Formed in 1905, Minnehaha’s course was designed by William Langford and Theodore Moreau in 1922. Not much changed with the layout over many years until the local authorities in Sioux Falls embarked on a major flood prevention civil engineering project in 2010, requiring four acres of land on the golf course to be used for a diversion channel along the adjacent river.
Graham Marsh Golf Design was brought in to oversee work required on three holes directly affected by the earthworks but, in order to maintain a uniform look to the layout, changes were made to more than half the holes. The 4th was taken out of play and a new 8th installed, ten bunkers were added and another twenty-four modified, with sixteen new tee boxes also introduced.
A new competition, the Sanford International on the PGA Tour Champions circuit, was held at the club in September 2018, with Steve Stricker winning the inaugural event. It’s the first of five professional tournaments on the senior tour the club that has signed up to host until 2022.
Minnehaha CC is ultimately the type of golf course I love to play. Built-in the early 1900s, it embodies classic country club design with modern twists added from recent renovations in anticipation of hosting a Champions Tour event. Elevation change is the name of the game, with the best holes on the course utilizing dramatic slopes and contours from tee to green. Minnehaha is not a long course but forced lay-ups off the place mid-long irons in most players' hands-on many holes. The first six holes are good, not great. However, holes 7-12 are some of the best in the state. The finishing 18th going uphill towards the clubhouse with a three-tiered green is a dramatic finish with chances for birdie, or bogey depending on where you leave your approach. From the practice facilities to the little details around tees and greens, Minnehaha is undoubtedly one of the best-maintained courses I have been able to play.