Nestled in the heart of Crosslake, and combining the beauty of the area with the recreation of golf, is Crosswoods Golf Course. Mike and Kelly Stone are the second-generation owners of the course, a facility that includes 27 holes, two mini-golf courses and practice facilities.
Crosswoods is a family operation. Mike explained that his parents, both teachers, visited Crosslake on their honeymoon and fell in love with the area. They bought property and opened a mini golf course in Crosslake in 1968. That endeavor was expanded into an amusement park for several years, with bumper cars and a train. In the mid-1980s, though, the focus was shifted back to golf as an executive course was added. Since Mike’s father is a golf pro and coached high school golf, the change made perfect sense.
Mike helped with the course through high school, and later returned with his wife and kids to be a part of the business. Today the business continues to be a family one. Mike’s brother-in-law is the course’s superintendent and cares for the land, while Mike and Kelly’s daughters, Alexandra and Savannah, manage the mini golf and work in the pro shop, respectively.
After taking over, Mike and Kelly added a par 36 championship golf course that cemented Crosswoods’ focus on golf, mini golf and the driving range. They were one of the first businesses to build on County Road 3 east of the junction with County Road 66, though now that area is one of Crosslake’s main drags. Mike’s love for being out on the course has fueled Crosswoods’ drive for high-quality golf, as well as several course additions.
“To me, working on the course is just as fun as golfing itself,” Mike said. He loves designing courses, and he designed many of Crosswoods’ holes and did much of the earth work himself. When designing the course, Mike said he spent a lot of time walking the land to learn how he could use its natural elements to their best advantages.
“I like to work with the land,” Mike said, “to visualize what a golf hole could look like with the existing landscape, rather than forcing my will upon it and moving a lot of dirt.”
He kept many of the old-growth trees on the property and made every effort to protect both local wetlands and native wildlife, while still making a course that’s fun to play and naturally beautiful. Crosswoods is built up against a wildlife refuge, so there are few houses surrounding the greens. Though it’s right in town, much of the course feels like it’s out in the woods.
In 2016, Crosswoods opened its third set of 9 holes, bringing the total holes at the course to 27. Mike said he made around 100 different layouts before he decided on what would work best for the course. The 2016 expansion was one of only a few new golf projects in the entire state that year.
To keep things fresh for Crosswoods players, Crosswoods rotates which two nines golfers play each day. With three different combinations of holes, golfers can feel as though they’re playing three different courses. The setup also allows for league play on nine holes while allowing non-league players to use the other 18.
Crosswoods’ complex includes two mini golf courses, Whistling Wolf and Dark Moon. Whistling Wolf represents a more traditional model of 18-hole mini golf, including all the fun features known to those who love mini golf.
Once Whistling Wolf was established, the Stones wanted to add something new and different. Dark Moon was the result. Dark Moon is a “mega mini golf” course, meaning that the holes are oversized and there are three pin positions at each hole. Having three pin positions means that each hole can be played in three unique ways. It makes the 9-hole course more like a 27-hole course.
“I think it’s the only course in the US that has a set up like that,” Mike said. He found the idea through extensive research, including contacting mini golf courses in Australia to learn more about mega mini golf.
Crosswoods’ two mini golf courses, driving range, practice facilities and 27 holes are situated on 200 acres of land. Many don’t realize that the land abuts Crosslake’s two main roads, County Road 3 and County Road 66, creating a nice green space through the community.
Crosswoods also likes to give back to its community, including through a summertime junior golf and pizza league that includes around 50 kids annually. For five Mondays a summer, Crosswoods’ staff along with volunteers help coach junior players on the game and enjoy some pizza.
In 2008, Crosswoods added a restaurant and bar that’s been popular with their players. The restaurant offers a place for players to socialize and refuel after a round. Of all Crosswoods’ amenities, though, the Stones say that it’s their helpful and welcoming staff that make Crosswoods so popular among its regular golfers- whether they are visitors to the area, league players or year-round residents.
At Crosswoods, golfers find not just the Stones’ welcoming staff, but a course that celebrates the area’s beauty with green grass and tall trees covering 27 holes, two mini golf courses and practice amenities.
Crosswoods Golf Course
35878 County Road 3, Crosslake
36006 County Road 66, Crosslake