Golfing Gems: The Best Small Town Courses

Uploaded by PrairiePublicBcast on 03.01.2011


Hi, I'm Matt Olien, I'm standing
here at just one of the many fine golf courses in our region.
I was raised around golf my whole life by my dad
and my older brother, and it's a great sport,
maybe the greatest sport of all
because you can play it into your senior years,
and people in the Upper Midwest love it.
What you may not know is in North Dakota, Minnesota,
and Manitoba, they all have one of the highest per capita rates
of golfers in North America.
That means people around here are obsessed with golf.
And if you want to play some great, affordable
public golf courses, there are
some tremendous small-town golf courses in this region.
We'll take you on a tour
of some of the best small-town public golf courses
in the upper Midwest. Come on along--you'll be glad you did.

(swak!) (man) That's a dandy!
(guitars, bass, & drums play rock)

(Matt) That was a scary one!

(Matt) Funding for "Golfing Gems:
The Best Small-town Courses"
is provided by the members of Prairie Public.

(man) This isn't heaven, but it's pretty darn close.
(synthesizer plays in bright tone)

This is the dogleg left, and we want to hit the ball
just over the corner of the trees here, carry it
out into that fairway inside the 150-yard mark.
So let's see what I can do here.

If you want to miss this one,
you want to miss it right just a little bit.

(Matt) Was that too much?
Well, I didn't want the draw,
but I think I should be in the open area there.

Get through!

Oh, I gotta like that.

(man) Good swing.
That's gonna work...
Ooh, I think you just caught the trap, just caught the edge.

(Matt) A little pro check there too.

Very nice shot.

Good Par, Mike. (Mike) Hey, that's a workin' man's par!
Okay Mike, like I said, I played here in high school
at the regionals, loved the course.
What is it that makes the Larimore Golf Course special?
A lot of people talk about this course when they come here.
A couple of things in particular.
We have a great staff that takes
just great care of this cours, both inside and out.
And as far as when a player comes here and plays,
it's not uncommon for them o literally have in their mind
2 or 3 years down the road
a very, very key remembrance
of what the layout is at every hole.
This is a very scenic golf course,
and I think that's what really attracts people.
(Matt) Is it challenging?
Where would you rank it on the challenging scale?
(Mike) I think considering it's a 50-year-old course
and not extremely long, the real challenging is in putting.
You have a lot of break
on a lot of different putts,
and if you are a good putter
from playing at the Larimore Golf Course,
you can putt well anywhere.
(Matt) This is 50 years now?
Tell me about the history of the course a little bit,
like who built it and those kind of things.
(Mike) This course was built in 1959 and was sand greens,
and it was a sand green course for about 4 years.
One of the interesting things about this course
is that a group of men in town plotted this land
and bought this land for a very small amount of money,
and it was literally a pasture.
and with volunteer labor,
came out over a 3- or 4-year period of time, mowed down
all the buckbrush, moved a fair amount of dirt
in some of the low-lying areas,
and made a sand greens
golf course out of this area.
So this at one time was a legitimate pasture.
(Matt) Do you get a lot of Grand Forks traffic here
and people that come back each year?
(Mike) We certainly do, we have a very solid base of membership
out of the Grand Forks area.
Probably pretty close to 140 of our members
are from the Grand Forks area.
So we really appreciate their business,
and we want them to continue to come back.
And this is a great value for a membership.
It's very inexpensive to play.
And we have very, very wide base of membership.
Well, let's play.!
Yeah, back in the '80s, Matt,
probably most of these trees weren't here.
Mike, every course has their signature hole.
This is it at Larimore, right, number 4? Tell us about it.
Number 4, 267 par 4, uphill to the green.
Big oak tree on the left that you want to stay
to the right of, so the garden spot is just to the right
of the oak tree in the middle of the fairway.
The green is probably the toughest putting green
we've got on the golf course.

(ping!) I got it! Perfect.

(thwak!) (Mike) Oh, that's good!
(Matt) Yup, that was a good one.
I got about 69 yards here up the hill.

Don't screw this up.


Okay, sit down now, sit down now.
(Mike) A little long, but you're gonna be okay.
(Matt) It'll be okay? All right.

I pulled it a little bit, but I'm gonna be okay.
Yeah, I think that's enough.

That's gotta go. Little more,
little more, little more.

That's pretty decent.
Look at that thing trickle downhill.
(Mike laughs)

I would guess par is a good score on this hole.
(Mike) Par is a good score. (Matt) So I'll take that.



(Matt) Get up! Get up!
Nope, it's on there. (Mike) Nice.

(Mike) Check. (Matt) Oh good chip, Mike.
Good chip. (Mike) Thank you.

(Mike) Good Putt. Good putt!

