Red Wing Golf Course – Short And Sweet
By E. Nolan
Perhaps it’s a bit odd to introduce one golf course by introducing three (all under the same ownership). If you live in the Twin Cities and haven’t heard of the River Valley Golf Trail, you should look it up. Right now. Three courses just southeast of the metro – all in the Red Wing, Cannon Falls, Prescott area – all partnered together and positioned for easy access, and even easier Stay & Play package combinations.
The split introduction works, because you can’t appreciate the convenience and experience of The Trail by just playing one course. They’re all different. I recommend playing them all in one weekend, or to make three quick trips to play them.
Red Wing Golf Course, established in 1915, is 30-50 minutes from many metro locations. I used to make a 36-hole day of it with The Jewel in Lake City, only 20 miles away. I didn’t fall out of love with The Jewel, just that I fell more in love with playing more golf for less money.
Red Wing Golf Course isn’t long – tipping out, as a Par 71, at only 6,200 yards – but there is plenty of challenge. I also want to make it clear that while other courses seem to struggle with early season conditioning, that hasn’t been the case at Red Wing Golf Course. SUPER-intendent Brent Doerhoefer already has the course in mid-season form!
I appreciate the course more for the panoramic views provided by some of the great elevated tees, the rolling fairways and the occasionally wild contours of the greens. It’s certainly a brand of “target golf,” where accuracy off the tee and approach shot is very much at a premium, but you don’t ever feel “confined.” Besides, those who love to play among the trees, inundated by nature, will enjoy the walks and rides up and down these fairways and the views of the bluffs constantly remind you just how close you are to the mighty Mississippi River. The course certainly affords the city golfer a country serenity – a comforting escape from the everyday grind.
Management has put a lot of detailed work into the course the past few years, reshaping bunkers and adding new equipment to smooth and speed up the greens. The front nine is a fast, but comfortable start to the round, with many of the holes feeling downhill. They’re tight, but pretty, especially the Par 3, 4th hole with the beautiful pond. Time after time, I find the 7th hole (360 yard, Par 4) to be my favorite on the front nine, even though the pond left of the green produces my only pull shots of the day. It’s worth repeating that the relative shortness of the course doesn’t bother me in the least. Full swings aren’t always necessary and clubbing down a bit lets you take on a lot of different shots. Those are factors worth appreciating in my book.
It’s no secret to anyone who has read my earlier Red Wing stories, that the back nine is my preferred nine here – essentially how every course should be. There are plenty of doglegs and vary in design to never feel monotonous. The 10th hole is a fantastic downhill Par 3, to an undulating green. You’ll notice the next few holes climb up, up, up… all with the intent of getting you to what many claim as the highlight of their round (at the highest point of the course). That 16th tee shot is both pretty and fun.
Another highlight of the Red Wing experience will be the NEW Nineteen Bar & Grill – a great place to unwind after a round. They’re opening a new full-service kitchen this year, with great daily specials, big-screen TVs and a casual menu in a pub setting. And, in keeping with the “NEW,” golf groups can take advantage of the 4 bed, 5 bath rental property called The Walsh House right off the 18th green. The clubhouse is undergoing a major expansion doubling in size to properly accommodate wedding, golf and groups of up to 300 people!
You can play Red Wing Golf Course on a weekend in peak season for $46 with cart included. Keep an eye on their website for special deals. They partner with hotels like the St. James Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, AmericInn and Nichols Inn in town to cover all your bases. Mark it on the map and make your way to Red Wing Golf Course to tee it up!