Tom Fazio's first design in the state of Minnesota, the course at Spring Hill Golf Club is a tough track that lies to the west of Minneapolis on a rolling site dotted with wetland areas and small ponds.
Seven of the tree-lined fairways are located to the north of the County Road and they connect to the opening holes (1-6) and closing holes (14-18) by a tunnel that runs under the road.Stand out holes include the 231-yard sand and marsh protected 8th, the 590-yard 13th, which plays to a marsh-fronted green, and the 411-yard 18th, where one final wetlands carry is required before reaching the home green.
The conditions at Spring Hill will most certainly be a thing of the past (I can’t imagine the resources needed to maintain this course), but it’s hard not to fall in love with them. There isn’t a blade of grass out of place. The greens are some of the best I’ve ever four-putted on.
But as long as a course isn’t completely derelict, the design is what should be judged. And Spring Hill’s design is exceptional. It’s a departure from Fazio’s other designs, except for maybe Gozzer Ranch. It doesn’t feel manufactured - it feels patently unFazio. The collection of par 5s, specifically the 16th, is the best in Minnesota.
Spring Hill is right there with WBYC as the best in the state.
Spring Hill is an excellent course just north of Lake Minnetonka. It is a very exclusive course, so you should take any opportunity to play it.
After playing the course a couple of times, what struck me the most is the variety of holes the course features--something that I don't think is typical of a Fazio course. Most of the course is on the southside of the road, and this land has huge elevation changes. You wouldn't believe how uphill the par 5 16th hole is. The third shot (or second shot if you hit it far) is like hitting up to a green on top of a five story building. But don't worry, the course is walkable, and there is an emphasis on walking and taking a caddy. Also most of the holes work very well despite the hilly land. Then after Hole 6 you cross over the road and play in a more lowland marshy area. Although it is in a wetland, there is not an over-reliance of water as a hazard. Back in this part of the course, the highlight is certainly the gorgeous 13th hole, which is a par 5 that snakes in between bunkers and a marsh. The fact that the course plays over two distinct pieces of property brings a lot of variety to the course.
The course is certainly difficult, but doesn't rely on power to score well. Hitting less than driver is the play on a couple of the par 4s. Typical of a Fazio course, it is very beautiful. The course feels more natural than some of the other Fazio courses that I have played (Edgewood Tahoe, PGA National and a couple of others in Florida).
The only criticisms of the course is that Hole 1 and Hole 18 are mirror images of one another and play around the driving range. Both holes are pinched in dog legs and its easy to lose a ball with even a little wayward drive. The site for the 18th green is very pretty as it sits atop a hill overlooking Long Lake, but both holes are probably my least favorite on the course. I also do not love many of the usual Fazio's design ideas such as his focus on having each hole being closed off and private from one another, and the pushed up sides of each fairway seem unnecessary (and outdated), There are maybe one too many elevated greens too. Small criticism for a excellent course though.
All in all, I highly recommend this course.
Spring Hill was a real surprise for me. I was expecting another cookie cutter Tom Fazio course recently rated by Golf Digest. I was delighted with what I experienced.
There are elevation changes here that would test the best golfers in the world. With hardly 200 members, this course doesn’t get a lot of play and was in immaculate condition. There are at least 10 tee shots with significant forced carries over marsh/high-grass/ravines which will ruin many scorecards.
As with most golf courses these days, there’s hundreds of trees that could/should be cut down. Despite the grand scale of the property, it is tight in places and a great test of golf. The course has a championship feel to it and tests your ability to hit tee shots to distinct parts of the fairways and there’s no shortage of challenge with the approach shots.
I give a tremendous amount of credit to the shapers creating stunning greens and aprons. There are wonderful angles off the tees and into the greens here and it’s among Tom Fazio’s top 10 courses he’s ever built.