Dust off your golf bags that you’ve hidden away in your basement, your mother-in-law’s basement, the garage, where-have-you and get back into the swing of a relaxing sport that gives quite the escape, and occasional challenge, to many Fair Hills guests.
The Fair Hills golf course hasn’t always been beautiful green fairways lined with trees for a quiet and peaceful getaway…once upon a time, the 9 holes (that are free to guests!) were far from pristine golfing greens…holes 1-4 were cornfields and holes 5-9 were used as a horse pasture. Don’t believe us? There’s some photographic proof in the Fair Hills lobby — go check it out!
Once the land was converted to a golf course, guests putted on sand putting greens which were maintained by Dave Kaldahl starting at the age of 12. He would drag around a piece of oily 4′ x 6′ carpet nailed to a 2 x 4 from green to green, leveling out footprints and other depressions in the greens.
“During the summer of 1965, the golf course was so dry that your ball would bounce for yards and yards after hitting the ground. It was like concrete!” Dave Kaldahl’s notes on the golf course read. “[W]e decided to put in irrigation. This meant the end of the sand putting greens.”
The irrigation system made for easier maintenance of the putting greens. The fairways, however, were a bigger task to tackle. Usually mowed by Chester Kaldahl, Dave’s dad, with an Allis Chalmers tractor, six “gang” mowers helped to do the job.
“[The] kids loved to ride in the bucket that he had attached in the front of the tractor,” Dave’s notes read. Dave and Barb’s kids “Steve, Beth, Lisa and Danny all rode around this way. Dave and Barb never dreamt that if they fell off they would be chewed up [by] those six gang mowers.”
Today, the golf course that all Fair Hills guests know and love is lush, lined with trees and has neatly-kept grass greens. The irrigation system makes for a fun obstacle every now and then…other days it’s a fun way to cool off. It even helps the slip factor on the resort’s beloved waterslide each week.
But the Fair Hills golf course isn’t just for a leisurely game of putt putt. The resort holds scrambles and competitions such as scotch golf, two club golf, closest to the pin and speed golf, as well as lessons for guests of all ages. All in good fun, of course, with snacks included!
“The best thing about the golf events is the cookies waiting for you between holes 5 and 6 😀,” Jennifer Hollestelle, a guest for 8 years and counting, said. [Comment seconded by Lisa Propst during a proofread.]
From June 19 – August 26, Fair Hills organizes a 4-person, 9-hole golf scramble over at Wildflower Golf Course. Guests are encouraged to sign up for those, and other fun events, that happen over at Wildflower Golf Course at Fair Hills Resort at breakfast in the dining room. (Maybe everyone’s inspired by the delicious scrambled eggs?)
I’ve personally always enjoyed speed golf. I’m a runner and so I was always the designated person to snatch the ball out of the hole once it’d been putted in and run it to the next hole as fast as possible. Wind sprints. That’s really what that talent is because I’m terrible at golf.
Each year, everyone signs up to “man” a specific hole on the course, so we have all 9 holes with a family or group ready to go. The air horn is blown as soon as the person on hole 1 tees off. Then, it’s every man for himself until the ball goes from fairway-to-fairway, green-to-green and hole-to-hole, finishing finally on the 9th hole.
We run through this twice, literally run, keeping track of our time and trying to make it faster and faster. At the end, everyone gets to enjoy a nice root beer float. Pretty fun! Very exhilarating. I take a nap on the deck afterwards, usually. Other kids run off to the lake to catch a torpedo ride.
Scheduling for these sorts of activities is a bit easier for the parents when they know the kids are taken care of — they’ll most likely be off jumping in the lake, playing capture the flag with their recreation director or buying popcorn at the soda fountain and charging it to their cabin, giggling that mom and dad don’t know that their mid-morning snack is a candy bar or malt.
“I think the best part of the different golf events is that each requires a different strategy,” Scott Hollestelle, a guest for 13 years and counting, said. “We strategize as if The Masters is on the line, but end up just having a good time.”
Not feeling up to competing? It’s okay. Fair Hills wants to help you improve your golfing skills with lessons over at Wildflower Golf Course at Fair Hills Resort (the course’s “shiny new” name that honors the connection Fair Hills and Wildflower share.)
Lessons last around 30 minutes and can be given to up to four people at a time. Sign ups for golf lessons on Sunday – Thursday take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Fair Hills lobby. At the lessons, you learn everything from how to correctly position your body for a full-powered line-drive to which club you should be using at any point in the course. Very helpful.
“The lessons are great as it’s a chance to hear a pro’s perspective on things to work on,” Scott said. “The Fair Hills 9-hole course provides unlimited time to sharpen the skills the pro suggested.”
Some guests just go for lessons, others take the lessons then play the course. It’s your vacation…do it your way!
“I always love the opportunity to play at Wildflower,” Rich Propst, a guest for over 10 years, said. “It’s a very beautiful and challenging course…it’s especially fun to take lessons with the family and introduce [the] kids to golf. It’s relaxing and fun.”
Wildflower Golf Course at Fair Hills Resort opened in 1993. Designed by Joel Goldstrand, one of the Midwest’s most highly regarded golf course architects, the course fits his “Prairie links” style — Scottish seaside golf meets tall grass prairies, rolling hills, lakes and woods. The characteristics make Wildflower a very unique golf course in the Detroit Lakes area.
With over 90 feet in elevation changes and over 7,000 yards of golf from the longest tees, all with a par of 72, Wildflower proves to be a challenging course.
“Wildflower is such a vast difference from any club near our home it’s great to see such an open landscape,” Scott, a resident of Northridge, Calif., said. “It’s fun because you get to use all your clubs and you always have the excuse ‘Well, I haven’t played this in a year!'”
Laura McMartin, general manager of Wildflower Golf Course at Fair Hills Resort, is enthusiastic about the connection Wildflower and Fair Hills share, emphasizing the collaborations that have been made over the years for guests.
“Even though Wildflower is across the highway and even in a different county, we encourage all Fair Hills guests to take a short walk or zip over on your golf carts and check us out!” McMartin said.
Some cool facts about Wildflower Golf Course at Fair Hills resort? Fair Hills guests get 20% off of merchandise — which sells brands such as Under Armour, Nike, FootJoy and more. And don’t worry, if you have a Fair Hills gift card, you can use it here!
And for those vacationers that forgot their wallet on their desk in their cabin, you can charge to your cabin over at Wildflower, too.
There are so many different activities and opportunities to get out on the golf course between Fair Hills and Wildflower, you might think — “Will I even have time to do anything else?!”
You will…trust me, you will.
Thanks for reading.