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Joel Goldstrand

From the southern hills of Minnesota to the windswept plains of North Dakota, there’s an artist whose work goes beyond the traditional paint on canvas. His medium of choice? Acres upon acres of land. Meet Joel Goldstrand – credited with over a hundred notable designs, his golf courses have become highly esteemed masterpieces marking the landscapes across the American Midwest.

Goldstrand’s career in golf began as a professional golfer, capturing several significant wins in the 60’s and 70’s. However, the underpinnings of his design expertise became evident when he transitioned from a player to a Superintendent and Pro at the Minot Country Club. Yet, it was only after his move to Bemidji Town and Country Club in 1966 that his latent talent truly emerged. Since inaugurating his own course design firm in 1982, his impact has been considerably prominent in the golf world.

Whether it’s converting a waste area into a visually pleasing hazard or crafting a dogleg to take advantage of the prevailing wind, Goldstrand is marked by a characteristic style that consistently challenges all skill levels while complimenting the existing natural topography. His commitment to upholding the unique character of each site and his carefully planned strategy points reflect his profound understanding and respect for the sport. As an ex-professional golfer, he has an eye for what makes a course challenging yet enjoyable, which he puts into every design.

Goldstrand’s work strikes a balance between being risk-reward oriented for adventurous souls and forgiving for amateur golfers. For example, take the Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge course – a Goldstrand creation. The layout features elevation changes and challenging tee shots, but rewards accurate play with inviting greens and plentiful scoring opportunities. You can sense Goldstrand’s perfectionist streak in the careful balance between strategy and aesthetics, making it a standout attraction on the golfing tour.

Notably, his portfolio contains several “champion” caliber golf courses, such as the Grand View Lodge’s Pines and Preserve golf courses, and the Deacon’s Lodge. These courses feature varying levels of difficulty, boasting unique elements that test the skills of even seasoned golfers.

His remodels are as noteworthy as his original designs. Notable among these is the Minnesota Valley Country Club, a traditional golf course that he brilliantly modernized while maintaining its original charm. His design features elongated tee boxes, relocated greens, and sand bunker additions that bring enhanced challenge and renewed character.

What makes Joel Goldstrand speak volumes as a golf course designer is his clear understanding and integration of the environmental landscape. His designs and remodeled courses reflect a sincere commitment to sustainability. Goldstrand believes in using elements like native plants to sculpt each course, maintaining the balance and integrity of local ecology. Furthermore, he innovatively uses water hazard placements to manage stormwater runoff, transforming aesthetic features into functional components in the ecosystem.

Goldstrand is undoubtedly a keen strategist and a master ecologist, but he is also a lover of the game. Anyone who has played on a Goldstrand-designed course can attest to the thoughtfulness put into every element. From placing hazards to calculating the perfect line of play, his expertise allows him to design courses that are not just visually pleasing, but also strategic masterpieces that push the boundaries of a golfer’s skill and intellect.

In conclusion, Joel Goldstrand’s legacy in course design extends far beyond the physical golf courses he has created. His work is a testament to his love for the sport and his respect for the natural environment. His designs provide golfers from all walks of life and skill levels with a place to challenge themselves, enjoy the game, and appreciate the harmony between golf and nature. Goldstrand’s courses are more than just greens and fairways; they are tangible expressions of his philosophy and passion for the sport of golf. They are land art – delightfully challenging, uniquely spectacular, and undeniably Goldstrand.

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