Work Continues at Second Giants Ridge Course

Flush with three years of success with its first golf course, Minnesota’s Iron Range Resource and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is continuing work on a second 18 holes at Giants Ridge Golf & Ski Resort in Biwabik, Minnesota. With the expansion of the golf complex, the IRRRB is fulfilling its dream of turning the Giants Ridge area into a year-round recreation mecca. “The demand for this caliber of golf course is so high that we decided to go ahead with a second,” said IRRRB Development Director Mike Gentile, who has overseen operations of the original Giants Ridge Golf Course since it opened in 1997.

Officials had hoped Giants Ridge Golf Course in Biwabik would host about 22,000 rounds by the fourth full year of operation. “We did 22,000 between July 1 and October 15 of that first year,” Gentile said. “Last year (1999) we did 30,000 rounds and still turned away between 12,000 and 15,000 golfers.” Building on that success, the IRRRB hired the designer of the original Giants Ridge course, Jeffrey Brauer, as “the natural choice” to do the second course.

”The charge we gave Jeff,” Gentile said, “is to build a golf course that will be equal or better than the first course – difficult as that may be. We want the golfer, when he is traveling from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area where 90 percent of our golfers come from – to play two rounds of golf at least and get two quality, yet distinctively different, experiences.”

Gentile described Giants Ridge Golf Course as “a Minnesota North Woods experience, with a lot of pines, a lot of birches, a lot of boulders and rocks.” The second course, called The Quarry at Giants Ridge, lies three miles away on rugged, unspoiled terrain that straddles former taconite and sand-and-gravel quarries. (See Jeff Brauer’s ongoing story of designing and building this course in Cybergolf’s Architect’s Corner section.)

Since Giants Ridge Golf Course opened, the IRRRB has opened a hotel on the property, enticing visitors to stay and play. Gentile expects The Quarry course to deliver on the expectations. “Jeff Brauer uses the land and topography very, very well,” he said. “He creates something out there that all levels of golfers – from the rank beginner to the experienced low-handicap golfer – are going to have a great experience. The golf course is very fair.

”Whereas the existing course is not walkable because of certain environmental constraints we were under, this course will be walkable," Gentile said. "We want to attract the State Amateur and Mid-Amateur-type tournaments and so forth to northeastern Minnesota and Giants Ridge.”

For a tee time at the original course at Giants Ridge, and to take a glimpse of the work now in progress at the Quarry, call 800/688-7669.