Two hundred miles north of Minneapolis is the Quarry Giants Ridge golf course. It’s the second course at Giants Ridge, etched out of granite and the woods of the Mesabi Iron Range and designed by architect Jeffrey Bauer. As the name suggests, they carved it from a rock and sand quarry. You can see the surface remnants of the quarries on multiple holes. Named best new resort course in 2004 and ranked as the #25 best public course in the nation by Golf Digest, the Quarry exceeded the accolades of the original course, the Legend Giants Ridge. Both courses are in the top ten in Minnesota.
Giants Ridge is a thriving ski hill in the wintertime. Owned since 1984 by the state economic development agency, it expanded to include a hotel and two championship golf courses. Giants Ridge is 45 mins south of Ely, the entrance to the one million acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. If you have another day to spare, the canoeing is memorable.
The Quarry Giants Ridge has a well-regarded collection of three beautiful and challenging Par 5 Holes. They use masterfully the landscape to create interesting shots that require careful thinking. Certain tee shots require remarkable precision. The short 323 yard Hole #13 is the coolest Par 4 on the course. Set from an elevated tee to a fairway split in the middle by a pot bunker, great shot selection and execution are essential. There are many options for the player, which is exactly how it should be.
The long Par 4 Hole #18 finishes strong. After all, it’s 468 yards from the tips (448 yards Blue) with a sharp dogleg left guarded by two menacing bunkers. While the final green eases you into the clubhouse, you’ll have no trouble remembering a heart pounding and stimulating round.
To mild surprise, the Quarry Giants Ridge turned out to be an exceptional golf experience. If your travels should take you to Minnesota, the Giants Ridge should be on your short list. Every hole is a unique beauty. If you only have time to play one of the two courses, play the Quarry Giants Ridge.