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The large freeway sign for Albany Golf Club in Albany, Minnesota, (located 20 miles west of St. Cloud) makes the course easy to find. Parking is across the street from the course, but driving a golf cart to your car to load up your clubs makes the parking situation convenient.
The clubhouse, which feels like a private or semi-private club, is very clean and is large enough for banquets or parties. Oversized restrooms include lockers and showers. The pro shop doesn't have a huge selection of merchan- dise--especially for women--and prices are comparable to other courses.
We played this course on a weekday, which could explain why food service was minimal. Premade sandwiches and micro pizzas were available, but there wasn't a menu or grill service. The beer prices were reasonable and bar service was good. Also perhaps because of our weekday round, there wasn't water or a beverage cart on the course. However, there is a pop machine--and nice restrooms--on the front nine.
The course is well maintained with beautiful flowers and gardens. Large stone markers on the tees have nice diagrams, showing the layout and yardages for each hole. Pin placements are marked with red, white and blue flags. The fairways are large and somewhat forgiving, and the rough is short enough to hit out of without much problem. Even so, the trees came into play more often than we expected. The greens are in nice condition and are very fast. The freeway traffic can be heard constantly, but it is not distracting.
The many bunkers are easy to avoid; however, the sand is hard and gravelly. The few water hazards are mostly visible from the tees or markers. Only one hole has water completely across the fairway. On the day Team Hacker was there, most of the water hazards had algae and were murky, so it was difficult to see or retrieve a ball.