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The Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge in Deerwood, Minnesota, has two courses. Alec's Nine is a short 9-hole course for golfers who like to walk, younger players and those working on their short game. The Lakes has a moderately challenging 18-hole resort layout. It first opened in 1992 and is 6626 yards spread out over 100+ acres of rolling terrain. The Lakes is extremely playable.
In today's market for extremely long holes, we are happy to say Ruttger's hasn't sold out to the idea that longer is better. Using trees, slopes and many doglegs, along with some interesting sand bunkers, the course is challenging yet still fun. We bought the yardage book sold at the pro shop since the carts don't have GPS. This well-designed notebook only costs $3 and can be used to track shots and score your game.
Hackers might need that yardage book and some quality shots to score well on holes 3-5. The front nine starts off friendly enough, with a par 4 that's 350 yards from the white tees. Hole #5, however, was the most unhackable on the course. A blind approach shot and a narrow, sloped fairway make this hole really tough. Scout ahead if you haven't played this hole before. Luckily holes #7 and #9 are both easy par 3s. The back nine is more open and golfers can use their drivers on the wider fairways. The back par 5s didn't seem as long or hard as those on the front nine. We really liked #13, a par 4 with three sand bunkers guarding the front of the green.
The Ruttger's staff prides itself on value and service. With over 111 years of business and four generations, they know how to please. Alec's Nine was the first resort course in the state when it opened in 1921. They've outlasted many other golf courses, so they must be doing something right. Providing outstanding service and value--especially during hard times--is a winning idea that's hard to beat. Extra amenities, like a free bottle of water and compli- mentary range balls, make it easy to enjoy a round at Ruttger's.