The course at Royal Golf Club, in the city of Lake Elmo in Minnesota, USA, has opened for play following a complete remodel of the former 3M-owned Tartan Park facility.
The project, for developer Hollis Cavner, was coordinated by Thad Layton of Arnold Palmer Design Company, implementing the design philosophy of Annika Sorenstam on the front ‘Queen’s’ nine and Arnold Palmer on the back ‘King’s’ nine.
“The two nines are very different by virtue of the existing topography,” said Layton. “The front nine is situated low and between a number of massive ridges that bisect the property, while the back nine sits higher on a plateau overlooking Horseshoe Lake.”
Some sections of the previous Tartan Park course have been re-routed, and all 18 green complexes have been rebuilt.
The site has bold glacial topography, natural lakes and mature trees.
Layton explained that a minimalist approach was applied, using contours as strategy and just 26 bunkers which unify the feel and aesthetic of both nines. He said that the fairways are wide and interesting native contours gave the team the opportunity to design engaging green complexes that fit gracefully into the natural landscape. “We are confident that the greens at The Royal Golf Club are unique to the Minnesota golf scene and that the course will become a must play for every local golfing enthusiast.”
The par-72 course has multiple teeing options. “It’s all the golf you ever wanted, whether you play it from 4,000 yards or 7,000 yards,” said Layton.
Royal Golf Club is Sorenstam’s first US project. "We enjoyed collaborating with Annika. Our respective philosophy on design was very much in alignment in that golf should be fun,” said Layton. “Her enthusiasm and love for growing the game was apparent throughout every phase of the project.”
Layton told guests at the opening ceremony: “Mr Palmer would not want us to regret he is not here to see the grand re-opening. He’d want us to enjoy it and have fun.”
“This course is for any golfer of any gender, any skill and any age,” said Sorenstam. “We love for every hole to have its own story.”
The club has also introduced a six-hole short course with holes of up to 100 yards inspired by famous designs such as the Road hole at St Andrews and Postage Stamp at Royal Troon. Under-18s can play for free, using free rental clubs.
The development has included the refurbishment of the clubhouse, and four areas around the course allocated for housing. The 73-lot first phase is 75 percent sold, and a 64-lot second phase is now opening.