Golfing Main Street

The courses on the Sinclair Lewis tour blend beauty with legacy.

April 30, 2023 | 2 min.
By Jack Mendesh

Sinclair Lewis, born in Sauk Centre in 1885, made a lasting impression in the area with his bestselling book “Main Street,” which satirized small-town life in the town of Gopher Prairie—a fictionalized Sauk Centre—in America in the early 20th century. He would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1930, becoming the first person from the United States and the Americas to win the prestigious award. Lewis’ enduring impact can be felt all around Sauk Centre and throughout Minnesota. 

Just up the road, Alexandria boasts four courses nestled along the northwest edge of the tour. Alexandria Golf Club, home to former PGA Tour star Tom Lehman, features 18 holes of championship golf along the shores of Lake Darling and L’Homme Dieu. The course opened in 1915 and has hosted the annual Resorters golf tournament since 1921, attracting top amateurs from around the state and country. The 7th green is the shape of Minnesota, and the hole location is placed in a different “city” each day. Future plans include the addition of a par-3 course designed by Lehman and Jerry Rose, longtime member of Alexandria GC, to be opened in 2024. 

“The key objective, with golf courses being as full as they are right now, is giving kids a place to play. The course will give something very unique to the community and will allow families to come together,” explains Rose, who is also the current secretary/treasurer of the MGA.

Family fun awaits at Alexandria GC!

The Atikwa Golf Club at Arrowwood Resort runs a route along Lake Alvin and sports an 18-hole executive putting course along the shores of Lake Darling. Beyond golf, the resort features lodging and plenty of outdoor activities, including a marina equipped with everything you need for a great day on the lake, a waterpark, local tours, restaurants and more.

The Geneva Golf Club boasts 27 holes of championship golf situated on an old farm that was designed by famed Minnesota golf course architect Joel Goldstrand. The three nines are aptly named Island, Marsh and Ponds, and offer a different challenge and feel each round. Featuring a course rating and slope of 75.2/136 (M/I), 73.9/131 (I/P), and 73.9/136 (P/M), it is one of the more challenging courses on the tour. 

The final Alexandria-area course, Lake Miltona Golf Club, is a product of the Shields and Blank families and has 18 holes, nine of which were added and designed by Norby Golf Course Design in 2002. This par-72 course has a wide range of teeing options from the family-friendly executive tees at 4,134 yards, to the more challenging black tees at 6,470. Make sure to keep your ball in the fairway, as water comes into play on 15 holes and strategically placed bunkers on seven holes. 

Pit Stops 

In between rounds, enjoy the attractions the cities on the tour have to offer. 

Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home, Sauk Centre: Tour the home of America’s first Nobel Prize in Literature recipient. Lasting 25 minutes, you can see the home which has been restored with antiques appropriate for the period and contains items that were known to belong to the Lewis family. Stop by to learn more about Sinclair Lewis! 

Lake Wobegon and Central Lakes Trail: Extending from St. Cloud to Fergus Falls, these two connected trails span 117 miles and accommodate biking, running, walking, longboarding and roller blading in the summer, and snowmobiles during the winter. The trail routes through rolling hills, lakes, woods and prairies allowing year-round enjoyment! 

Big Ole, Alexandria (right): A 28-foot-tall Viking built for the 1965 World’s Fair in New York stands guard at the trailhead of the Central Lakes Trail. Stop by before hitting the trail for a great picture opportunity! 

Runestone Museum, Alexandria: The runic artifact suggests that Scandinavian explorers visited the area in 1362. The influences from the artifact can be seen across the state, including Scandinavian culture and the inspiration for the name of the Minnesota Vikings. Visit the museum to learn more.

South of Alexandria down Highway 29 in Glenwood is the Minnewaska Golf Club. Situated on Lake Minnewaska, the 11th largest lake in Minnesota, the course features 18 holes of rolling terrain and tree-lined, parkland design. Celebrating its 100th year in 2023, the front nine was designed by Tom Vardon, brother of Harry Vardon, and member of the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame, while the back nine was designed by Joel Goldstrand. The green structures are quite small, and according to Minnewaska’s website, the cardinal rule is to keep your ball “below the hole.”

Nearer to St. Cloud on the eastern edge of the tour is the Albany Golf Club. The first nine was designed by 1999 Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame inductee and longtime Interlachen Country Club head pro, Bill Kidd Jr., and the second nine was designed by fellow Hall of Fame inductee and 1993 U.S. Amateur champion, John Harris. Not a bad duo! The facility also has 12 heated, state-of-the-art Toptracer driving range stalls that allow golfers to play games against each other or play world-renowned golf courses during the winter months. 

Closer to Main Street in Sauk Centre is the GreyStone Golf Club. Designed by Tom Lehman, it is reminiscent of a Scottish links-style course, including several holes with water in play and multiple holes along Big Sauk Lake. The course features rolling hills, expansive fairways and challenging greens. Make sure to bring your ‘A’ game! The yardages range from 5,395-7,059, giving multiple teeing options for differing skill levels.

Moving north up Highway 71 is Long Prairie Country Club. Opened in 1927, the course boasts a slope and rating of 70.8/126 from the back tees. The original nine holes is a parkland layout with towering old oaks lining the fairways while the new nine, opened about 20 years ago, offers more open links-style golf.

Rounding out your trip is a trio of nine-hole courses. The Osakis Country Club features nine holes—with no shortage of lakes, ponds, trees and wildlife—designed in 1962 by Wally Mund, the longtime head pro at Midland Hills Country Club and Minnesota Golf Hall of Famer. Southeast in Melrose is the Meadowlark Country Club. Built in 1965 by members and volunteers, the course offers a playable and enjoyable experience. On the southern edge of the tour in Brooten is the Prairieview Community Golf Course boasting a slope and rating of 69.3/125 for men and 74.8/131 for women from the back tees. Great golf and fun activities await everywhere on the Sinclair Lewis tour.

Jack Mendesh

Jack Mendesh is the MGA’s caddie development and communications manager. He grew up caddying and playing golf in the Twin Cities and likes to give back to the game that has afforded so many enriching experiences in his life.

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