Fore! A Review of the PGA MSP Airport Lounge

Written by on August 1, 2017 in Trip Reviews

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A recent layover at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport gave me a chance to sample one the newest additions to the Priority Pass network: PGA MSP, a golf-themed airport lounge complete with putting green and virtual driving ranges!

Not into golf? The food and beverage options offer an interesting alternative to Delta‘s Sky Clubs and neighboring Escape Lounge across the way.

PGA MSP Airport Lounge – The New Priority Pass Lounge at MSP

The Escape Lounge is no longer a Priority Pass club — the only complimentary access is through an American Express Platinum or Centurion card. That’s kind of a kick in the teeth to Priority Pass holders who buy memberships outright or receive them through other cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserved credit card or Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card. It’s nice that Priority Pass members who didn’t their memberships through Amex again have a lounge at MSP.

PGA MSP Airport Lounge Location and Hours

You’ll find PGA MSP near the E concourse in the main terminal. It’s an easy walk from the C and D concourse entries, as well.

The club is on the third/mezzanine level — above French Meadow Bakery and Ike’s restaurant.

A view outside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge, as seen from the main course atrium at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership.

There are two ways to get up to PGA MSP:

A view of the entrance options to the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge, as seen from the main course atrium at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Take these stairs —

A view of the entrance stairs outside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge, as seen from the main course atrium at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be access is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

— or the elevator inside Ike’s restaurant.

A sign directing guests to an elevator leading to the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge is seen from the main course atrium at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. (Click for a larger image.)

A view of the elevator to Champion' Grille by Ike's and the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

The elevator across the way to Escape Lounge does not lead to the PGA MSP entrance.

Members can enter between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m Saturday & Sunday. (We were there almost until 8 p.m. and didn’t see them kicking anyone out or ceasing service.) These are the posted hours on Priority Pass’s website. I couldn’t find anything on PGA MSP’s site.

PGA MSP Airport Lounge Entrance and Check-In

Priority Pass and Lounge Club members check in at the front desk.

A view of the entrance to the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

When my wife and I presented our respective Priority Pass membership cards, we each received two $15 vouchers/coupons good towards either food and beverage or a golf experience.

Food and beverage coupons/vouchers are displayed on a table inside PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Vouchers/coupon cannot be combined across both. In other words, your coupon can’t be used toward a burger and a virtual driving range session. You’re welcome to spend more than your $15 credit — but are responsible for the outstanding balance. Vouchers expire the same day you visit and can’t be applied toward gratuity. (If you need WiFi, the PGA MSP WiFi network name and password are printed on the vouchers.)

Food and beverage-wise, vouchers can be redeemed at Champions’ Grille (below) — which is actually separate from the lounge experience — or inside the lounge itself.

A view of Champions' Grille and bar at the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Need to spruce up your golf wardrobe? You might enjoy perusing PGA MSP’s pro shop.

Golf merchandise is displayed at the pro shop inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Inside the PGA MSP Airport Lounge

A PGA MSP employee personally escorted us down this hall —

Ping golf clubs and bags are displayed inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

— and into the lounge.

The whole experience was a little trippy — we felt like people who crashed some country club inside an airport. (PGA MSP is actually a members-only facility)

The first feature we encountered was a bar and several television screens (and a Purell dispenser, which photobombed my shot!).

A view of the bar inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

I’ll say this early and often: there are no complimentary drinks or snacks at PGA MSP. Most airport lounges offer at least complimentary well drinks, sodas, and some bar snacks. There’s nothing of the sort here.

Just past the bar is a sitting room with televisions, chairs and a sofa. We saw a few scattered power outlets — but device recharging certainly isn’t a strength of the PGA MSP. Golf programming, naturally, was playing on each TV.

Immediately behind the television area is a large putting green with several holes. Concourse E and runway 30R/12L provide a nice backdrop (I’ve enjoyed views from similar locations at MSP — but without the ground stop-inducing thunderstorm seen in these pictures. It’s really a pretty sight).

A view of the E concourse at MSP airport and a putting green as seen from inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Don’t worry if you didn’t bring a putter. PGA MSP probably has your size waiting for you.

