After the success of the first Jeffrey D. Brauer designed course at Giants Ridge (with consulting by Lanny Wadkins) which placed 8th in Golf Digest’s “Best New Resort Course when opened in 1998) business studies suggested a second course could capitalize on its popularity, and extend golfer’s stays at the resort. With the need to differentiate the courses, and considering the difficult environmental approval processes the first course overcame, the site search for the second course quickly settled on an old sand and gravel quarry a few miles south of the existing course. Because it was an environmentally scarred site which the golf course would rejuvenate, approvals came quickly.
While some questioned whether a good course could be built there, Jeffrey D Brauer knew it could, and knew it could be better than the first. He envisioned a public Pine Valley routed through the spoil piles. Of course, the site suggested a more difficult course, but some customer survey cards on the Legend (which we called the “Gentle Giant” suggested a harder course was desired by repeat clientele. While the playing corridors are quite wide, the hazards can be severe. The Quarry sports one of the highest course and slope ratings in Minnesota.
The calling cards of the course are unique holes, the aesthetics and contrast of the brownish sand piles and the green turf, and a vast sense of scale brought on by the wide fairways. Unique holes on the front nine include the par 5 second, with its potential to be reached in two shots if you tempt the sand pit along the right side, the 5th, another par 5 from an elevated tee, and the 8th, which best captures the feel of Pine Valley.
The back nine starts with the double fairway 10th, fashioned from an old railroad siding, and a distinct double fairway 13th follows close behind. The course finishes along the shores of the old Embarrass Mine pit and lake, and features a Redan green. There are many strong holes in between, a reason why the course is ranked as the top public course in Minnesota, one of the top 25 public courses in the entire US, and is just outside the top 100 rankings for all courses.