(Matt) Birdie! (Mike laughs)

(Matt) Beauty. (Mike) Oh, I like it.
That's my best tee shot of the day right there.

(swak!)(exhales deeply)
You gotta do that once a round, don't ya.

I gotta like that, I think, looks pretty good, yup.


(Mike) No, that's not a bad spot to be at.

Looks pretty good.
Looks pretty good. Very nice.
(Matt) Well Mike, we both got birdie putts here.

(with frustration) Oh man!
That was not a good stroke.

Great birdie, Mike! You know these greens.
(Mike) I think I've played a few rounds here, Matt.

Par, birdie is good.

(Mike) Good swing. Right into the teeth of the wind.
(Matt) That felt good.
A chip and a putt for a 40 here.
That'd be all right, as little as I play.

Settle! Settle! Settle!

Boy, you're deadly on these greens.
That is called local knowledge.

Mike, that was a fun round of golf.
This course is as good as I ever remember it.
You had a 37, I had a 41, which, I'll take that.
You know these greens well.
It helps to play as many rounds as I have over 30 years.
I know the greens pretty well.
But this has been really fun Matt, and we're really pleased
with the course that we hav, we're blessed to have it,
and we're glad that you guys could come out today
and enjoy it with us.
We appreciate it. Now, how many members again do you have?
That's a lot for a small-town golf course.
(Mike) We have about 350 members, and we pull from quite
a wide variety of areas, we have members as far as Grafton,
and a lot of members out of Grand Forks,
which we're really grateful to have.
Probably about 130 members out of,
just out of the Grand Forks area alone.
(Matt) I know you mentioned this during our round,
but the valley aspect of this gives a lot of scenic views.
Those par 3s are great, the par 4s going up the hill,
a little different than flat North Dakota
in a lot of spots, isn't it?
(Mike) It certainly is, you would think of a golf course
in Red River Valley would be flat everywhere,
but we have a lot of terrain, up and down, and some flat hills,
and some terrain that you have to negotiate.
I think it makes you a better golfer and provides
some really unique challenges for the average golfer.
So thanks, Mike, our 2008 club champion right here at Larimore.
I hope I can do it again.
So if you're in that Larimore area or west of Grand Forks,
come on and take a round of golf at the Larimore Golf Course.

Come on!


(Matt) Oh, that's gonna work nice, Don.
(Don) Get up! (Matt) Oh yeah.


Ugh, a little long.
Just a little too hard.
Hit it good.
Hit it good, though.
Yeah, it's gonna be tricky. isn't it?

I'll take that every day.
(Don) Whoa-ho-ho-ha, nice ball!

What a simple game, huh?
We're here at the Sandhill River Golf Course
in Fertile, Minnesota, just kind of northeast
of the Fargo/Moorhead area,
and we're going to play this golf course today.
Don Blaeser is with me.
Don is the former superintendent of schools here in Fertile,
and a long-time member, and Don, beautiful golf course.
What makes it speci?
Oh, I think a couple of things, first of all, the scenery.
There's a lot of really picturesque holes.
The 2nd thing is, most of the course you play.
You don't play next to another hole.
And I guess the 3rd thing is,
you can play it aggressively,
or you can play it
taking less chances,
and you can be successful either way.
It depends how well you play!
Most of the time you're better off playing
a little conservatively and playing a little target golf
and trying to advance the ball and staying in the fairway
because there's a lot of grass in the rough,
and it's easier playing out of the fairway.
Plus, there's a lot of potential problems
between trees and river and some out-of-bounds.
It's very busy on weekends.
You need a tee time on the weekends.
You can get a tee time anytime,
but you really need them on the weekends.
We have about 230 members, sell about 230 memberships.
It's been about 11 years since it was built.
(Matt) I'm really struck too, Don, how green the course is
and how well you keep this course up,
and I'm sure people really get impressed by that.
(Don) They're impressed by the grooming of the course.
There's a lot of little
extra special things that have been done.
For example, on this hole
there's some flowers next to tee box.
On Number 5, if you look back from the hole you can see
a roman numeral made out of shrubs.
The tee boxes are built up, a lot of little extra things.
And people are really struck by the scenery.
Let's play golf, .
We'll try..
(Don) And we've had timely rains this summer.
The fairways and greens and tee boxes and everything
are really well-watered.
Well Don, every course has their signature hole, this is it.
Just a beautiful, beautiful-- kind of a scary shot though too.
Yeah, not a long hole, 327.
But trouble.
But trouble-- out of bounds on the right
in the woods and river on the left.
So do you want to be laying 3, or do you want to be laying 2?
(Matt) Is this hole everybody kind of talks about
when they play this hole?
(Don) It really is, it is. This is the hole
people come back for, or come to see.
We have people who just come and want to drive around the course,
and this is where they want to come and look at.

(Don) Hookin'! Get down!

