North Star Golf Club is located roughly 5 miles outside the city of Fairbanks. It is a standard par 72, 18 hole track that sits on a high plain above the Chena Valley and overlooks the city of Fairbanks, AK. North Star's claim to fame it that it is the Northernmost USGA-sanctioned golf course in the United States.
I was in town for a wedding and on a whim, decided to brave the weather (it had drizzled and rained for 3 days) to check it out. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by the course and the facilities. The Clubhouse is minimal but it has enough room to feed roughly 24 golfers on a busy day, along with a pro desk and shopping items. They also rent clubs and have a package specifically designed for touring guests who want to squeeze in 18 holes at "the top of the world." Since my day started in drizzle, I decided to take a cart to stay dry. This proved to be a good choice because this course is far from flat. Even though it is situated on a high plain, the undulation of the fairways and greens were moderate to severe, so I was glad I had a cart to get me around the course. The course is also quite long so the cart allowed me to complete my round in under 4 hours, but then again, I was the ONLY golfer out there until later in the day when the rain stopped.
The hole layout itself, is not challenging, being somewhat of a links-style arrangement. But the course played tough because of several reasons. The fairways were difficult to identify on most holes. They do not get mowed daily and there is clover growing all over them so it's difficult to distinguish which way each hole goes unless it's a par 3. Another challenging aspect of the course were the greens. They were postage stamp small in most cases, making approach shots very challenging. Once on the green, three-putting was not uncommon due to the slow, unpredictable nature of the greens. They had not been rolled in some time (creating a washerboard effect) and they are also not cut tight like in the lower 48 states. This made them very unpredictable and this was easily the biggest mental challenge during my round. And while I would like to complain about what I would consider to be 'substandard' course conditions, I also find myself accepting the fact that it's golf. Every course will be different and this course was no different. The growing season is so short up here that it's difficult to maintain a course like they can where I live in MN and that being considered, I feel that the course was in fairly good shape.
What I will add is that what the course made up for in play quality, it definitely made up for in esthetic quality. The views were spectacular, with mountains all around, and it was easy to relax and just play. Occasionally, I even caught a glimpse of a moose or two wandering across the fairways and saw numerous bald eagles floating in the sky above.
Overall, this course was a great diversion during my trip. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a challenging round of golf in a beautiful setting!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.