Classic Performance At New Richmond Golf Club
By Rhett Arens
There’s a very comfortable air about the New Richmond Golf Club. It’s akin to pulling up to your favorite uncle’s house for a day of family fun. Maybe it’s the classic country club architecture of the two-level clubhouse, or the small town manners and friendly smiles. Whatever it is, it provides a feeling of familiarity and excitement at the same time, a perfect blend. If you don’t notice it when you pull in, you will when you sit down on the upper deck patio to stretch those legs after a round with a cold Spotted Cow in front of you… after all, this is Wisconsin. Before we get too comfy, let’s remember we’re here for the swings and the New Richmond Golf Club has everything you would want with 27 holes of golf. This includes the classic tree-lined, river enhanced, undulated 18-hole ‘Old Course’ paired with a newer links styled reversible 9-hole Links Course that commands a whole different approach to scoring. Throw in a practice facility second to none, some impeccable landscaping, a friendly staff with value pricing and you have a superb golf operation.
The captain at the helm of this western Wisconsin operation is GM and PGA Golf Professional Todd Kueppers. Keep in mind he is steering two ships. The Old Course, which incorporates the classic clubhouse, is situated on the original 170+ acres with an incredible variety of landscape. The showpiece within the design is the serpentine Willow River which winds through the property popping into play at just the right (or wrong) moments. It is impossible to ignore through a stretch of holes on the front side, namely #4, #5 and #7 where it’s been known to swallow up a few golf balls in its day. Set up at 6,727 yards from the back tees, you will need to keep that driver on-line to have any shot at approaching a personal best score on this course. The middle tees are more forgiving at 6,344 yards and smartly there are two levels of combined tees that shorten those yardages even more. The front set come in at 5,266 yards. In summary, there is plenty of options for all skill levels, while remaining a challenge for everyone.
Some call it the new course because it opened in 1998, but its official title is The Links Course. A completely different golf experience from the tall trees on the Old Course, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. You will drive by it as you approach the original Old Course. This reversible 9-hole par 36 Links course is a great compliment to the Old Course with a tough personality all its own. It’s definitely not an executive course, in fact, it plays longer than the front nine on the Old Course. Designed by Joel Goldstrand to replicate the classic Scottish links courses you will find yourself putting on large greens, avoiding large waste bunkers and fighting those prevailing westerly winds that need to be factored into your club selection. Like the Old Course, the Links Course will test your abilities and provides a fair test for all skill levels. There is a cozy bar at the Links clubhouse, just like those Scottish courses overseas.
Named in honor of the former New Richmond Golf Club club pro who passed away much too early in his late 30’s, the Joe Swanda Learning Center is widely considered the best practice facility east of the Twin Cities, and was voted “The Best Practice Facility in Western Wisconsin.” The facility has an astounding 32 hitting stations with 320 yards of length allowing full-swing warm-ups with every club in your bag. There is also a gigantic 8,000 sq. ft. putting green joined by a 4,000 sq. ft. pitching green. After dialing in everything you need for your pre-round routine you should probably get some greenside bunker practice in, don’t worry the Learning Center has you covered there as well.
While out playing the course or practicing don’t be surprised if you run into Todd out and about. As I’m sure any of the members will attest, he is a hands-on ship captain and hard-wired to ‘serve people’ which is what any of us want when we arrive at a golf course. That mindset has worked its way through his staff and is reflected in the solid membership numbers that have swelled in recent years. Several other reasons for this positive trend could be the use of outside consultants (the USGA agronomist staff) to continuously improve the on-course conditions and the fact that the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge will have you pulling into New Richmond 10 minutes after crossing the river.
No wonder we get that comfortable, upbeat vibe as were loading our riding carts (which are equipped with built-in coolers and club/ball washers). Todd is looking after you and has your back. It’s a good time to jump over the river and enjoy some of that classic Wisconsin golf – and maybe even a tasty Spotted Cow.