(swak!) Good ball.
Absolutely perfect.

(Matt) That was the best one of the day there-- for me.
(Don) About 90 yards out.

(Matt) Okay, good chip. Got your bogey there.

(Don) Oh...

(Matt) I think I'll take a par on this hole. Yup.

(with disgust) Aw!

You know, I spent the whole night doing that last night.


Keep my head still,
straight back, straight through.
That's about all I'm thinkin'.
Oop, I should've thought hit a little harder.
I'm gonna try watching the ball the whole time.
Oh, oh. You know, this game is a lot easier
if you watch the ball.

(ping!) Good ball. You're in heaven.

(ping!) Okay.

(Matt) Oh my goodness. I almost missed that thing. Wow.
200 range is-- sorry, Don.
(Don) It's okay. Oh!

(Matt) Maybe I should keep talking-- you'll make putts!
I'm talking right in his backswing, and he made it.

(Matt) That's a better swing. Get up there. Get up!


That's better.
(Matt) Yup, good swing. Good swing there.

This is the easy one. This is the straightforward par 4.
You get up and wail away and...
And Don said this was the easy hole!
Makin' a mess of this!

(Don) Nice putt. (Matt) Yeah, there's our birdie for today.
(Don) Just a routine birdie.

(Matt) That's a good swing.
Little right, but you hit it good.

(thwak!) (Don) No.

I forgot about that not looking up thing again.

Fanned it out to the right.

Ooh boy, look at that. (Don) Oh-oh.

(Matt) It would've been a nice way to end it.
Thanks, Kevin. I enjoyed it. (Kevin) Yes, it was fun.
(Matt) Don, thank you. Appreciate it.
Not a probl.
Well Don, we hit some good shots, we hit some bad sh.
The first time out here, if yu haven't played this course,
it's gonna test you, isn't ?
Yeah. Be conservative.
Uh-huh, I found that out the hard way.
Yeah, we all did, we all did. I used to wail away too,
but after going in the river and the trees a few times
you think about just staying in the short grass.
(Matt) But it's scenic, it's beautiful,
and it was a wonderful round of golf.
Again, easy drive for a lot of people in that Grand Forks,
Fargo, Fergus Falls, Crookston area, right?
Tell people again how to get here.
(Don) You bet. Just get on Hwy 32,
and it's just on the
south edge of Fertile.
(Matt) Fertile, Minnesota, Sandhill River Golf Course;
one of the best ones around.

(piano plays in bright rhythm)

(man) Starting Hole number one is a very easy,
particularly easy, starting hole, it's 300 yards.
But it gets people off the ground and going.


Very nice. Should be all right, right?


(man) Good ball. (Matt) Thanks.

(man) Yes!
Way to go!

Very nice. (Matt) Oh, get in. Get in!
(man) Oh, nice putt. Nice putt.
Well now we're here at Minnewasta Country Club
in Morden, Manitoba, a little bit southwest of Winnipeg,
and Bruce Owen is with me. Bruce, you work in the pro shop,
and you're going to play with us today,
and boy, what a hidden gem ths is-- you got an 18-Hole course
in a small town, and it fees like you're at a Winnipeg
or Fargo country club or Twin Cities country club.
Tell us about this course. What makes it special?
Okay, what's special about this course, it's an 18-Hole course,
laid out in a very scenic valley with the Dead Horse Creek
running through the middle of it.
And it has beautiful features
because we're on the edge of the Pembina Escarpment.
It's 18 holes, very challenging.
The greens are the most challenging you'll find...
(Matt) Very fast I've heard.
(Bruce) Very fast, probably the fastest in Manitoba.
We've had comments made from people from western Canada
saying they're the best greens
they've ever played in western Canada.
We have a membership base of about 340 members,
and it's very well-supported
by the town and the community and the local area.
In fact, we do enjoy having many visitors coming up
from the United States,
Langdon, Grand Forks, even Fargo at times.
They do come and visit us
because it is one of the better rated courses in Manitoba.
It's in the top 3 of Manitoba.
Being that it's based in a small town like us,
we're a population a little over 6400 people,
that we're very fortunate to have this,
like you say, gem of a golf course.
(Matt) And how did it get built? How did a town this small
support this golf course? Tell me the history of it.
(Bruce) Yeah, the history is it began as a 9-Hole course
in the lower portion of the valley,
I guess you would call it, and in the late 1960s
they decided to expand to an 18-Hole course.
We got a world renowned golf architect, Les Furber,
to come out here and redesign the course
into an 18-hole layout.
Les, when he came out here, he was just drooling
because of the features available
for the golf course design and the setup.
(Matt) Okay, let's play! (Bruce) Okay, let's go.


(Matt) Probably not gonna hurt ya, is it?
(Bruce) No, that would be all right, I think.



