Newly re-opened in 2017, Cook County, MN had retained Jeffrey D. Brauer to upgrade its golf course. On one of the most stunning sites in the country, if not world, with views of Lake Superior, the Sawtooth Mountains, or the rapids or Poplar Creek (the only privately owned river draining into Lake Superior), they had built the course as a resort to attract summer tourists in the 1990’s, but had let it slowly deteriorate to more of a municipal course. Restoring it to a true resort course was the mission.
Budget was an issue, owing to rock, springs and high wage rates prevalent in the area, reducing the effective amount there was to spend. The decision was made to renovate the best two nines of the 27-hole facilities.
Even then, a carefully crafted total re-do was called for. Except for a few holes (River 6-8) the routing remained intact, and we focused on flattening the old greens, which had become un-puttable at modern green speeds, widening narrow play corridors, new irrigation, and newly redesigned green and tee complexes, and new hazards, including upgrading the new sand bunkers to white sand. Almost every hole has a feature making it a signature hole on most other courses.
Renovations on the “River” and “Canyon” courses ultimately cost just $4.9 million, at least 20% below similar renovations at the time of construction. Early returns show the course is creating much excitement and most declare it will return to top ten rankings in the state.
We lengthened the formerly short course, and again provided forward tees under 4,500 yards, because 18% of golfers in Minnesota (and 45% of golf handicaps!) are women, which make up a larger percentage of play here than other courses.
The design style is described as “classic” which, in combination with the natural scenery makes for a great golf experience. Superior National is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary course, and bird-rich forests and the rushing rapids of Poplar Creek provide a wild soundtrack for your round. Deer, Fox, Bear and the occasional Moose are common visitors, while Lake Superior supplies the fresh, cool breeze. Nature provides an enhanced golf experience.