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Luverne Country Club is an excellent 9-hole getaway

LUVERNE -- There is a little bit of everything for golfers at the Luverne Country Club.

Golfers will encounter water, sand, trees and very difficult greens on this nine-hole course. Tucked just outside of Luverne, the LCC is a round of golf that will give you an opportunity to use many skills you won't need at other courses.

The LCC provides a test for golfers of all ages and abilities, but will challenge even the most talented ball strikers.

During this round, the sun beat down upon golfers, but a slight breeze helped cool a muggy day. Many trees provide shade, and a well-placed pop machine provided relief at just the right time.

First impressions: In the outskirts of town, finding the course can be difficult if you've never been there before. But once you find the course, it is very inviting. As you turn left down the road, the driving range is on the left, with the course on the right. The clubhouse is well-kept, and the course is green and well groomed.

Hole 1: Par 4 404/392/304 yds

The first hole is a good hole to start your round on. It's a straight away par-4, and isn't overly long. It will play over 400 yards at its longest, but generally speaking, it provides a great opportunity to wake up the golfing muscles. The toughest part of this hole is up by the green. There are sand traps on the left and back right of the green. There is a small pocket that resembles a sand-less bunker on the left front. Small hills on the right side of the fairway as you approach the green can make shots difficult. The green itself is pretty wide and not very deep, making shots to the surface tougher. The left side of the green is higher elevation, so make sure you are on the correct place on the green when hitting your approach shot. If you are not, expect a two or three putt.

Hole 2: Par 5 496/489/379 yds

After starting relatively easy, the second hole gives you a chance to really rip on a driver. As a long par-5, the second tee off has a well placed tree on the right side, forcing a left-side drive. Trees line both sides of the fairway, so being straight off the tee is crucial. A bunker lines the entire back side of the green, so under no circumstance should you be long. The green itself is peanut shaped, and slopes from back to front. The key on this hole is making sure you hit the ball straight, and being short of the green is the best position. Otherwise, hope you can play out of the sand from the back side of the green.

Hole 3: Par 3 172/167/96 yds

The third is a fun par-3. When looking at the green from the tee, the first thing you'll notice is the water and fountain on the left. Trees line the right, so there isn't a lot of room to miss left or right. The hole isn't incredibly long, especially from the closest tees. The green is huge, so notice where the pin is located. Your club selection could depend on whether the pin is in the front or the backside of the green. The key on this hole is making sure you select the correct club in correlation to where the pin is, but more importantly, hitting a straight shot off the tee.

Hole 4: Par 4 434/414/349 yds

The water on the left of three is still a threat on the fourth hole. This time, it's on the left side, but juts out far enough that it will come into play. It is about 150 yards to carry the water, so a good drive should keep your ball dry. However, the problems aren't done yet. There is a sand trap straight away, so being too straight and far will leave you on the beach. It is 249 yards from tee to sand, so there is a nice landing area before you'll have to play out of the hazard. Once you are past the water, the hole is a dog-leg left. At 434 yards at its longest, it is still a long hole after the tee shot. There is sand on the front left and front right of the green creating a narrow area if you are trying to roll the ball on the green.

Hole 5: Par 4 424/402/298 yds

The par-4 fifth is a dog-leg right, and once again, it is a long hole past the turn. Being as close to the right side on the drive is best. This should give you the best shot at hitting the green on your next shot. A sand trap protects the right side of the green, and the green is tricky all its own. It is peanut shaped, and if the pin is in the back, it will make the hole play a lot more difficult. Hills protect the backside of the green, so definitely don't miss long. If the pin is in the back, don't miss left, or you will be rewarded with an impossible shot to the hole. If the pin is in the front, thank the grounds crew, because it is much more accessible and makes the hole easier.

Hole 6: Par 4 333/321/250 yds

The sixth is, yet again, a dog-leg right. The turn down to the hole is pretty severe, so the landing area is relatively small on this hole. Don't drive it long, or you will be in deep rough and trees will create an impossible shot back to the green. However, if you don't drive it far enough, making the turn to the green is almost impossible. If you are a big hitter, leaving the driver in the bag on this shot is probably a good idea. Once you have a shot to the green, a sand trap will stare at you from the right side. The back side of the green has a severe drop off to a corn field, so there's no room to miss long. The sixth plays as one of the toughest holes on the course, so a par on this hole is an excellent score.

Hole 7: Par 3 175/157/140 yds

The seventh hole offers some relief between two difficult holes. As a short par-3, bunkers make this hole difficult. The green is long and narrow, so being a little short is alright on this hole. There are hills on the back left and front right, so avoiding them is a good idea.

Hole 8: Par 5 547/525/413 yds

The eighth hole is a very long par-5. At 547 yards at its longest, this hole's length makes it difficult. It is a slight dog-leg left, but being long and straight is best. Trees line both sides of the fairway, so the landing area is relatively tight. There are big traps on the right and left side of the green, and hills off the back, so accuracy is crucial on approach shots. With this hole's length, chances are good that not many will hit this green in two, so eagles are almost out of the question.

Hole 9: Par 4 354/346/287 yds

After a tough eight holes, the ninth doesn't give you much relief. It is a slight dog-leg left, and plays decently short. The fairway has a hill half-way to the green, so being on top of the hill will give you the best shot to the green. Bunkers on the right, back left and front right make approach shots difficult. The green is rather large, leaving you with long putts from errant shots. It is possible to pick up one last birdie or par on your round, but it won't be easy.

Final impressions: The greens are possibly the fastest in the area. Not being prepared for their speed will wreak havoc on your nerves and your score. If you stick the ball on the green, the greens seem to hold the ball well, but if you are trying to roll the ball onto the surface, it is next to impossible to get the ball to stay.

The course is challenging, and will test you in many areas. On some holes you will have to be long and straight, while on others you will have to take a more strategic approach. The greens are by far the toughest part of the course, but don't take getting to the green for granted or your score will reflect some poor shots. Being able to recover from the sand will help you immensely on this course, because there is a good chance you will find a bunker or two before your round is over.

By playing a smart round and putting well, you will enjoy a challenging nine holes of golf on a very nice golf course.