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Put a Trip to Keller GC on Your To Do List

Put a Trip to Keller GC on Your To Do List

For golfers in the Twin Cities, the clock is ticking. By the end of this week, the calendar will read September and that means there is less than a month left to play the current version of Keller Golf Course.

Keller, which has hosted a pair of PGA Championships and was a tour stop for decades, will close for renovations on September 30. The Ramsey County course in Maplewood will reopen again in the late spring of 2014 after work by architect Richard Mandell.

Keller Hole #12
To me, there is no better public golf value in the Twin Cities than Keller. Some of that has to do with the reasonable greens fees. But some of it also has to do with the golf course.

Designed by former Ramsey County engineer Paul Coates, Keller opened in 1929. It’s a classic course that was played by many of the game’s greatest players. In addition to hosting the PGA Championships and the 1931 USGA Public Links, Keller hosted an LPGA event for several years.

Keller Renovation Plan
While the course isn’t long enough to challenge the best players in the game, Keller is a place where the overwhelming majority of golfers will be challenged. In order to score well, golfers have to hit the ball reasonably straight off of the tee while also hitting precise approach shots. The greens aren’t overly long and they have much more slope – and, as a result, break – than other public courses of that era.

Keller Clubhouse
So why should you schedule a trip to Keller at some point in the next month? To me it is because it is the best pure public golf experience in the Twin Cities. And it is an opportunity to see the history before the new Keller opens.

Arnold Palmer, St. Paul Open, 1960s

While the upscale public courses in the suburbs and exurbs have their place, Keller is about the golf and little else. There isn’t going to be a kid running to your car to grab your clubs when you pull into the parking lot. The golf course isn’t going to be in perfect condition. You aren’t going to find bunkers filled with sand that is whiter than my legs in February. You aren’t going to be forced to take a cart. And you aren’t going to find a fancy bar to have lunch and a martini.

Instead it is place about golf and little else. They are happy to let you carry your own bag over the rolling course.

A year ago, Steve Date from MinnPost wrote about his memories of Keller. It is a nice piece that talks about his memories of the course and some of the Keller history.

Keller Hole #18
So what will happen over the next year and a half? About $4 million will be spent on the golf course. The routing of the golf course will stay largely the same, but a few holes will change. There will be fewer trees and better drainage when the course reopens. And the answer to the big question is that the tree in front of the No. 4 green will stay.

So get out there and tee it up while you still have a chance.

Read More from Jeff on his golf blog

1 Comment Add a comment

  • Fletcher on October 26, 2012

    I did put a trip there on my list. I’m a little bummed that I did, because I really enjoyed playing there! Why did I have to find out about that place a month before they closed for a year? Now I have to wait.

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