(Matt) There we go. Good par. (Bruce) Thanks.

(Bruce) We'll go to 6 and hit again.
It's another challenging narrow shoot,
and if your tee shot is a little errant to the left,
you're down into a little valley that's about 100 feet
below the hole that you gotta chip up to the hole on.
(Matt) That about right? (Bruce) That should be just where I'd like it.

Oh, caught it fat.
(Matt) Bunker? (Bruce) Yup.

(Bruce) Great ball. Great ball.
Get up there. (Matt) Get up. Get up!
(Bruce) Yes, great shot, Matt! You're on the green.

Just a hair short.

Ooh, very speedy.

(Bruce) Then we'll move over to our feature hole,
which is Number 8, and it is again, another downhill,
200-yard hole downhill to the green.
But from that hole, you can see our picturesque country club,
restaurant, banquet facility,
and the pro shop from the top of the hill.
And you can see most of the valley holes in the course.
Nice one, eh!

Oh wow, I pulled that somethin' terrible. Whoo!

(Bruce) That may be it.
Yes sir. Great shot, Matt.

If it wasn't the speedy greens, you'd be right there.
Great shot.




(Matt) Good shot from there. (Bruce) Thank you.

(Matt) Stay there. Stay there.

That's a good shot; that's a good one.

(Bruce) Very demanding putting on these greens.
(Matt) Wow, I don't think I could've hit that much softer!

(Bruce) Nice one, Matt. It's there.
Yes sir! Nice par.
That is a great 2-putt par.
(Matt) That was a tough 2-putt.


(swak!) (Matt) Oh Bruce.

Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Hit it! Hit it! Get in! Oh!
(Bruce) Give it a chance.
(Matt) These are really great greens, Bruce, I must say.
(Bruce) As I commented, I think we have the best greens
in western Canada. (Matt) They're very good.

(Bruce) Get goin'! Oh.
(Matt) I didn't hit it. I left it short.
(Bruce) Just lack of speed. Lack of speed.




(Bruce) There's the shot.

Great ball, Matt. (Matt) Thanks.

Oh, it looks good. It looks good. Oh! (Bruce laughs)
(Matt) Just couldn't hold the line.

(Bruce) Yes. (Matt) Hold it. Oh dear.
Oh well, we got our pars here.
Well Bruce, thanks for an enjoyable round of gol,
and boy, these greens are fabulous.
That's what people talk about, right?
Well, I'm really pleased that you're enjoying them,
and I think you found that they're quite challenging.
We just about snuck a few birdies, but maybe next time.
Yeah. And you don't want to get
on the wrong side of these pins, right,
or you can putt balls off the green ala Augusta.
Absolutely. Many of the pins, if they're set up on the edges,
and you're up on the wrong side, you will putt off the greens.
But it's a weight thing. They give you a chance.
If you have the right weight and the right line,
you will get them in the hole.
(Matt) And a lot of these par 4s are position par 4s.
You don't want to get aggressive with the driver.
(Bruce) Really, you don't, no, because if you try to get aggressive,
you're just putting yourself into more hazards
than you probably would want to be.
So if you can position yourself properly, you have a good chance
to get on the green and get your birds.
(Matt) You told me an interesting story
of how you ended up in Morden and why.
(Bruce) Yes, 10 years ago, I had an opportunity to take a job
that either took me to Portage la Prairie or Morden.
I decided to retire and come to Morden for the golf course.
(Matt) Someone else told me that today as well.
So that's a good endorsement-- the Minnewasta Golf
and Country Club, southwest of Winnipeg.
If you're coming over the border from Pembina,
drive about 15 miles, go west on Hwy 14, and you're right there.
It's a great, great round of golf.
Thanks, Bruce. (Bruce) Thanks, Matt.

(guitars play rock)


And that is trouble.

Well, I pulled it.


(man) That's a good ball, Matt.

Gotta hit it further than that.

(man) That's a good putt. That's a beautiful putt!
Nice putt, Matt!
(Matt chuckles) There's my one for the day right there!