A putting green and putters are seen inside PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Neither my wife nor I golf (I did in a past life — long story). But both of us were still awed by the half dozen golf simulators. The manager told us some travelers purposely route itineraries through Minneapolis just to tee up at PGA MSP.

A view of a golf simulator inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

A view of a golf simulator inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

We also found a ski-ball simulator!

A view of a ski-ball simulator inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Simulators can be rented for 30 minutes ($40) or 60 minutes ($60).

PGA instructors are on hand to give lessons for 15 minutes ($35) or 30 minutes (with tech) for $75.

Just want to whack some balls at the driving range? 15 minutes will run you $20. Or spend another $5 and double your time to 30 minutes.

Need to change clothes? You can use one of two rooms named after golf legends.

A view of the Ben Hogan Room inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

A view of the Walter Hagen Room inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Unless we missed something, there’s only one restroom for the lounge. It’s a unisex/gender-neutral loo you’ll find between by the Hagen and Hogan rooms.

A view of the restroom inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

Food & Beverage at the PGA MSP Airport Lounge

We were hungry for dinner and used our vouchers for the Ike’s restaurant food that PGA MSP serves.

PGA MSP’s website advertises this menu — but we were offered the full Ike’s selection. We’ve eaten at the downtown Minneapolis and airport Ike’s locations a few times. The food is quite good — and we were excited about each having a $15 credit.

Remember, though, there are no complimentary beverages (except water — probably). So if you want something to drink with your meal, that’s coming out of your $15 credit voucher. Conversely, the neighboring Escape Lounge offers menu service (and premium snacks) — but also has complimentary cocktails and sodas.

Both of us ordered club sodas — which ran $3.95 each. (Refills were free.)

My wife ordered the Beef Quesadillas and I had the Wine Soaked Mushroom and Swiss Burger.

The quesadillas were crunchy on the inside and soft inside — earning an enthusiastic thumbs-up from my wife.

A view of Ike's Quesadilla from the Champions' Grille inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

I asked that my burger be cooked medium-rare.

It arrived well done.

Nonetheless, the sandwich was good; it was soaked in red wine — how bad could it be? (Fun aside: twice I’ve ordered medium rare burgers at MSP. They’ve been well done both times.)

A view of Ike's Wine Soaked Mushroom and Swiss Burger from the Champions' Grille inside the PGA MSP golf-themed airport lounge at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the ways the lounge can be accessed is with Priority Pass membership. (Click for a larger image.)

The fries were a little extra crispy but still decent.

Our food and beverage total (after vouchers and before tip) came to $12. That’s not bad for two people eating full meals — especially at an airport, much less Ike’s.

Had we ordered even one cocktail each, though, the total would have been much higher.

Very much worth mentioning: the staff was very helpful, pleasant, and attentive.

19th Hole: Quick Summary of PGA MSP Airport Lounge

PGA MSP is a nice, unique airport lounge. It’s clean and comfortable. Despite PGA MSP’s website advertising “ample power outlets,” we found that wasn’t the case. (Though I guess “ample” is a rather subjective term). The staff is great and the golf offerings looked like a blast.

If you have a Priority Pass, it’s definitely a good option. But hold an Amex Platinum (or higher) card, though, the Escape Lounge and Delta Sky Clubs definitely win out in terms of complimentary offerings. Sure, $15 credit is great — but doesn’t stretch very far when you consider beverages aren’t included and there are no snacks.

The only time I might consider coming back is if I’m jonesing for Ike’s food (or want to putt a few balls for fun). Honestly, I can get a plated meal at Escape Lounge for the same or better price — and a club soda won’t run me four bucks.

The hours leave something to be desired. We ducked out before the 8 p.m. closing — and after blowing through our $15 credits — and headed to Escape Lounge (which was partially closed for maintenance) and the Delta Sky Club.

Have You Teed Up at the PGA MSP Airport Lounge?

Have you visited PGA MSP? Taken some swings? Stopped by just for an Arnold Palmer? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

 

 

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About the Author

About the Author:

Chris Carley is a writer, media consultant, voice over artist, dog owner, husband, and recently became a dad! He loves talking all things points and miles.

You’ll likely find him in an airport lounge while on a trip that involves the most circuitous route possible leading to his ultimate destination.

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