Refurbished clubhouse opens at former Tartan Park site

Arnie’s restaurant, located in the clubhouse at the Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, is now open for business. Aundrea Kinney photos/ Review

Seating is available both indoors and outdoors with a view of Horseshoe Lake. Aundrea Kinney photos/ Review

Although golfers don’t need to be residents of the club to enjoy the amenities, there will be perks to living on site, such as meals being prepared at the clubhouse and delivered to club homes. Aundrea Kinney photos/Review

Construction is underway on the east side of the Royal Golf Club property where 73 upscale homes will be built, with views of the newly remodeled clubhouse, the 18-hole golf course and Horseshoe Lake. Aundrea Kinney photos/Review

Hole Two, designed by Annika Sorenstam, is a par 5 hole featuring both an elevated tee and green.

Professional golfer Arnold Palmer, seen seated, last visited the Royal Golf Club August 2016, while he was designing the back nine holes of the course. He and club owner Hollis Cavner, center left, were friends for 25 years. submitted photo

The Royal Golf Club, formerly Tartan Park, opened its newly refurbished clubhouse and restaurant to the public Aug. 25, after over a year of remodeling. 

The 18-hole public golf course designed by professional golfers Annika Sörenstam and Arnold Palmer is expected to open next spring.

The 428-acre, $365 million development is located on Horseshoe Lake, off 20th Street North in Lake Elmo. 

3M owned the property from 1958 to March 2016, when it was sold to Hollis Cavner, CEO of ProLinks Sports and HC Golf Course Development, LLC. 3M first opened the golf course to its employees in 1963, and to help bring in more revenue, 3M decided to expand the private golf course’s admission to the public in 2012. The property has remained closed since 3M shut down Tartan Park in December, 2015.

The new clubhouse sits on the original 26,000 square-foot footprint despite extensive remodeling. It includes a restaurant, meeting and event rooms and a golf shop, which are now all open for business.


‘Family-friendly’ food

Arnie’s, the full-service casual dining restaurant at the clubhouse, offers indoor and patio seating.

Led by head chef Dennis Dahl, who has more than 30 years of experience as a country club chef, the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch, lunch and dinner on weekends.

The patio seating area looks out on Horseshoe Lake as well as the first and tenth holes of the course.

“We intend to create a family-friendly dining experience that complements the vision that Arnold Palmer and Annika Sörenstam intended with their design of our golf course,” Dahl said in a statement.

He noted that the restaurant “will seek to use organic and locally grown ingredients wherever possible too.”

The clubhouse also features numerous rooms that can serve as a place where local companies and community organizations can host meetings. 

Since the sale of the property, ten weddings have been booked.


Amenities to come

Future planned amenities for the clubhouse include a private fitness center and pool, three miles of walking/running trails and two miles of rustic wooded trails, as well as a park for children. 

In addition to the amenities at the clubhouse, the Royal Golf Club also is in the process of constructing the first of four phases of an upscale housing development on the property. This phase, which includes 73 homes located on the east side of the property with views of the clubhouse, golf course and Horseshoe Lake.

Executive Sales Director Jim Boo says the offerings include two different golf villas as well as single family lots, and about 75 percent of the homes already have families committed to purchasing them. 

Phase one of the development is scheduled for final plat approval Sept. 5, Boo added.


Waiting for the grass 

to grow

According to Jim Leary, director of golf, the practice area and six-hole short course are expected to open this fall. However, golfers will have to wait for the grass to grow before they can test out the 18-hole course.

“It is complete, but we’re letting it sit and we’re letting it grow. The more mature it gets now, the better it will be when we open,” Leary explained. “There was no construction snag or anything like that. We’re just trying to do it right rather than do it in a hurry to make a dollar.”

Although Tartan Park’s 27-hole course has been reduced to an 18-hole course, the front nine, called ‘The Queen’s Nine,’ were designed by Sörenstam and the back nine, called ‘The King’s Nine,’ were designed by Palmer before his death last September.

Leary noted that Palmer’s last visit to the course was in August, 2016, six weeks before he passed away.

“He and Hollis have a 25 year friendship,” Leary said and added that the friends had been talking about this project for almost a decade before it came to fruition. 

Although the prices to golf had not been finalized before press time, Leary was able to share that the prices will be competitive with StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater and Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury. Annual memberships will be available and golfers do not have to be living in the golf community to enjoy the course.

For more information about the Royal Golf Club, visit


Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or


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