The title “The Wilds Golf Club” is a nod to the refreshing wilderness of Midwestern Minnesota, however it is not too long into the round before things get a little wild in an entirely different sense. Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish have never been shy about taking their designs in more heroic directions, and the heart will begin racing at the second tee.
The 517-yard par five will be reachable for some brave (and skilled) souls, but Mystic Lake, which lines the hole for the entire length of its left side, will make most of us think otherwise. No. 3 is a par three with a similar approach, and No. 4 is where Weiskopf and Morrish insert a drivable par four (the duo guarantees at least one such hole at each layout they design). Players can go over a marsh, straight at the green from the tee, but the bailout area right will be just as tempting (especially if you’ve already lost a few balls on the past few waterlogged holes).
Players will face fewer do-or-die holes on the back nine, at least until they reach No. 18, where Weiskopf and Morrish will require two more white-knuckle shots.
Early Weiskopf design that needed some more acreage to make a better layout within a housing development. Blind driving holes with poorly defined landing areas that can cause an uproar when your group picks the safer route and finds a fairway that ends much too quickly.
Conditions are hit and miss with frequent issues with the greens throughout the year. Better choices to play in the area that provide a more enjoyable experience.
One of the better public offerings in the Twin Cities area, The Wilds is a 25-year-old Tom Weiskopf design that is typically well-conditioned and full on the tee sheet. It’s a course that, in the handful of times I’ve played, is sought after for those in the south metro. A few years ago, in the middle of July, two buddies and I had to call for a tee time 48 hours before we hit the links. This is a testimony to The Wilds’ popularity.
Some of the greens are heavily contoured and unmistakably meant to be high-risk, high-reward. This sentiment begins as early as the second hole, a reachable par five with funky ridges on the putting surface. The 16th is a short par four with a semi-blind tee shot and a few tiers on the putting surface to boot. A few holes utilize tremendous elevation changes, most notably the uphill par four ninth hole, one of my favorites in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
If you live in the Twin Cities area, paying to play The Wilds once is a no-brainer because of its conditioning and solid layout. The price may be too lofty, however, to feel good about a return to the course.
Often times overpriced but that does not take away from a prime Minnesota Summer Golf Experience.
The Wilds is a Tom Weiskopf design. The first hole is a dogleg right with a water hazard way right. A fairly welcoming hole, do not get too cute and try to cut much of the corner. A decent straight drive will give you a wedge or a short iron to the green. Be wary of the greenside bunker right. The 2nd is a dogleg left par 5. Two outstanding shots could get you home, but I do not think the risk justifies it. There is a large fairway bunker on the left corner and a BAB in front of the green. Play it a s 3 shotter and pick your favorite approach yardage. The 3rd appears to be a modest par 3 and it is if you hit the green. If not, you have 3 bunkers right, one short and gunch left. The 4th is a good birdie oppty. Favor the left side of the fairway off the tee, this will give you the best angle and take most of the bunkers out of play. The 5this the number one handicap hole, what you see is pretty much what you get. Favor the left side off the tee to avoid the two fairway bunkers right. The green is surrounded by six bunkers and is slightly uphill. I would suggest an extra club. The par 4 6th has one of the more bizarre split fairways I have ever encountered. Not sure why anyone would choose to go left. The angle to the green is a little bit better, but the landing area is much smaller, you have to go over some trees and there are 4 bunkers to the right. The par 3 7th does not look that tough on the card. However, an uphill par 3 over a ravine that is all carry. At least1 extra club. The 8th is a well designed par 5. Uphill and then downhill, a fairway bunker on the right that does not really come into play and another one of the left, about 120 yards out. The green is protected by a bunker right and a water hazard left. The front finishes with a hole that plays much longer. The 9th is uphill. Definitely take at least an extra club on your approach as there are two bunkers front and three left.
The back starts off with a relatively benign par 4 and then a really tough par 3. Long, downhill to a redan green with bunkers paralleling the green on the front right and back left. The par 5 12th is a dogleg right. It may appear on the tee box that it may go left, but trust me, it goes right. Two really good shots can get you home, for the rest of us, hit it straight off the tee and favor the left side to avoid the gaggle of bunkers right. The 13th is a mid-length par three that is uphill, so much sure you take an extra club. The 14th is a long downhill par 4. The 15th and 16th are short par fours and good birdie opptys. The 15th has water left and right greenside. The 16th is a cool golf hole. Most Weiskopf designs have a driveable par 4. At 330 from the tips I know it wasn’t for me. The hole is flat, but from the tee box looking out to green all you see are swamp reeds and cat tails. There is a fairway BAB left, just take dead aim at the pin. The 17th is an uphill dogleg left par 5 with a fairway bunker on the inside elbow. Two decent shot should set up a short iron to the kidney shaped green with a bunker in front. The 18th is a super finishing hole. Fairway bunker left and a water hazard going up the right side. Another redan green with bunkers left and right.
A fun golf course that I would pay to play again.