This fall I had the pleasure of playing at Northland CC in Duluth, MN. This was my 3rd trip in the last 4 years. My appreciation for this Ross gem increases each time I play it.
I have played all of the wonderful Ross courses in Minnesota (Interlachen, Minikahda, Woodhill, White Bear, Northland). I believe that Northland has the most challenging portfolio of greens. This can be attributed to many steep back to front slopes, subtle internal movements and finally the "break to the Lake".
Here is a sample of the holes.
#3 - 380 back, 357 middle - par 4 - handicap 5
This holes marches 95 yards up hill. The front edge of the green begins at the top of the hill.
#3 Tee shot; one thing I love about Northland is that the rough is not overly thick, unlike many MN courses:
# 3 Fairway; fast and firm:
#3 Green looking back; don't be short and don't miss the view of Lake Superior:
#8 - 230 back, 206 middle - par 3 - handicap 13
A long, tough par 3 with a significantly canted green that will hold a 3 wood or driver:
#10 - 414 back, 391 middle - par 4 - handicap 2
This is a demanding dogleg right with plenty of elevation and a tricky green.
#10 Fairway; Note how tightly mown the grass is on the hill just before the green. This tight lie is where many players will be hitting their 3rd shots from:
#10 Green; #10 confirms that these greens command respect! Note the false front:
One of the players had a downhill putt and was a little too agressive. The putt slipped past the hole...
And kept going and going, eventually ending up 20 yards down the hill, off the green.
#13 - 430 back, 415 middle - 10 hadicap
#13 is a fairly flat hole that starts with the most uninspiring tee shot on the course. But, the approach to the green that melts into Lake Superior is pretty special!
When I played in '08 there was brush behind the green. I told my foursome that this hole would look amazing if the brush was removed. I was delighted to see this in '09. WOW!
#14 - 445 back, 410 middle - 8 handicap
The most beautiful green on the course is followed by the green with the most movement.
#14 tee - A gorgeous tee shot over a creek and a gentle ridge.
#14 fairway - Your 2nd shot is slightly downhill to a green that falls off on both sides and the back.
#14 green - Lots of great movement everywhere!
#15 - 411 back, 385 middle, all downhill - 14 handicap
#15 tee - The largest of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes.
Northland CC - One of Ross's finest!