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Back in the 60's, there was a pop album titled "Twin Sons of Different Mothers". That might be an apt description of Zumbrota Golf Course, just north of the Fair Grounds in Zumbrota, Minnesota. The front nine, born in 1927 runs only 2796 yards, with tall, mature pine trees lining many of the fairways, leading you to fast undulating greens. Here there are three par-3s, each offering a different challenge - the creek that fronts # 3, the forest on #5, and the sharp sloping fairway which leads to a notably elevated green on #7. On the other six holes, you'll want to step up to the tee and prepare to "let it fly", being careful to avoid the heavily treed areas left and right. During our visit they were making renovations of a very challenging par-3 hole at #7. For natural beauty you'll enjoy great views of the countryside from the tee box on #8, a very picturesque hole.
The younger brother of this duo is represented by the back nine, playing at 3111 yards. The terrain is much more hilly and the fairways here are bordered with heavy grass plantings and wildflowers. Be very careful to stay in the fairway, as the only way you'll recover a poorly hit ball swallowed up by the heavy rough will be if you would happen to step directly onto it. There are two more par-3s here, but you'll start this trip with the longest hole on the course, the 528 yard #10, playing along a meandering fairway over rolling hills. There's lots of opportunity here for the open winds to factor into play, holding up your shot over a trap, or pushing a slice aside into the heavy grasses.
The course offers plenty of challenges to diminish whatever benefit might be gained by its maximum 5907 yardage. And that factor also results in some of the four defined sets of tee boxes being placed closely together. With slope ratings of 122 to 133, a cart is very useful, particularly as the back nine is drawn over a more hilly and larger canvas. While the greens were very soft, they were cut short, and were not that often flat, so that a putt hit too strongly sometimes rolled past the hole to the far edge. But then again, why didn't we just land my approach shot below the hole?
Our first introduction to Zumbro golf was fun and relaxing. We may have come home with fewer balls in our bag, but as we gathered after the round, we looked forward to a return visit. The staff and fellow golfers were friendly and engaging, and we enjoyed one of Minnesota's greatest days of summer on the course. Be sure to stop in at the bar and grill in the new clubhouse and enjoy breakfast, or a burger, sandwich, salad, or wrap, along with your favorite beverage.
Check the website, for valuable specials, both on the course and in the clubhouse. There's also an online tour of the course, featuring photos of each hole both from the tee and the green, as well as information and hints on play. Tournaments and outside events are frequent, so call the clubhouse ahead of time for a reservation.