FIFTY LAKES -- During the design of the Golden Eagle owner Bruce McIntosh wanted a unique golfing experience with an affordable price tag.
Golden Eagle, set to open in the Spring of 2001, has all the characteristics of the best courses in Minnesota without the frightening price tag.
The front nine is nearing completion with the back nine close behind, but McIntosh wants to wait until next spring to make sure everything is perfect.
"First impressions are really important and I want this course to be absolutely perfect when it opens," said McIntosh. "I want people to come back. I don't want them to say, 'It was kind of pretty, but it wasn't really in good shape.'
"If they're going to lay their money down they're going to get what they pay for."
Speaking of cost Golden Eagle has already set its prices. Green fees are going to be $50 with a cart during the weekday and $60 with a cart on the weekend.
Memberships will be available but the structure and cost have not been set.
The scenery, course design and the golf itself will bring golfers back to play this course again and again.
One feature that sometimes goes unnoticed by golfers, if they're lucky, are the bunkers but McIntosh took great pride in his as he wanted them to help set apart his course.
"The bunkers are directional. They're not meant to be penal," McIntosh said. "They're meant to say, this is a bad side to be on, so hit away from the bunkers. Or if you really want to hit a great shot you can go over them.
"It's directional golf and that's how we put our bunkers in. Our fairway bunkers are really shallow but I wanted people to know that if you hit it away from the bunkers you get an advantage in doing that.
"All my fairway bunkers are designed with the front lip big enough if you're up close to it, you have to hit whatever club it takes to get out of the bunker and will get you to the front edge of the green.
"I think fairway bunkers, if you goof up and get in one, it should be about a half-shot penalty."
For those that were worried about the wildlife, McIntosh believes the course is helping the animal population.
"Osprey came in two weeks ago and built a nest by our 18th tee boxes so all those people that were worried about us driving away the wildlife they just need to see that and all the tracks out here.
"There are a ton of deer out here. We have a cougar. We had a moose walk across the course. We have fishers, mink, huge turtles. We have just tons of wildlife and they haven't gone anywhere."
Besides potentially being one of the better courses in the state Golden Eagle has some historical value to it's fairways.
"Part of our permitting process, we had to do a historical survey of the property," said McIntosh. "Archaeologists came out here to check for any Indian burial grounds or anything of that nature."
Although no burial grounds were found, they did find some Indian artifacts such as an occupational area with fire pits completely intact four to five inches under the ground.
"In the fire pit they found a certain rock that isn't native to this area so they know they carried it in with them and they were using that rock to make arrow heads," said McIntosh. "These are 2000 years old. They found pottery shards and they're going to recreate the pottery for me and put a display in the club house."
Golden Eagle will be a course golfers and many non-golfers will marvel at with its beautiful views, architectural genius, historical background and abundant wildlife.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.