Oh boy! (man) How 'bout that, Matt.
(Matt) Nothin' to this, huh? (man) Yeah.
It'd be nice to do that on every hole.
(Matt) Well, we're at the Painted Woods Golf Course,
just south of Washburn, and Nathan Grubb is with me.
Nathan, you're the vice president of the board hee
at the golf course and local undertaker.
When I started researching this program, everybody told e
I had to do Washburn; I plad this course a couple times.
What is it about Painted Wos
that makes it so special and keeps bringing people bac?
Painted Woods is a very scenic golf course.
It's a challenging 9-hole golf course.
It's known statewide.
Water comes into play on every hole.
So it's a special course.
It's located right along hwy. 83 between Bismarck and Minot.
It gets a lot of traffic
and is consistently in good shape every year.
(Matt) How many members do you got here?
(Nathan) Roughly, our membership is about 150 to 175 yearly.
That includes family memberships, individual memberships.
We do get a lot of Bismarck traffic.
A lot of members from Bismarck come up and play.
So we're satisfied with the membership base right now.
(Matt) And you say it's kind of word-of-mouth too.
Do you feel word-of-mouth has helped this course
throughout the state? People have heard about it?
You get people from all over the place, don't you.
(Nathan) Absolutely. A lot of green fees. A lot of green fees.
People from the tristate region, Canadians coming down,
like to play this course.
(Matt) When was the course designed?
How long ago has it been up and operational?
(Nathan) We are celebrating our 30th year this year.
The course came in 1979.
We've made improvements just about every year since then.
Right now, we're looking at
actually putting in a back 9 to Painted Woods.
We're in the process of a market analysis.
Once we get the results back from that market analysis,
we'll then see if we can go ahead with the additional 9.
All right, let's play. All right, sounds good.
This is a 460 yard Par 5.
Half the distance is uphill.
It can be a very tricky hole if you're playing into the wind.
It's a long Par 5.
Got a little wind in our face today.
A little wind in our face again to.
You've got plenty of room to your l.

(Matt) Good one, Nathan.

Ah, what am I doing here?!
Wow. No clue.

(Matt) Sounded good.


(Matt) Eagle chip for Nathan?

(Nathan) Oh, that's gonna have to sit down.
(Matt) Whoa. Whoa! (Nathan) I got a putt at it anyway.

I tell you what, that...
(Matt) Boy, it still went by. I barely hit that.
(Nathan) That's a good chip from there.
I couldn't have hit it any softer.

(Matt) Hey, good par. (Nathan) Thank you.
(Nathan) Back-to-back par 5s.
This one plays a little shorter at 425.
It's downhill; once again, you have water to your right.
A lot of room to your left.
On your 2nd shot, 3rd shot, you got the creek that runs
a little bit in front of the right side of the green
that you need to be concerned about.

That's better.


(Nathan) There ya go. Good up. Good up.
Whoa, and that's not what I wanted to do.

Come on. Come on.
(Nathan) When you're going uphill, you gotta hit it harder.
On those shots, Nathan, what I do,
if you can keep it on the ground,
a 6 or 7 is probably the way I go.
(Nathan) Yup. No, that's a good call.


Get up there. Get up!
I don't know why I didn't hit that.
It's uphill. You might as well hit it.

Oh, sit.

That's a real nice up, Matt. Good ball.

(Matt) Beauty... beauty.

(swak!) (Matt) Looked up.


Oh yeah, that's as good as I can hit it there.

Good one, Nathan!

(swak!)Went a little left, but that should be safe.
(Matt) That's not gonna hurt you.


Oh, story of my day!
Great finish for us. (Matt) Yeah. But it was fun!
Yes it was. (Matt) Thanks.
(Bruce) Good round. Thank you, Matt.
We've had a lot of bogeys today.
We've had some good holes, some not so good holes.
It seems like you need to have some local knowledge here
to maybe shoot in the 30s to post a pretty good score.
Yeah, you do. I've playing Painted Woods now for 11 years,
ever since I moved to Washbur,
and yeah, there's differet holes where you need to
pick your spots in order to birdie or par the hole.
Like I say, it's just a fun course
for anybody that's rolling through the area.
It typically takes an hour
to hour and a half to play
depending on traffic.
I would encourage anyone
to come play Painted Wood.
(Matt) What does it do too, for that quality of life in a small town?
Can you talk about that?
Just that extra quality of life factor you've got here.
(Nathan) Absolutely. The northern plains in North Dakota,
to me this is a release coming out to Painted Woods.
It's a beautiful atmosphere with a beautiful deck and patio,
and it's the highlight of my summer.
(Matt) And again, tell people-- very easy access from Bismarck
or Minot on Highway 83. Tell them where it is.
We're approximately 30, 32 miles north of Bismarck,
Highway 83, about 75 miles south of Minot.
Easy access, we're 1/4 mile right off of Highway 83.
(Matt) Okay, great. Thanks, Nathan. It was a fun round of golf.
(Nathan) Thank you, Matt.

(man) It starts off with number one,
pretty easy par 4, no trouble,
kind of gets your feet wet.


A little fairway, can't complain about that.


Nope... came off it.


Good shot.



