The golf (and accommodations) at Grand View Lodge is about to get better

Grand View Lodge, in Brainerd, Minnesota, refreshes its course and adds new strategic elements with a comprehensive hideaway project.

Josh Berhau

Welcome to the “Where I Played” series, in which a GOLF employee goes through one of the last days on a course she might play in the future. On this occasion we play at The Pines, in Brainerd, Minn.

On a recent trip to Grand View Lodge, my dad’s favorite spot in our rental was on the sun-soaked porch, and he put his hand to his chin as he watched golfers putt, putt and putt again on the third green below us.

We’ve taken family trips to Grand View before, but on this occasion we stayed in the resort’s new North Pines neighborhood, where some homes are open and others are still under construction. It’s off the main building, but these places are larger and great for families or large groups, and they have it all – lots of bedrooms, bathrooms, huge TVs, porch, deck, and fire pit. That is until he had a pool table.

But let’s go back to the beginning. The best feature of our place was its location, which was perched on a hill overlooking the third green of the Nine Forest. Bird watching? Boring. Do you watch golfers at the resort navigating a challenging par 3 descent with lapping water? Yes please.

Grand View Lodge is located about a two-hour drive north of the Twin Cities in Brainerd, Minnesota. Every local knows this, and Grand View is just one of the area’s resorts that offer great lodging and golf accommodations. For example, pines have three nines: forest, swamp and lake. There is also another 18-hole course in Grand View, The Preserve, located about five miles down the road. Both courses are among the best overall choices in the state, and you know what? They just get better

The backyard of this rental overlooks the third green of the nine forest.

Josh Berhau

Along with the latest accommodations digs, Grand View is in the middle of a four-phase project, the goal of which is to renovate all of the resort’s 100-plus bunkers. (The preservation phase has not yet been approved, but it could be in the near future.) Work on The Pines is already underway. Every cache on the property (67 of them) will be dealt with – either relocated, remodeled, or removed entirely. They will also fix the drainage (including some greens draining into the bunkers to create washes) and add new sand (BestSand from Ohio State) in each bunker.

Adam Haugen, Grand View’s director of golf, said the cellar project had been talked about for several years and was halted as recently as two years ago due to Covid. Now everything is going well and the first stage has already been completed.

The fifth hole is a par-3 par-3 par nine marsh.

Josh Berhau

Work on the Lakes District began nine years earlier than expected this fall and is almost finished, save for a few finishing touches, but will be ready to open in the spring. He moved from 18 caches to 15. Woods’ part of the project also began in the fall and will be completed in the spring. Marsh will be more of a project, as they are also building new cart tracks, repairing tees and some greens. This will begin in the fall of 2023 and finish in the spring of 2024. There will always be 18 holes open at The Pines for the duration of the project, and all 27 holes are expected to open mid-May or June 1 next year (until The Marsh closes later from the fall to his work).

“We didn’t want to make the course easier by any means,” said Haugen, “but we wanted to make it strategic to suit the players’ eyes and also be good for the intermediate and higher experts coming over for the weekend.”

Haugen said the goal of the project is not just to refresh some of the sand, but to improve the shot-per-hole values. Well done, a cache project like this is a great change. Relocated caches to new areas add additional strategic elements and reward good shots.

The 7th hole is a Par-3 at Nine Lakes, which has long been one of the resort’s signature holes.

Josh Berhau

Haugen used the Nine Lakes as a good example of what they wanted to achieve.

“Standing on the first tee box with what we’ve already done, the footprint is no different but the picture is completely different,” said Haugen. “They will be able to say that this is new, that we did something. The bigger goal was to make it clearly visible that we worked and that was exceptionally fun, and to make our maintenance team more maintainable and operational.”

mission accomplished? This snow can’t melt fast enough.

Josh Berhau

Golf.com editor
Josh Berhau is Managing Editor of GOLF.com. This Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.

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