Clifton Highlands Golf Club – Expect The Unexpected

By Tim Cotroneo

The summer season is flying by and you’ve yet to take your annual golf road trip. Clifton Highlands in Prescott, WI, offers a best of both worlds excursion for Midwest golfers seeking a fresh experience to their favorite game. Not only is Clifton Highlands a great retreat for golfers seeking top-flight conditions and exceptional value on your pocketbook, the course is just a 30- minute drive from St. Paul.

Tee Times regularly hears the Clifton Highlands name when golfers search for a venue that exceeds expectations. The course is especially ideal for spontaneous getaways that will have you back to work by mid-afternoon or home in time to complete chores before supper. What we discovered was a golf course experience that could be titled “Expect the Unexpected.”

Tee Times learned that Clifton Highlands has a rich history dating back to 1971. The course is easily a golf road trip that could turn into an annual event. Your 18-hole recommendation to play Clifton Highlands will have you looking like the smartest golfer in your foursome.

The Drive: Getting there is half the fun when making the trip to Clifton Highlands. After crossing the St. Croix River from Minnesota, take the second Hudson exit on Carmichael Road (County Road F). The next 13 miles may be your most interesting golf journey of the year.

You’ll pass not one, not two, but three horse farms. To your east you’ll also see a jersey cattle farm. About two-thirds of the way, you’ll pass through gorgeous Kinnickinnic State Park.

If you decide to make a short detour and take a left on County Road M, travel for one-quarter mile and check out what’s going on in this hobby farm’s front yard. On most mornings you’ll find at least a half dozen llamas frolicking around like school kids at recess.

A Great Buy: Just about every article you read on what the golf industry can do to grow the game discusses how greens fees can be an expensive proposition for the average golfer. If expense is a problem, then Clifton Highlands is the solution.

Most weekdays, Clifton Highlands’ rate is $41.00 including a cart. For seniors, greens fees are $29.50 cart included Monday – Friday before noon. These prices are for a golf course that places a premium on conditioning. The Highlands fairways and greens will make even the golf snob in your group nodding in appreciation.

Specials, Specials, Specials: Money Mondays have long been a favorite at Clifton Highlands. Not only are greens fees including cart just $28 for seniors and $35 for everyone else, you’ll be delighted to realize that there is an extra perk for choosing Monday as your Clifton Highlands golf date.

Everyone who plays golf on Monday has his or her name thrown into a hat. The lucky golfer whose name is drawn that evening not only wins $50 cash; they are also rewarded with free greens fees for their next Clifton Highlands round.

Wonderful Wednesdays will find golfers loving hump days. Play on Wednesday for only $33. This includes greens fees, cart, lunch, and your favorite beverage.

Bloody Mary Bar is always open. Clifton Highlands is home to Miss Mary’s Morning Elixir premium Bloody Mary mix. The mantra around the Highlands goes something like this. “Once you wake up to Miss Mary, you’ll never want to wake up alone.”

If you have a Bloody Mary connoisseur in your foursome, then make a point of reserving a tee time at Clifton Highlands. In a state known for Miller and Leinenkugel beer, Miss Mary’s Bloody Mary mix promises to be a quenching memory from your round at Clifton Highlands.

Bonus Golf – Take the Tram Straight Up for a Spectacular View: Clifton Highlands’ Rob Magnuson and Ryan Timm are pretty humble guys. As Director of Golf and General Manager it’s their job to ensure that golfers are aware of all that Clifton Highlands has to offer. Timm mentioned that in addition to the river valley experience that the Highland’s 6,600-yard design delivers, it may be worth a newcomer’s while to take the tram up to see their very unique nine-hole layout.

Clifton Highlands’ nine-hole course has one of the most beautiful views of any course in the Midwest. The course’s extreme vertical elevation means that on a clear day one can gaze west and see all the way to the St. Paul skyline.

As closing holes go, the Highlands’ ninth hole tee box is like looking down to the equator. With your FootJoys positioned securely, peer down 135-yards to the postage stamp green surrounded by an orchestra of towering pines and oaks. Either before or after playing 18 holes, make a point of perusing this nine-hole work of art. This mini masterpiece could be the ultimate outing for a father and son, or an extraordinary after work outing.

Expect the Unexpected: Clifton Highlands is a great golf venue for those seeking something different, something economical, or something oh so satisfying. Whether your idea of the perfect road trip includes the words scenic St. Croix River, premium Bloody Mary, or wine tasting at local vineyards, find out why Clifton Highlands Golf Club has exceeded golfers expectations since 1971.