The origins of the Town & Country Club of Saint Paul can be traced back to 1893 when a Scot named George McCree laid out a 5-hole course for the members.
The original rudimentary layout didn't last long and was replaced in 1898 by a 9-hole course designed by an amateur Chicagoan golfer named E. J. Frost, about whom we know nothing. In a similar timeframe, the club also obtained the services of the professional from Saint Andrews Golf Club in Yonkers, Robert Foulis.
We're not sure who subsequently extended the course to eighteen holes. Some suggest Foulis was the architect, which is possible but so far uncorroborated.
It goes without saying that the Town & Country Club is significantly historical, as it’s thought to be the third oldest golf course in the country (after Dorset Field Club and Shinnecock Hills) where golf has been continually played along original fairways.
Where is it written that golf courses are supposed to have ten par 4s and an equal number of par 3s and par 5s? Certainly not at Town & Country, which features only 8 par 4s and an equal number (yes, 5 of each) of par 3s and par 5s. But wait, the unusual configuration doesn’t stop there. There are two consecutive par 3s on the front nine and (gasp) three consecutive par 5s on the back. This might seem monotonous, but the holes are sufficiently different to prevent the golfer from thinking (s)he is playing the golf version of the movie Groundhog Day. There’s also plenty of variety within the types of pars. From the blue tees, the par 4s run from 283 yards to 468 yards. And the 3s vary from 110 to 230. The course was in fine shape in September of 2019, despite the rainiest year in Minneapolis history.
The greens are a bit dull and there are only a few holes where strategic choices need to be made. But if you’d like to play a course that breaks the mold, do try Town & Country.