Mississippi National Golf Links – Golf Above The Big Muddy
By R.J. Smiley
In the days before interstate highways, America’s rivers were the most efficient ways to travel and transport goods from producers to consumers. From the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul on the north end to the port city of New Orleans on the south end, communities, located along the Mississippi River prospered, then grew into towns and finally cities. In addition to the freight hauling barges, the mighty Mississippi carried an expanding number of passengers who wanted to experience life on the river. Passenger traffic on the paddle wheelers picked up each year as the heat of summer and harvest time turned to crisp autumn days and the trees along the river preformed their magic kaleidoscope of color – different with every turn in the river.
Red Wing, Minnesota was a bustling little city before the end of the 1800s. However, the once vibrant community has struggled to gain a new identity for the past half century. What was once a community based on river commerce has become a resort destination. The little city has become united with one common goal: To give visitors to Red Wing the best recreational experience found anywhere. The Mississippi River provides an infinite variety of water sports from paddle boarding to trophy fishing. The bird watching is extraordinary during migration season and eagles congregate during winter, fishing the always-open waters. The nifty little shops along Red Wing’s historic streets will sidetrack shoppers as afternoon melts lazily into evening. The variety of fine dining restaurants is sure to please any palate. And, of course the Red Wing area has some really fine golf courses.
New Management Group With A “RIGHT” Attitude
Mississippi National Golf Links, once a busy golf club, which has suffered with too many golf courses opening in the area, has been leased by a small group of members that have been playing at Mississippi National since its opening in 1985. These civic-minded citizens, who formed Red Wing Municipal Golf Corporation, a 501C3 corporation (Not For Profit), bring a new attitude to public golf. They view golf as another rung on the ladder of recreational amenities.
Who ever heard of a golf course being owned and operated not-to-make-a-profit? It is true! That is their attitude. All money made will be reinvested in the facility with the goal of it being a top of the line public golf facility. Now with all 36 holes open and in near perfect condition, golfers are returning to this wonderful old course along the river.
Fall Color “Play ‘Em All” – 36 Noteworthy Holes For Only $69
The new owners of Mississippi National want to bring golfers to their course to experience the same adventure of “fall wonders of nature”. Not from a paddle wheeler, but from the seat of a golf cart. Management wants to give golfers a full day of fine golf, eagle watching and the opportunity to experience the most vivid colors found anywhere. The Play ‘Em All promotion lets golfers play all 36 noteworthy holes with golf cart for only $69 per person.
Mississippi National has two distinctly unique 18-hole golf courses. These siblings, known as The Highlands and The Lowlands, give golfers a first hand look at the diversity found in golf course design. Few places on earth contain the variety of panoramic views, sense of history and quality golf as Mississippi National.
The Lowlands is a traditional, parkland, golf course that can be played from a variety of tees. A golf escapade onto the Lowlands allow golfers to play a good golf course and experience the usual variety of trees, water and dog-legs found on most top rated golf courses. But the first episode of golf on the Highlands course is like a thrill ride at an amusement park. It is hard to keep your mind on the fine points of your golf swing while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the Mississippi River bluffs. The experience includes not only looking at the bluffs but in playing among and up and down the centuries old earth’s scar that was carved by the river.
No matter how many times you play The Highlands, the 17th hole, a true signature hole, will take your breath away. The dramatic drop in elevation causes some golfers to get that hollow feeling in their stomach, like looking over the edge of the Grand Canyon.
If 36 holes are too many for one day, the community oriented Red Wing area-lodging establishments have created a variety of Stay and Play packages. The St. James Hotel, Nichols Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Best Western and AmericInn all have an affiliation with Mississippi National. If time is not a limiting factor, plan on spending a few days in Red Wing playing fall golf and gaining an understanding of the history of the Big Muddy.