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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Cragun's 2016

Fairways & Greens
June 23, 2017

The Bluffs At Coffee Mill - Wake Up Call
The Bluffs at Coffee Mill #3 Salad Bowl Green
+ click to enlarge
The Bluffs at Coffee Mill #3 Salad Bowl Green
The Bluffs at Coffee Mill #17 looking down to the future green
+ click to enlarge
The Bluffs at Coffee Mill #17 looking down to the future green
By E. Nolan

If coffee isn't enough to wake you up, add a little golf. It works in Wabasha, Minnesota - the nexus on picturesque Highway 61 between the Twin Cities and La Crosse, Wisconsin (an hour drive each way).

Six years ago, when new ownership took over Coffee Mill Golf Course, on the cliffs over Wabasha, they made it a point to emphasize three things. 1. They have some of the most amazing golf views on the entire Mississippi River. 2. They are open to the public for golf AND (fabulous) dining. And 3. The name of the course needed to be more dramatic - more emblematic of the actual playing experience. Enter...The Bluffs at Coffee Mill.

Yes, you are playing golf on the edge of the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River Valley. Whether or not you know anything about the incredible beauty of the Wabasha area, you have to find value in an experience that provides you with miles of views from many vantage points on the course. You can imagine how such a setting might be ideal for weddings and banquets, and it definitely is, (more on that later) but for dinner and playing golf??? Well, you've got to read more now, don't you?

Irrigated by well water, with great, natural drainage, the course's elevation isn't subject to the taxing tolls of dry weather and/or drought conditions (as many other area courses are), allowing the maintenance staff to keep the fairways and greens lush and healthy. With many wooded and stone elements enhancing the golf-play avenues throughout the course, and several incredible panoramic stops perfectly suited for selfies, the beauty of The Bluffs is capitalized on the course, and appreciated even more pre or post-round from the clubhouse patio (a great spot to take in live music and gorgeous sunsets, toss bean bags, and to dine/socialize with family and friends). Check out their Event Calendar on the website for monthly updated appearances.

I've played the course many times, so I can attest to the high quality in the consistency of the course conditioning. I've sat on the patio and absorbed the food and breathtaking views. This isn't a course built on hype. Great fun as the course is, ownership isn't telling you it's perfect. They've invested a great deal in opening up more views, improving the playability, and cleaning up the property, but this is a course that is built foremost on love and beauty. The owners are telling you there is plenty to love here, and that there are few places in the state of Minnesota where it is more beautiful to play golf.

Downplay the actual golf, as they humbly may, I have to say there are a number of fantastic holes on each nine. I love the par 3, 3rd hole, with the halo-mound of rough encircling the green, and the par 3, 7th hole, with the carry over the protective pond. The 9th hole is a fun up-and-down finisher to the front nine, taking you back to the savory smells emanating from the clubhouse, and then the back side gets downright wild.

I'll provide a little more round detail than normal on this side, because it has so many fun shots. #10 and #11 are side-by-side roller coaster rides, with #11 providing some cool snapshots of the signature silo and pond-guarded green. #12 is as long and skinny as golf holes get, with trouble on both sides. The short par 3, 14th hole has another pond in play and then you get to the hole that most consider their favorite on the course - the hole with the most spectacular views - the par 3, 17th. You can't really appreciate the beauty from the tee, but pause on the green and look around you (take that selfie). These are the "Million Dollar Views" that June is talking about. #17 is so distracting that many overlook the greatness of the finishing hole at The Bluffs. Don't be part of that crowd.

The friendly staff is eager to assist in any way, keeping cold beer glasses full, and great hot food rolling out of The Bluff View Grille. (Weekly specials like their taco-inspired "Tack Burger" have no trouble keeping the local foodies enticed!) Though very much a public-access facility, The Bluffs at Coffee Mill excels at catering to private events like weddings, banquets, and corporate outings. In fact, they were voted Couples Choice Awards in 2016 for Weddings. Bring a photographer with great skills out here and their pictures will pretty much be unparalleled. June, one of the owners, is proud that The Bluffs is considered the premier area host for special events. "Our Award-winning chef, first-class service, and million-dollar views are here to make your perfect day possible."

Be a part of the crowd that appreciates everything The Bluffs at Coffee Mill have become for the golfer, local and/or diner. This is a club with plenty for everyone to love.

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