To say that a course is a “nice resort course” can sometimes be a code for saying that it is not so nice. But in the case of Mystic Lake it really means ‘nice’ and ‘resort’. Mystic Lake is in fact one of the only courses in the Minneapolis area where you can take the elevator from your room right down to the first tee.
Mystic Lake is an enormous operation, with almost 4,200 employees. Located on a Sioux reservation, it’s main business in gambling, and the centerpiece hotel houses a huge casino. With such a setup, it would be easy to assume that the golf course would be a small side business, one of the checkmarks on the list of amenities offers. However, that is not the case. The course is a top class course, very well maintained and with an interesting and sometimes challenging layout. With lots of pond and lakes, water comes into play on many of the holes.
The course is surprisingly hilly, given that the surrounding area is mostly prairie. The hills frame most of the fairway, and actually help you by bouncing the ball back towards the middle on many of the holes. Fairways are nice and soft, and the greens are of a good quality, with gentle but not punishing undulations.
As you play along, the holes are surprisingly varied in nature. Several streams meander through the course, requiring you to play strategically.
The signature hole is the par five 18th. Your tee shot needs to carry a fairly big lake. Unless you are a big hitter, your second shot is blind over a hill protected by several large bunkers. Once you reach the hill, your next challenge comes into view, an island green. The approach shot is a make-or-break shot, so take care. A nice finishing hole where a tournament could be decided.
After you round you have a plethora of restaurant choices. We tried the grill on to bottom floor, and were served some delicious starters, followed by nice juicy hamburgers. Just what you need after a morning of golf.
All in all, Mystic Lake was a surprisingly good experience.