The course at Troy Burne Golf Club is a late 1990s golfing collaboration – designed by Dr Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, in conjunction with Tom Lehman – where water comes into play at no fewer than eight of the holes.
Laid out on the east bank of the St Croix River, the course is the sporting centrepiece of a residential development but most of the fairways are routed around the periphery of the property, with houses tucked away behind protecting trees in the centre of the estate.
Bunkers are a dominant feature throughout, with around a hundred and twenty hazards – constructed from native sand underneath the site – in play. All but one of the water holes are located on the back nine, where holes wind through a tree-lined hollow close to the river.
An enjoyable course and certainly an asset for those who live up near Minneapolis/St Paul. The course is somewhat limited in its vibe by residential development, the extent of which is atypical for a top 100 public. I'm caught between 3 and 3.5 balls, so rounding up. That being said, all holes provide good strategy and conditioning. Players of all skill levels will find something they really like about the course. Holes 11-15 are really, really good. Top tier public courses are going away from the lush, parkland style which I think helps this course stand out. Within Wisconsin, TB is not quite to the level of Kohler/Erin hills/SV/Lawsonia Links/SentryWorld, but as good or better than those at that next tier (the Bog/Univ Ridge/the bull/ Lawsonia woodlands etc). There's truly an embarrassment of riches in terms of Wisconsin public golf.
A tale of two very distinctly different nines that show the positives and negatives of artificially creating an environment not natural to the area.
The front nine is very plain and uninspiring. Bulldozed mounding to convert farmland to give the impressions of prairie dunes the holes show a sameness and lack any distinguishing memories that you will remember once you leave the parking lot.
The back nine utilizes the river bluff hills and forest areas that generate holes that look beautiful and blend perfectly into the landscape.
Overall conditions are very good and the greens are always top notch.
Troy Burne is in my mind one of the top three publics in the MSP area. The front nine is a bit easier with the short par 4 4th and par 4 7th being the highlights for me. The back plays over more rolling land and has significantly more water in play. Definitely more difficult for the average golfer. The par 3 11th with bunkers on the left and a stream on the right with a rolling green was the best of the nine for me.
Overall it seemed a bit over bunkered but the course overall uses the land well. It is walkable but elevation changes make it tough. There are houses on the course but the design makes it so they are barely noticed. Definitely worth a stop if you are in the MSP area.