ELY GOLF COURSE
The grass on the greens consist of a bentgrass and poa annua mix, which is typical for most Northland golf courses. The fairways and tees consist of a bluegrass/poa annua mix. With adequate growing conditions the greens will be some of the best in the Northland.
Jacob Curtiss, course superintendent, is committed to making the Ely Golf Club the premier Boundary Waters Golf experience in Minnesota. Eco-friendly course management and a commitment to our environment are what drive Jacob and his team to continue development of the most beautiful golf course in northern Minnesota.
Ely Golf Club – Names for each hole and a short description.
No. 1 -The Wires-
The first shot on this hole plays under the power lines. The fairway in the landing area slopes left to right and the right rough slopes even steeper to attract your ball. The best landing area is to the left of the 150 yard pole. The green is level and if you land left of the green the slope may take your ball onto the putting surface. If you hit right of the green, you will have a difficult pitch from the rough back onto the putting surface.
Par 4 – Handicap 5
No. 2 – Into the Woods –
This long par four requires a long tee ball to give you a shot into a green that is surrounded on 3 sides by woods . The best landing area is again to the left of the 150 yard marker. Too far left is out of bounds, to far right is a bunker in the rough and prairie grass. Landing to the right of the 150 yard marker gives you a blind shot to the green. The cart path is close to the green on the left, so errant shots might carom into the woods or onto this very big green. If you end up far from the pin on this back to front sloping green, you will have a long putt for your next shot.
Par 4 – Handicap 4
No. 3 – Three Tier –
This par 5 begs for an attempt for an eagle putt if you can drive it long onto this fairway that runs down the hill. The rest of the group will be looking to place their second shot to the middle of the fairway at the 100 yard marker. Look to see where the flag is located on this three tiered green. Landing on the wrong tier will make for a difficult first putt, and maybe even the second putt or the third.
Par 5 – Handicap 6
No. 4 – The Signature –
This par 3 is the signature hole for the Ely golf Course. The yardage is a little shorter than what is on the card due to the elevated tee. However, it also depends on the wind direction. If you hit it a little off line you can find a pond to the right and another to the left. If you go long you are in the woods. Straight and short is the best option if you don’t make the green. Once on the green birdies are possible on this fairly flat green.
Par 3 – Handicap 7
No. 5 – Left Turn –
This is a short hole that requires usually less than driver off the tee for the average player, unless you can work the ball right to left (can’t everybody?). Landing at the 150 yard marker up the hill gives you a nice short to middle iron to the green. The green is big and has two levels, high to the left and low to the right. A small bunker protects the left side of the green.
Par 4 – Handicap 8
No. 6 – The Mirror –
Downhill and dogleg right, this seems like a nice simple hole. Keeping the ball in play requires a straight tee ball that lands to the left of the 150 yard marker. If you land to the right your ball can easily keep moving right and into the woods. Too long and straight off the tee you will be off the fairway and into the woods. Aim at the big pine on the left and then landing at the 150 will keep your ball moving down the hill toward the green. The green is very receptive. If the pin is back left, keep the ball below the hole or you will have way too many putts as the green slopes steeply back to front.
Par 4 – Handicap 3
No 7 – Pileated –
While waiting your turn to hit keep looking for the Pileated woodpeckers that live nearby. This pretty little 118 yard par 3 is easy, just hit your ball onto the flat green. If you miss, miss short as left is woods, long is bunker or woods, and right is cart path and woods. Get a drink of water before you tee off on No. 8, you will need the liquid soon.
Par 3 – Handicap 9
No. 8 – The Big Up –
This par 5 requires a long tee ball or you will be hitting a wood for the second shot. The best landing area is to the right of the 200 yard marker to avoid the trees on the left around the dog leg left. Only the longest hitters will try for the green in two as the landing area is pretty small. Most will use a mid-iron on the second shot to land near the 100 yard marker. Don’t hit it long and right as there is a pond that can collect your ball. The front bunker on this green protects the right side of a large flat green. There is not much room behind the green so don’t go long.
Par 5 – Handicap 2
No. 9 – The Sloper –
The fairway and green after the 150 marker slopes right to left off the big hill that that clubhouse sits on. Drawing a tee ball around the trees on the left might get you near or past the 150 yard marker. Going to the right off the tee, just adds more yardage to an already long hole. Too far right gives you a chance to collect some rocks for your rock garden. Right of the fairway is the cart path that can collect your slice and put it up in the long grass or woods. The green is deceptively sloping from left to right and the bank in front is steep if you land short. Most putts will be falling away from the clubhouse. You need to always land right of the pin to keep the ball from going too far left. If the pin is back right, be sure to be below the hole or your putt coming back will be longer than the first one.
Par 4 – Handicap 1
Ely Golf Club History
The current Ely Golf course has a unique history. It was literally and figuratively built on the backs of volunteers. It was originally established as a six-hole course dating back to the 1930’s when the mining division of United States Steel was active in the area. In the late 1940’s, it became a rough and tumble nine-hole course. Even today some of the old course is still in play. When you putt on No. 9 green and it feels like it is two separate greens, it really is as of the green is part of an original green. By the 1980’s, the course was in dire need of a total reconstruction.
A dedicated group of volunteers stuck together to create the current course. It wasn’t easy. Eight years of design work and continuing financial woes plagued the all-volunteer group even before a shovel hit the soil. It wasn’t until the summer of 1989 when the owner of the local excavating company watched a dedicated group of volunteers try to carve two new holes out of the woods with pick axes and one small bulldozer that the real ground-level work began. He offered the golf club a price it couldn’t refuse and a pay-back period for as long as it would take to get enough money to pay him. He brought in his heavy earth-moving equipment and during that summer, his crew carved out the current nine-hole course. A summer of serious deluge and drought curtailed a quick-build of the course. It took thousands of volunteer hours to brush and level the land, pick up rocks, and many reseedings after the numerous heavy rainfalls to get the course started. It took eleven years of work and worry to create what now proudly presents itself as the Gem of Ely.
The process continues today as modifications are made to improve playing and aesthetic conditions of the course. So come play the course and give thanks to the volunteers and financial donors who had the vision and the tenacity to create this beautiful place in the north woods; Ely Golf Club, a non-profit corporation.
The above names and descriptions are the interpretation of Terry Cooper (9 handicap)
Ely Golf Club Secretary 2014