sited a mine and quarry operation.
Fairways are routed around an amalgam of wetlands, woodland and old mining spoils and this tumbling topography lends itself to a variety of course features such as elevated tee positions, forced carries, blind approaches, trench bunkers and huge waste areas.
Highlight holes include the 189-yard 7th (played across sandy wasteland), the short par four 10th (which provides a better approach option to tee shots played over water) and the 323-yard 13th (where a split fairway leads to a large green fronted by a steep bank).
Many think this is one of Jeff Brauer’s best 18-hole layouts and he’s inclined to agree: “The Quarry at Giants Ridge may eventually be judged as my finest and most unique course. This is a tribute to the site, a mixture of virgin land, iron ore open pit mine and sand quarry, which gives the course its distinct character.”
My MN trip was based around playing all three of the northern MN Brauer courses. This course was built at a family resort and is a core. It is the better of the two if you have time for only one at Giant's, but it is the more likely of the two for you to lose a ball. The aerial map is centered over the Legend so zoom out and move down to see the core routing of this one.
There is a moderate degree of elevation changes and you will find extremely interesting and multi-contoured putting surfaces with occasional lobes such as the front of the 2nd hole. I have to say that it is probably my singular favorite of the 12 Par 5 holes by Brauer in this neck of the woods and that is really saying something. Visually stunning and loaded with strategic approaches, it's almost a shame it comes so early.
This is the most challenging of the three courses and may be why it is ranked on here as the top of the three. The 13th is a prize-winning hole in MN best in state contests, a short Par 4 with loads of width o determine the angles for the day. It is quite notable and oft-photographed,
17 & 18 finish up by the clubhouse apart form the rest of the holes, but otherwise they are routed old-school on a singular wooded property.
Superb challenge, conditions, sense of away and fun await you, but this course is not for novices.
This is a top 100 public course in the United States. There really isn’t much that I can add that hasn’t already been said about this course. But maybe one thing, if you are not familiar with Minnesota and from one of the coasts. Can you play the best public course in your state for under $100 for a round? Welcome to Minnesota golf!
Be prepared to take pictures of your group from the back tees of nearly hole on this course. Elevation changes, backdrops and simple wow moments greet you at this former location of a mining pit.
This is public golf at its zenith in Minnesota. Play the correct tees or, this course can go from a scenic grand adventure, to a bullish unrelenting serpent looking for ways to make 6's across your card. Driving accuracy is a must. Pick the wrong line and you might be surprised what awaits your next shot. Large undulating greens await your approach and get on the right level to secure an opportunity to make par or better.
Waste areas abound to help direct you into the proper landing area or, make your next shot an adventure that is rarely good for your score. Can't wait for my annual visit to one of my favorite locales.