FORT RIPLEY -- If you don't notice the new golf carts at Eagles Landing Golf Club don't worry.
If you happened not to see the remodeled clubhouse stocked with merchandise from clothes to equipment that's understandable too because most of your attention should be on one of the newest additions to the Brainerd lakes area golf scene.
The nine-hole layout has three distinct personalities, ranging from a Scottish links look to a true up-north atmosphere. The par 36, 3,435-yard design is the work of architect and owner Jim Dahl.
Dahl, whose work ranges from the Little Falls Country Club to Pine Ridge in Motley and Oak Hill in Rice, might be most happy with his newest creation. Although there are similarities, Eagles Landing has its own identity.
"On this front nine what I tried to do is build the holes to the terrain," said Dahl. "I found the open areas, like No. 8 that was all open, so I put the hole in that area. I went around the trees, trying not to cut a lot of them down except for No. 3. The rest of the holes I went around the trees."
For the most part Eagles Landing is not a difficult course. In fact it has a casual, after-work, blue-collar feeling. It's a relaxing environment that even hackers will enjoy. But, Dahl doesn't discriminate against the better golfers.
"I have really wide landing areas so it's kind of golfer friendly," said Dahl. "The greens are very large so most everybody can hit the greens.
"Then, I used a lot of mounding. I framed every fairway and mounded around the edges so when you stand on the tee you know where you're supposed to hit the ball. It's really defined. It's nice, especially when you get out on the open holes like No. 4, 5 and 6. It gives those holes a lot of character. It's kind of like a links course."
Holes four through six are wide open. There are no trees on No. 5, giving it that British Open feel. Tall grass just outside the mounding offer danger while the biggest opponent for golfers will be the wind. Nos. 4 and 5 are par 4s while the par 5 sixth is a beautiful transition from the links style back into the woods.
With an open tee shot to start out, the 552-yard hole demands a decision for your second shot. With the green guarded on three sides by thick trees, going for the green could be a gamble.
Another luxury that Dahl has included is a great practice facility. With three practice greens and a wonderful driving range, Dahl spared no expense when it comes to practicing.
Located on Country Road 49 and Highway 371, Eagles Landing is just south of Fort Ripley. A cedar sign will soon be constructed to help people locate the course.
Some of the other improvements include 25 one-acre lots that will go on sale as soon as the course is in better shape. Right now the grounds crew is working on some of the landscaping and cart paths while anticipating the beginning of construction on the back nine. That task will begin Aug. 1.
"What I'm going to do on the back is have three par 3s, three par 4s and three par 5s," said Dahl. "There's going to be three links type holes, but there's going to be ponds on that side. Then I have a few more trees, no pines but a few more oak trees. We'll probably have six holes in the oaks and three in the open area.
"It will be pretty close (to the front nine), but it will be different than the front. There is a lot of good land on the back."
After the back is complete, Dahl will then work on the clubhouse. He wants to put a sports bar on the top floor while the first floor will remain the check-in spot with merchandise for golfers to purchase. There will be a deck to watch over the ninth and 18th greens. Dahl projects everything will be completed in five years.
With all the work being done. one would think the cost to play would be high, but because Dahl and his grounds crew did most of the work, the greens fees are one among the least expensive in the area. For nine holes the cost is $12 and for 18 holes it's $18. On weekends, the cost is a dollar more. Carts are $6 apiece for nine holes, $10 for 18.
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