The Takeaway: A unique layout full of character including back-to-back par fives twice and starting the second nine with back-to-back par threes. While not a traditional country club course, it is a lot of fun and offers plenty of memorable shots. Grade B
Designer: Jim Engh in 2015
Phone Number: (701) 852-3591
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Minot Country Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 1912 Valley Bluffs Dr, Minot, North Dakota 58701 – UNITED STATES
Photos: See additional photos of Minot Country Club
What to Expect: Unique, fun, quirky, outside the box, extreme, and engaging are all words that could accurately describe Minot Country Club. If you have a parcel of ground that you would think has no business being a golf course, Jim Engh is the guy you call and let his creative juices go to work which is exactly what happened at Minot. The North Dakota native was called in to design a course that would work on extreme terrain with steep hills and a river carving along the low ground. The result is a course that features back-to-back par fives on the front, back-to-back par threes to start the back, and back-to-back par fives to finish the course on. You'll also find incredibly compelling green complexes, plenty of punchbowl putting surfaces, and lots of creative ways to try and get the ball close to the hole. The high sides of the bowls are shaved tight enough that you can use the slopes on approach shot and chips to work your ball to different quadrants of the greens, which is incredibly enjoyable to try and pull off. While the majority of tee shots play from an elevated tee, that is countered by a significant number of uphill approach shots that will reward aerial approaches and thwart the ground game. The original Minot Country Club course was destroyed in 2011 from flooding that came from the Souris River and so the new one was built on higher ground in 2015. While the former course has been resurrected as Vardon Golf Club, the new Minot course is a much more engaging and fun course to play. In the end, Minot is not for everyone. If you mainly value traditional courses where everything is in front of you devoid of blind shots and the occasional quirky bounce, then Minot won't be your jam. But if you enjoy creative green complexes, unique hole designs, and elevated tees, then Minot will be an absolute hoot to play; especially in a state that is generally known for flat, uninspiring ground.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 2nd Hole – 540 Yard Par 5 – The first of back-to-back par fives, the 2nd hole features a classic Jim Engh design characteristic; the elevated tee box. Drives will sail out towards the fairway that sits more than 50 feet below the back tee and will need to avoid the pond that rests on the left side of the short grass. The fairway runs at an angle away from the player and can make it deceiving on how far the ball must be carried (280+ yards) if players aim for the right side where the fairway opens up. The hole features four distinct tiers with the highest being the tee box before dropping to the lowest tier in the fairway, ascending to another tier 100 yards from the green, and finally the last tier at the putting surface. Whether going for it in two or laying back, you'll need to calculate the elevation changes between each tier and the terrain that moves balls from left to right.
Best Par 3: 11th Hole – 181 Yards – The second of back-to-back par threes and shaped loosely like a three point boomerang, the 11th features one of the most unique greens you'll ever encounter with very distinct pin positions to consider. A pot bunker sits between the front two legs of the green while the back leg reaches back to a bowled area where the amount of putting surface isn't large but the slopes around it can quickly kick balls back towards the hole. The front two legs of the green are significantly below the rear leg, so three-putts become commonplace when on the wrong tier and trying to properly judge the distance requirement. It is a unique hole that is a lot of fun, and yields a great birdie opportunity.
Best Par 4: 12th Hole – 389 Yards – A nearly 100 foot drop awaits on the 12th hole that also features three pot bunkers scattered along the hole. Despite the descent, the first fairways and tilt in the terrain can still allow balls to hit and roll out in places, so keeping your tee ball up the right side away from the creek on the left is the ideal line to take. The fairway will move balls to the left and set up an uphill approach shot to a green perched in the side of a hill on the right while a creek runs along the left. The circular green begs players to hit to the middle of the putting surface no matter what the flag position is. Judging the 40 foot rise enroute to the green is critical to avoid watching your ball tumble back down the fairway.
Best Par 5: 14th Hole – 546 Yards – Perhaps the most inviting tee shot of the day greets you at the 14th hole with a downhill drive that should fly over the two pot bunkers resting 240 yards from the back tee. The fairway tilts from right to left so keeping your ball up the right side will help maximize the amount of roll available here. On the second shot, the strategy kicks in depending on where your tee ball finished and what your game is capable of. A lone tree sits in the middle of the fairway and marks 185 yards from the center of the green but the path to get there will require a carry over a creek that wraps around the putting surface. So if you are in range and feeling good about flying one to the green for a chance at eagle, do it, otherwise you can lay up to the wide portion of the fairway that will help you avoid two bunkers and leave you just 100 yards into the green. The approach shot from that angle will require a carry over three bunkers and the creek, but with a wedge in your hand you should mostly be concerned with how close you can stick it to the flag.
Birdie Time: 6th Hole – 321 Yard Par 4 – Right before you get to Minot's most difficult hole, you get to take advantage of its easiest. This short par four is reachable for long ballers, but for those that can't scare the green with their tee shot will have an opportunity to wedge it close with their second shot. The two pot bunkers in the fairway sitting 250 and 265 yards from the back tee are waiting to catch drives that don't have the juice to clear them, so if you aren't feeling confident on your chances of clearing them, especially since the hole travels uphill, just stay short of them by laying up to your favorite yardage between 70 - 100 where the fairway is at its widest. There is a bowl effect on the left side of the green, so if you tug one a bit you'll still have a good chance to bound a ball onto the putting surface and roll in a birdie.
Bogey Beware: 7th Hole – 268 Yard Par 3 – On a course where the longest par four is under 410 yards, you don't expect to find a 268 yard par three but that is exactly what Minot delivers on the 4th hole. If the length wasn't challenging enough, the green looks like something inspired from the Rolling Stones logo with a large tongue being featured in the front and sitting 10 feet lower than the back tier. From the lower tongue to the upper tier there are more three-putts than two-putts, so hitting the green in regulation is no guarantee of a par. Lastly, with pot bunkers in play, there is nowhere to hide on this hole so you'll need to step up and just try to minimize the damage.