FORT RIPLEY -- While the resort courses receive national recognition, Eagles Landing is relishing in statewide praise.
Area appreciation is more important for the nine-hole golf course. Large fairways, enormous greens and a mix of woods and open space have made Eagles Landing the talk of the Brainerd lakes area.
Those features and an inexpensive price range have people flocking to the Jim Dahl design.
"The last three days (Memorial Day weekend) I didn't have one open tee time from 6:30 in the morning to 6:30 at night," said Dahl, who is also the course owner.
"I think people like it because it's very easy to play. It's very wide, but it's fun because the greens are so much fun to putt because of all the different levels. People really haven't seen a golf course like this."
Owned and operated by the Dahl family, Eagles Landing will open its second nine during the July 4 weekend.
Lack of snow cover this winter caused three greens to die, but the replanted grass should be ready in five weeks.
Construction of the new nine began last spring. It will feature three par 3s, three par 4s and three par 5s.
Like the first nine, the second nine also features mounds framing the wide fairway. The new track does differ as it brings oak trees and water into play.
The 125-yard, par 3, 17th hole has a carry over a small pond. It should be one of the highlights of the round.
Jim Dahl (right), owner and designer of Eagles Landing Golf Club in Fort Ripley, talked with his son Josh and course superintendent Phil Poepping. Eagles Landing is one of many courses in the area that are family owned and operated.
"There are links-type holes out here on the back as well," said Dahl. "I did have open areas. Then you get into the oak trees. I have three ponds on the back.
"The MGA was just out and ranked (the back nine) six strokes harder than the front. I think that's because of the water and it's a little bit tighter. The greens aren't as big, but they're still bigger than normal."
The back nine measures one yard longer than the front. The majority of that comes in the final hole.
The 18th hole measures 665 yards from the blue tees. Dahl said it might be one of the longer par 5s in the state.
"I'm sure they'll be talking about 18," said Dahl. "I have a lot of tees so we can move the (measurements) around. It looks narrow in the landing area, but the corner is about 100 yards wide."
By comparison, the par 6, sixth hole at Madden's Pine Beach East Course measures 618 yards. The longest hole at Deacon's Lodge is 543 yards.
Dahl, whose designs include Oak Hill in Rice, Pine Ridge in Motley and the Little Falls Country Club, said he enjoyed this design because of the challenge.
"I kind of like building the courses on some open land because you can do so much more," said Dahl. "I hate taking trees down.
"I would like to get a piece of land that's 75 percent open with all sand. That would really be fun. That would be more of a challenge.
"It takes a lot more imagination with open land than with trees."
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