Well, we're here at the Pheasant Country Golf Course
in South Heart, North Dakota, near Dickinson,
an unusual course because it's 18 holes,
and it has a head professional-- very unusual for a small town.
Kirby Robb is here with me,
the head professional here at Pheasant Country.
Yeah, we're kind of in a good location because we draw members
from Dickinson, South Heart,
Belfield, New England area.
We actually have some members come over from Wibaux,
which is 60 miles away, and Beach, which is 50.
Dickinson only has one course, so ithelps out both places
to have another place to play
if there is a tournament in town.
We try to run the friendliest atmosphere we can,
which brings a lot of members out here because they like
the way we kind of have
the laid back attitude of family atmosphere.
You're not rushed on the course, and we take pride in that.
People love our customer service.
It's something we're very proud of.
We host many high school tournaments
because we are an 18-Hole facility.
We hold a lot of the regional tournaments
in the spring for girls or the boys.
Some of the remarks of people that have played it
is that you got a great course
"What a great course, we'll definitely be back."
We're just trying to get our name out there.
It is only 12 years old. We do have a Website now
called, which people can look up
when they're traveling west.
We're part of the Southwest Golf Package,
which includes Dickinson, Killdeer, South Heart,
and Medora, which is very popular,
where we get many people from outside the nation,
let alone outside the state, come and play,
and they have a great time.
Some people were here from Canada last week
and said that they're definitely coming back again.
So good reports from people coming off the course.
(Matt) Well, let's go play. (Kirby) Okay.


Are the greens still kind of coming back from last year?
You're building them back up to where you need to have them?
(Kirby) Yeah, they've come back a long ways from last year
to be honest with you,
and they're getting close
to being back to normal.

(Matt) There ya go. Good one.
(Kirby) Hole 9 is a long Par 5.
It's a risk/reward shot.
Once again, if you get your driver straight down
the fairway, you have about 150 to 170 into it.
But you get a little left or right of the fairway,
you're in the trees, and you're ending up punching out.
So it is our 4th hardest hole.


(Matt) Hey, there ya go. Birdie. Good job. (Kirby) Thanks.
Matt, here at Pheasant Country is our hole number 10.
It's probably one of the most talked about
holes on the course. It's a 450 Par 4,
and your tee shot selection is very crucial.
We have a big wind at our back today,
so a driver is definitely not an option.
You really want to probably hit a long iron or a hybri
and just keep her in the fairway.
A 4 here is a good score.


That'll play, Matt. Good ball.

(Matt) Come on. Come on.

Be right.
(Kirby) Yeah, Matt, get up there.
(Matt) Come on. Come on! Come on!



That's a tough shot from down there.

Come on, keep climbin'.

(swak!) Oh!

Look at that!
That was lucky.
(Kirby) There's the shot of the day there.


And I did. (laughs)

I left her short.
(Kirby) The prettiest hole we probably have
on the golf course is 18. It's our signature hole.
It's a long, skinny, sneaky green,
and it really slopes left to right.
So a good tee shot is appropriate out to the right,
and it's kind of a hard green to
get close to with the 2nd shot.


It wasn't that bad of a shot.


Kirby, thanks for a fun round of golf, appreciate i.
And these greens, I'll tell you what, you made a good point.
They're not terribly fast, but if they were fast,
some of these greens would almost be unplayable
because of the sloping, right?
Yeah, as you seen on 18, the ball kind of rolled off
the green on our chip shots there.
Between 8 and 18 if they were faster we'd have trouble
finding places to put the pin, and they'd have to probably
rework the greens to make them faster, so that's
one of the reasons they are a little bit slower out here.
(Matt) Well, it's a great challenge.
Pheasant Country Golf Course, just west of Dickinson.
A great 18-Hole challenge with a small-town atmosphere.
Thanks, Kirby. (Kirby) You betcha. Thanks guys for coming.
We appreciate you coming up. (Matt) You bet.


Oh, that'll play real nice.

Boy, Jerry, I can't believe these fairways.
These are some of the best fairways I've seen in the state.
(Jerry) We're fortunate to have some real good soil conditions
in our fairways here.




(Jerry) Yeah, there's a nice kick.

Nice shot. (Matt) Thanks.

Get in the hole!

