JENKINS -- Bikes and scooters are mixed in with pull carts and golf clubs. An honor box is available for those who can't make the specified opening times. A golden retriever accompanies the help and a caboose marks the beginning of the trek.
Those objects immediately let customers know this isn't a typical golf course. But then that's not what Todd and Jill Beyer wanted when they opened Wildwedge Family Golf Park last August.
There is family golf and then there is the golf complex north of Pequot Lakes in Jenkins next to Highway 371. While family is the priority, value and variety aren't skimped.
Wildwedge incorporates a lush nine-hole, par-3 course, driving range, lessons, leagues and miniature course on 60 acres of hardwood forests. After three years of design, construction and landscaping, the family park is hosting its grand opening Sunday.
The main concept of Wildwedge is family comes first, fun second, and any worries should be left at the entrance.
"We felt like there was all these big fancy courses around where you could pay $100 to play," said Jill Beyer. "But there wasn't a whole lot of places you could bring two young boys that was reasonable.
"We wanted to make one that was like being on a nice fancy course, but it was enjoyable and scenic, yet was short enough the whole family can go out and play. I think we've done that by making it through the woods and adding the ponds and making it like a real nice course."
The par 3 course features an array of different golf hole designs. Distances range from 75 to 170 yards. Todd Beyer, course architect and superintendent, created the course with two things in mind. First, he wanted to make it enjoyable enough for new players. Second, he had to make it risky enough for the accomplished golfers.
Where: North of Pequot Lakes on Highway 371 in Jenkins next to the AmericInn Lodge and Suites.
Available: A par-3, nine-hole course, miniature golf, driving range, lessons, leagues and pro shop.
Grand opening: Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m.
First he incorporated multiple tee boxes on most of the holes with a few exceptions on the shorter ones. He also provided fail safe routes for those holes that do incorporate water hazards or sand traps.
By using artificial tee boxes, he was also able to keep it challenging for the better golfers.
"With the artificial tee boxes, I was able to keep them nice and tight. Standing on the tee box the fairway looks kind of narrow, but it really is quite forgiving when you get up by the green.
"I really wanted to stress that golf isn't about how far you can hit it, but how straight and accurate you can hit it."
The use of four ponds, six sand traps and trees provide for both an aesthetically pleasing, as well as formidable course.
Wildwedge added U.S. Golf Teachers Federation instructor Jamie Arvig to the complex. He's conducting individual hour lessons and group lessons. He will host junior camps throughout the summer.
"We wanted to get somebody who can teach lessons," said Jill Beyer. "He's not a PGA pro yet, but for our clientele we don't really need that. We did some lessons through community education and those were all full. We have another group of kids coming in for lessons."
The driving range is open and complete with the future addition of a practice green and practice hole.
Currently the biggest draw is the miniature golf course, which two families were needed to design.
"We decided we were going to add the miniature golf course in the middle of the winter," said Jill Beyer. "Some people had told us that there are 70 miniature golf courses in Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head, South Carolina so we decided to take a little spring break.
"Between all of us we played about 4,000 holes of miniature golf. We took pictures of 100 holes that we liked and some that just didn't work. Then we laid them all out and we each got to first pick our favorite."
For the grand opening, bring a food shelf item and play mini golf for free from 3 to 6 p.m. There is a hole-in-one contest. The winner will receive $500 cash from Lakes State Bank, a set of Cobra Golf Clubs and a family pass.
There has not been a hole-in-one at Wildwedge yet.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.