““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
The best classic golf courses in the north central U.S.
Our series on America's best golf courses continues with a look at three of the best classic fairways in the north central U.S., as determined by Golfweek magazine's handpicked panel of 450 course raters. The raters, who are students of architecture, attend national workshops and each evaluate 15 to 20 courses per year.
Here's what distinguishes the top classic courses in the north central U.S. We've also included information on the most convenient places to land your business jet near each course.
Brookside Country Club, Canton, Ohio
Here's a club that went through a dramatic restoration of its 1922 Donald Ross design. Architect Brian Silva oversaw massive tree removal, rebuilt bunkers, recaptured lost hole locations, put back cross bunkers that had been removed and made an impressive case that old school was still relevant today. Brookside sits at No. 63 on Golfweek's best-classic-courses list and is a joy from start to finish.
Akron-Canton Regional (CAK) 7,597-ft runway, 8.3-mi drive
FBOs: Castle Airport Services (800-325-4703); McKinley Air (800-225-6446); Ultimate Air Center (800-932-2647)
Olympia Fields Country Club-Olympia Fields, Ill.
In an area with many fine older parkland golf courses, you can make a good case that Olympia Fields-North, with two PGAs (1925 and 1961) and two U.S. Opens (1928 and 2003) to its credit, doesn't get the recognition it deserves. The 36-hole club, which has its own commuter train station linking to downtown Chicago, used to have four full courses on the grounds and a caddie crew of 1,000. The old grandeur is evident in the sprawling, 110,000-square-foot clubhouse. The South Course is currently getting totally refurbished, but it's the North Course, ranked No. 39 on Golfweek's best-classic-courses list, that is more compelling because of its elevation changes and the recurring demands of its doglegs.
Lansing Municipal (IGQ) 4,002-ft runway, 12.4-mi drive
FBOs: Associated Air Activities (708-474-6073); Chicago Business Air Center (708-895-2666)
The Minikahda Club, Minneapolis, Minn.
Only five miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis sits a leafy old golf redoubt overlooking Lake Calhoun. The Minikahda Club-which was designed in 1907 by Willie Watson and brought into its current routing by Donald Ross in 1917-was fully restored by architect Ron Prichard five years ago.
The par-72 layout, ranked No. 77 on Golfweek's best-classic-courses list, might look short on paper at 6,760 yards from the back, but the challenge here, painstakingly re-established by Prichard and then maintained by superintendent Jeff Johnson, is in the fescue-faced bunkering and the strong greens contours.
Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) 11,006-ft runway, 11.8-mi drive
FBO: Signature Flight Support (612-726-5700)