Well, we're here at the Medicine Hole Golf Course,
just north of Killdeer, North Dakota,
and I'm with golf course superintendent Jerry Storjohann.
Jerry, when you look out at this layout, a very new layout,
you just think wow, this is going to be an interesting
round of golf. Tell us about the course and when it was designed.
Well, the course opened in 2004,
and it's very much an amphitheater effect.
We're real bowl-shaped here.
We're kind of like a mini Hawktree;
anyone that's ever golfed the Hawktree Golf Course.
Jim Engh was the designer of our course
and the Hawktree Golf Course.
So real similar in appearance,
and plenty of elevation change.
This golf course has a lot of elevation change.
So you're having many different
shots from different tee boxes,
and so it's a real fun round of golf.
(Matt) Could you tell us about the work that goes into actually building
a golf course from ground level? It's a lot of work, isn't it?
(Jerry) Oh you bet. You bet.
One good thing, if you can use a lot of the existing landscape,
where you can look out
around this golf course and see
we moved some dirt around here,
but it's good to try to come in and use the existing landscape.
It's much easier to design a golf course that way
and build a golf course that way.
(Matt) What's been the reaction of the public to this course
in the 5 years it's been open?
(Jerry) Real good. Positive.
Our native grass, it's a challenge.
We have some tight fairways, as we get out on the golf course,
you'll see that we've got a challenging golf course here.
With different tee boxes, you can play the front tees,
you can play the back tees, so you're using different clubs.
I mean, you go out and play 9 holes,
and go play another 9 holes from a different set of tees,
you're using completely different golf clubs.
So it's a real challenge, yup.
(Matt) Okay, let's play. (Jerry) Sounds great.
This is a real good hole.
You can either be daring and
cut right across the water here
and put it on the green,
or a little more conservative shot would be
in the fairway here.



(Jerry) Excellent.
Well, like Jerry said, number 2 here at Medicine Hole,
you don't want to get aggressive, just lay it up here
and hopefully hit a little wedge in here.
There's no sense going for this green
unless you're a big hitter.

(swak!) Oh crap, looked up!

I hope those clouds hold off.

Yeah, if we can get this round in.

Good lie.

Jerry, this isn't the British Open, it's Killdeer,
but my first try out of the native grass here.
So we'll see what we can do with this lie.

(Jerry) When you're in the native grass is to just punch it out
into the fairway. I mean a lot of guys
try to hit the long shot out of the native grass,
and after doing that a couple of times,
you just figure you're gonna be hitting a couple extra shots
to get out if you do that.
(Matt) As you can see, this is what
the native grass will do
to your ball here at Medicine Hole.
I've driven it into the native grass here on Number 8.
I'm gonna do well just to even get this back to the fairway.
There's no way I can reach the green out of this rough.
So it's a course that looks simple,
but it's not if you go in the native grass.
So let's see what I can do with this.


Jerry, boy, a picturesque par 3.
You don't want to get too aggressive here.
Yeah, hole number 5, a nice
little short par 3, 145 yards.
Great hole. This is a fun hole.
You have the water there
on the left side of you
to kind of challenge you a little bit
so you don't get too, too chancy.

Hey. Get up just a little bit. Come on.
Come on! Oh yeah, beauty.

Get up!! (Jerry) Go on. Good bounce.
(Matt) Get up there! Come on!

(Jerry) Nice chip.

Nice chip.

(Matt) Birdie! (Jerry) Sweet.
Thank you very much.
For a 5-year-old course, this is a great lookin' course.
I can imagine in 5 or 10 years what it's going to look like.
You're going to have some land sales here
that are going to help a little bit, water sales?
Yeah, actually, we have been permitted by
the state of North Dakota for 75 acre-feet of water we can sell,
and that's going to get the golf course in the ara
of right around 200,000 to 250,000 in water sales a year,
which you'll see some real grand improvements of this golf course
in the next couple of yeas with some funds
to do some projects we want to do.
I think having you out here today
and giving us the exposure that we're going to get here
is going to help us get some people
from the other side of the state seeing what we have to offer.
(Matt) Tell people where to find the golf course if you're driving--
just north of Killdeer?
(Jerry) Yeah, the golf course is just north of Killdeer,
about a mile-and-quarter out of town. (Matt) Hwy. 22.
(Jerry) Hwy 22. There's signs directing you to the golf course.
It's the first right turn, and we're right up the hill.
You can see the golf course when you're coming out of town.






