From the cost of clubs, to green fees to golf balls, golf is an expensive hobby.
For recreational golfers it can sometimes be overwhelming to pay $100 or more just to frustrate oneself and in the process lose a sleeve of new golf balls.
With that in mind, two organizations have come up with a way to make the game more accessible. The Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce and the American Cancer Society are offering discount cards.
The chamber's "Woods & Irons" discount golf card is now available. For $30 the card offers free golf, or 50 percent off green fees, at some area courses.
Each time you use the card, you will receive a Grand Casino Mille Lacs coupon for $5 in quarters, or a free visit to the casino buffet.
Cards may be purchased at either the Brainerd or Crosslake chamber offices. There are alternative sites, including The Dispatch, where the card may be purchased. For more information call 1-800-450-2838, ext. 0, or visit golfbrainerdlakes.com.
Some courses participating include Birch Bay, Breezy Point's Traditional and Whitebirch courses, The Legacy Courses at Cragun's, Crosswoods, Cuyuna Country Club, Eagles Landing, Fiddlestix, Golden Eagle, Grand View Lodge's Garden course, Irish Hills at Piney Ridge, Izatys Golf and Yacht Club's Sanctuary course, Little Falls Country Club, Madden's East and West courses and the social nine course, Mille Lacs Golf Resort, Pine Meadows, Pine Ridge, Pine River Country Club, the Lakes course and executive nine at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, The Vintage at Staples and Whitefish Golf Club.
"The 'Woods and Irons' is a golf discount card that allows area residents to play more than 20 area golf courses at a substantial discount," said Lisa Paxton, chief executive of the Brainerd chamber. "The proceeds go to golf marketing, so it's a real turnkey program. The profits are spent to promote the array of golf opportunities in the lakes area."
The American Cancer Society is calling its promotion the 2002 Midwest Golf Pass. Cost for the pass is $35 and includes more than 400 courses throughout Iowa, Minnesota, eastern South Dakota and western Wisconsin.
The pass includes offers like buy one green fee get the second free at the Legacy Courses or reduced prices at Pine Meadows.
Other area courses that are involved are Crosswoods, Cuyuna, Ruttger's, Emily Greens, Eagles Landing, Fiddlestix, The Pines at Grand View, Izatys, the Preserve at Grand View, Whitefish, Pierz Municipal, Irish Hills in Pine River, Wadena Golf Club and Tianna Country Club in Walker.
Proceeds help the cancer society's efforts in cancer research and education.
The Golf Pass may be ordered by calling 1-800-ACS-2345 or by visiting www.cancer.org.
The opportunity to use the card is fast approaching as some courses are already open and others are preparing for their opening day.
Crosswoods in Crosslake, Eagles Landing near Fort Ripley, Pine Ridge in Motley, Little Falls Country Club, Pine River Country Club and the Vintage in Staples are open.
Cuyuna Country Club will open its driving range today and plans to open its course April 22.
Ruttger's will open its courses Wednesday.
Pine Meadows opens Thursday as does Breezy Point's White Birch course.
Whitefish Golf Club in Pequot Lakes and the Legacy Courses at Cragun's will open Friday. Mille Lacs Lake Golf Resort and the Izatys Sanctuary Course will open Saturday. Black Brook will open April 26 at Izatys. Golden Eagle in Fifty Lakes is tentatively opening between April 21-27. Birch Bay will open April 25.
Grand View Lodge's Pines and Preserve courses will open April 25. Madden's Pine Beach East course is open, but the Classic and West courses won't open until April 26.
Opening dates are weather permitting. Some courses are contemplating opening earlier if the weather permits.
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