FIFTY LAKES -- "It's too far away."
"It's not really part of the Brainerd lakes area."
Those are just a few of the initial concerns heard by Bruce McIntosh, owner and co-designer of Golden Eagle Golf Course in Fifty Lakes.
Golden Eagle opened all 18 holes, driving range and clubhouse last fall. Despite the lackluster spring of 2002, play is up at the picturesque, championship course.
"Business for us is OK," said McIntosh. "It hasn't been bad, but it hasn't been great.
"We are obviously far ahead of what we did last year. Then again, last year, until June, we only had nine holes."
McIntosh said his main focus for business is on individual groups who are on vacation or on a golf outing.
"People are going to come up here," McIntosh said. "They're going to have their family vacations and we've done a lot of marketing with those people and we're starting to see results with that.
"I'm happy with where we are heading into the busy summer season."
The 18-hole layout is situated on 200 acres of drastic elevation changes and is adjacent to Eagle Lake. The lake, along with majestic views from the 16 elevated tee boxes, can turn even the worst of scores into a great golf outing.
Construction started in May 1999. McIntosh along with Mike Morley, who designed the Preserve Golf Course in Pequot Lakes, carefully considered the route of each hole and the playability of the course.
Along with the championship layout, Golden Eagle also has a complete clubhouse with pro shop, bar and grill.
"The majority of the big stuff is done," McIntosh said. "Now that the road to the clubhouse has been paved, we're working on getting grass all the way to the pavement.
"We're constantly looking at how we mow the fairways. We're trying to get all the rocks out of the bunkers. I think, generally, people think the golf course is really good."
Golden Eagle is located eight miles north of Crosslake and seven miles west of Emily on County Road 1 on Kego Lake Road.
Despite being in its infancy, Golden Eagle is in impeccable shape.
"Almost unanimously, people come here and play and they enjoy the scenery and the conditions," McIntosh said. "The greens are perfect.
"They like the forgiving nature of the golf course. People enjoy the whole scene of being pretty isolated from everything and having a golf course that's in really nice condition."
Although the growth in some spots is a few weeks behind, McIntosh likes the conditions and isn't surprised how quickly it has grown.
"We've come a long way just in the past year," he said. "We've paid attention to the smaller details, plus the service part of it, just the overall service, giving people the service they deserve when they pay a green fee here."
* Al Egge, part-owner of Golden Eagle, won the MGA state senior open. Another member of the ownership team, Eric Strobel, played on the 1980 gold medal U.S. Olympic hockey team. One of the relay torches from the 2002 Winter Olympics is on display at Golden Eagle.
* The course has started a men's league Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. There is a $10 annual fee. The daily fee is $36 which includes golf and a cart. There is a $3 fee to participate in the game of the week.
* Golden Eagle also is starting a women's social league on Tuesday nights. For more information visit the course's Web site at www.golfgoldeneagle.com.
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