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Houston, Texas may have a problem, but not Houston, Minnesota. If it does, it's not golf related. Home to family owned and operated Valley High, Houston sits as pretty as the course itself. Which is pretty pretty.
Nestled into the bluffs and coulees (yes, that's a real word) near the Mississippi this track is tattooed with pride of ownership. They have work to do (they know it) but they have the plans and are actually implementing them. Ask for the owner (he's always there) and he'll reveal the many upgrades coming in 2010-11. And when you're done golfing, give him your ideas for what else he could do. He'll listen He values the experience of his golfers.
Play this course before the leaves fall, or you'll lose balls in the middle of the fairway. Effective leaf-blowers here (and cart paths) would be valuable additions. That should tell you there are lots of trees. They add to the beauty of the course, but also to the difficulty. Take advantage of Hole #1 if you can, the next eleven are quite challenging. If you were ever going to warm up on a driving range, this is the place to do it (an alternative warm up would be the most beautiful 9-hole course in Minnesota, Pine Creek, in nearby La Crescent). Either waywarm up first!
This course is tough, we won't sugarcoat that. The greens pose few problems themselves but getting on them can be a royal pain. There are half a dozen decent birdie opportunities if you're a long straight hitter or Tiger. Otherwise, buckle up. It's a bumpy ride until 12, where you can catch your breath on the anomaly of a short and simple Par 3. If you remove the driver from your bag on 15 it should only be to smack yourself with it. Put it back. 15 is a hate-able hole, and #16 is a crazy signature hole desperately in need of the removal of one tree on the left. (The one in the middle of the green is fine, yes, middle of the green). There's a test in every iron or driver shot at this course. Every. Single. One. If you're up for the challenge, Valley High awaits.