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Who says the Spam museum is the only recreational highlight associated with Austin, Minnesota? This multi-faceted country course is located just three miles north of I-90 in Austin and definitely gives the Hormel folks a strong rival for the local entertainment dollar. This course has two distinct personalities from front nine to back.
Even though the course is short and doesn't have any bunkers, it has plenty of trees and water to make it challenging. We really enjoyed the scenery of the thick birch and pine woods.
The clubhouse is a nice-looking structure that is attached to some resort housing. They don't offer any food at this site, other than candy bars. They do have golf equipment and apparel for sale, and they'll loan you a cooler to put your beer in that you purchase at the course. There is no beverage cart, but water coolers are frequent. The people at the clubhouse and on the course are very friendly and helpful.
The course is well taken care of. The tee boxes aren't overly large but are well maintained, and the greens are cut well and also in great shape. They are a good challenge without being difficult to the point of being unfair. The course has some good undulation, but you probably could walk it.
Pine Beach West has only two par 5s (one on each side) and a couple par 4s that are under 300 yards. The course is very scenic and very fair. Water and trees are the major hazards. Everything is in great shape here. There are a couple of areas that are a little open, but for the most part you have a course that is carved out of the woods. That is what many people look forward to when golfing in the Brainerd area.
We think the course is hacker friendly-it offers a challenge without being overly difficult. It is in great shape and has good scenery and friendly people. Some might be disappointed in the length and that it's only a par 67, but we found it to be an enjoyable experience and feel it's a resort course you can play with the family.