Well our tour continues. We're now at the Oakes Country Club
in Oakes, North Dakota, my hometown where I grew up,
and our guide today is my brother.
We've lost track of how many club titles you've won here
at Oakes. Is it 20 something?
27, 28, something like that.
I'm not sure if it's anything
anybody else would aspire to anyway, but...
But you've won the club title here a lot of times.
You're the premier player around here.
Reed is also a 3-time state champion
and member of the North Dakota Golf Hall of Fam,
so congratulations on tha.
Reed, you've played this course a lot of times.
You know every nook and cranny.
What is it that makes it special?
What do people kind of talk about?
I know the greens are something people like a lot here.
Well, I think that's the main part of it,
and it's not a long golf course,
so virtually anybody can play it.
But I would say the biggest thing about your shot
into the green is your distance control
because almost all the trouble on this golf course
is behind the greens, either by out-of-bounds or--
even if you're not out-of-bounds,
on several holes the greens are sloped from back to front.
So if you're behind the green, with the speed of the greens,
you're going to have a very difficult chip shot
to get it anywhere near the hole.
(Matt) Now when we were kids, these trees were much smaller,
a lot of them weren't here. The course has gotten tighter
and more difficult because of the trees.
Can you talk about that? It's made the course a little harder.
(Reed) Yeah it has. They're much bigger.
It used to be you could hit the ball pretty much
anyplace in the rough and still have a shot,
and to some degree that's still true.
But there's a lot of holes
where you can get into a lot more trouble.
(Matt) Now, what's interesting too about growing up around here
is that quite a large number of really outstanding players
have come out of this town, for a town of 2000 people.
Not only yourself, but your friend Craig Bauley
and of course Mike Podolak, who needs no introduction.
(Reed) He's always wanted to get better, and still does.
He's played in something like 37 USGA events.
He was the 1984 United States Mid-Amateur Champion.
(Matt) Okay, let's play. (Reed) All right.
(Matt) I forgot to mention we're
playing with our dad today.
It's always a thrill
for us to play with him.
So it'll be a fun round.
Reed, this is your favorite hole on the course. Why?
This is my favorite hole in the course.
It's the hardest hole in the course in my opinion.
It's only about 350 yards long,
but it's one of those holes
that doesn't have to be long to be a difficult hole.
It's pretty much a straightaway hole,
but it's got a water hazard on the left.
The 2nd shot is the key.
The green is sloped a lot from back to front,
and there is all kinds of trouble if you miss the green
right, left, or behind the green.
So the fun is just beginning.
(Matt) Ah! Too far to the right.
It's comin'. Come on.

(Reed) That's not that bad of a shot, Matt.
I'm just gonna drop this ball without any impetus forward.
I want you to watch
how far this ball rolls.

Almost off the green--
that's with no help from me-- just dropping it straight down
and letting gravity take over.
That's why you don't want to be behind this green.
Now this putt is only about 15 or 16 feet,
but I'm gonna have to play probably between
3-1/2 and 4 feet of break on this putt.
(Matt) Good one. Good putt.
And that's how you play this hole, right?
That's about how you should play this hole.
(Reed) I don't always play this hole this way,
(chuckles) but yeah, this is how you play the hole.
This is probably my 2nd favorite hole out here;
a hole somewhat like number 2
with a lot of change in elevation
and a green that has a lot of slope from back to front.
Oh, you dropped into the fairway, Randy.

(Matt) Ah! Not that!
(Reed) It's all right, Matt. (Matt) Get up!

(Reed) Once again, there's a very tight OB behind the green,
so club selection on your 2nd shot is vital.
And if you miss the green long or to the right,
the fun is just beginning then too.
So, we'll see how this goes.

As you can see this green is
sloped severely from west to east.
There's probably 3 feet of difference between the bottom
of this green and the top.
Matt's putt here is about 20 feet, and he's going to have to
play probably 3-1/2 to 4 feet of break
to get this ball close to the hole.
If the wind's blowing out of the north and you're playing
into the wind, it's a little bit harder.
This is playing downwind today about .
Really, you just gotta make sure you take the right club
and as is the character of most of these holes, don't go long.
You better to miss the green short if you're gonna miss it.
Good shot, Randy. (Matt) Good shot.


(Reed) Oh yeah. Got over.
My gamble paid off, I made it.
I've driven my ball so far right that I'm actually gonna play
up this way rather than try to get it back in the fairway.


(Reed) It's all right, Matt.



(Matt) Not my best, but...


That looks really good.
(Reed) That'll be a good one. (Matt) Looks really good, yup.

That's a great birdie from where you drove it, Reed. Good job.

(Matt) There ya go, Dad.

Good shot, Dad. (Reed) Good shot, Dad.


Hey, birdie! Hey, good birdie, Dad!

Good job.


Get in!

Par save.

(ping!) (Matt) Good drive, Randy.


Pretty close. (Reed) That might be maybe a little short,
but it should be right around the green.
We've reached the final hole,
and thanks for a great round of golf, Reed.
You're playing your usual round, 1 under through 8.
Thanks for leading us around.
The par 3 9th, kind of a special hole for both of us.
Yeah, I've made 2 holes-in-one in my life, one of them on this hole.
But I don't think that's the reason I remember this hole
the most, because I remember watching you make
your hole-in-one on this hole.
A total shock it .
It was a great lookin' shot right off the tee, looked like
it was one of those special shots, and it went in.
(Matt) I don't know if we're going to do that this time,
but thanks for leading us around.
I would tell people if you're in southeast North Dakota,
about 55 miles south of Valley City on Hwy 1,
stop in at the Oakes Country Club any time. Thanks, Reed.
(Reed) We'd love to have you!
(Matt) Thanks, Randy. It was fun. (Randy) You bet.
Thanks for coming, Matt. (Matt) Yup, you bet.

That concludes our tour
of the best small-town golf courses in our region.
There are many other fine courses
we did not have time to profile,
but remember, your next great golfing adventure
might be just down the road.