John Fought Returns to Windsong Farm Golf Club
INDEPENDENCE, Minn. (Jan. 31, 2023) — John Fought has designed dozens of golf courses, but the award-winning architect is unable to compare his newest project with anything he’s done before. Once Minnesota begins to thaw out from winter, Fought will return to Windsong Farm, west of Minneapolis, and begin creating a second course next to the original 18-hole, par-71 layout he co-created in 2003 and renovated in 2015.
“I generally don’t like to do the same thing with my projects, so this one will be really different from any of my other courses,” Fought said. “It’s a unique piece of land with lake views and rolling terrain, and we will be doing what it allows us without having to move a lot of dirt. It will be the perfect complement to Windsong Farm Golf Club.”
The new course will be ready for play summer 2024.
Partnering on the design is Duininck Golf, which has completed new course, renovation and irrigation installation projects throughout the United States while working alongside many well-known golf course architects such as Fought. With offices in Delano, Minn., and Atlanta, Ga., Duininck Golf also partnered with Fought on the Windsong Farm Golf Club bunker and course renovation, plus the double-ended practice facility.
“John Fought brings both creativity and tremendous golf knowledge to a project with his past professional playing experience,” Judd Duininck, general manager of golf for Duininck Golf, said of the two-time winner on the PGA Tour and former U.S. Amateur champion. “Our partnership on past projects is a key part to the success of the project.”
A premier private golf club, Windsong Farm is home to the Gopher Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota men’s golf team, and served as host to the 117th Trans-Mississippi Amateur, played in July 2021. The second course will make Windsong Farm the lone 36-hole private facility in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro market, with a population of nearly 3.7 million.
When completed, it will feature an interesting collection of six par-3 holes, eight par-4s, and four par-5s, with 13 of them accented by views of Fox Lake. While the par-70 course will be shorter in distance than the original 7,550-yard layout, Fought cautions that it won’t necessarily be easier.
“This second course will play tougher than people might think as length is not the only factor in determining difficulty,” Fought said. “Playing strategies will very much come into play here. Plus, the 18th will be a ‘Cape’ hole — a long, 483-yard par 4 that plays around the lake.”
Fought does compare the new course — to be constructed on a 125-acre tract of rolling farmland, forests, and wetlands — to a classic layout in the mold of icons Seth Raynor or Harry Colt. In fact, Fought took great inspiration for his current project from a recent visit to Shoreacres Golf Club near Chicago, an original Raynor design that is a perennial “Golf Digest 100 Greatest” course.
“This will be like creating a course from the early 1900s but with a modern infrastructure,” Fought said. “This is open, rolling land with natural, native areas that are fescue and gives us the opportunity to integrate several old-style holes into the mix. I’m thrilled to be working with the talented teams at Windsong Farm and Duininck Golf on what promises to be an exciting addition to the Minnesota golf scene.”
Along with bentgrass fairways, grass-faced bunkers, and wide corridors, the course will feature a Biarritz 4th hole green with a long swale in the middle, a double green, and a Redan hole. Plus, Fought will incorporate an Eden hole, widely considered one of the best hole designs in the game of golf. The original Eden hole debuted at the 11th at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
“This is really exciting for our members because they’ll be able to play two completely different, high-quality golf courses,” said Jon Dailing, superintendent at Windsong GC since 2018. “John knows this entire property so well and has done a great job studying where the new course will be built. He’s very creative and there will be a lot of history built into his design.”