Clifton Highlands – Three Innovative Reasons To Cross The River

By R.J. Smiley

Question: What does it take to make a great golf experience?
Answer: A perfectly conditioned golf course with great views and an attentive staff with lots of inventive ideas to make golf fun for you!

“Clifton Highlands was opened in 1978, not as a real estate development golf course, but as a stand alone golf course,” stated Ryan Timm, General Manager. “This piece of property could not be turned into a real estate development, so we have to make it work as a golf course.” The Highlands is a beautiful 18-hole golf course overlooking the St. Croix River Valley. The golf course is one of 20 western Wisconsin courses designed by Dr. Gordon Emerson. Most golfers, who have played all of his courses, think that Clifton Highlands is the best of Emerson’s work. The course also boasts a par-3 course designed by Garrett Gill, with input from Emerson that will take your breath away with the stunning vistas.

Timm told me the goal at Clifton Highlands is to fill the tee sheet with three types of players: Members on weekend mornings, green fee players from the Twin Cities during the week, and tournaments anytime! (The Highlands is especially noted for smaller group outings with golf and food for smaller groups of 25 to 50 players.) “Once we hoast a tournament for a group they always come back,” stated Timm.

With a membership base that has swelled to over 200, Ryan said, “Tee times on Saturday morning are hard to find. We offer golfers a great value. Players have told us that if we were on the other side of the river (nearer St. Paul) we could charge another $15 to $20 per round.” To prove the point Timm told me that over 50 members from Hastings Country Club (closed last year) became members of Clifton Highlands. When asked what makes the Highlands so appealing to the large membership base? Timm replied, “Great tee to green course conditions – everyday! Our superintendent Todd Hauschildt, who spent years as an assistant under previous superintendent and GM Earl Johnson, does a great job. But, Todd has taken the Highlands to a new level.” Imagine members of a private club traveling to Prescott, WI to play a public golf course.

The Highlands is always looking for new ways to draw new players to their fine golf course. Let’s review a few.

All Day All Play Mondays
This might be the best golf bargain in U.S. golf history. The Highlands allows golfers to play golf all day every Monday in May, CART INCLUDED, for only $32. Mondays have historically been slow so Timm has created this great golf opportunity to fill the tee sheet on Mondays in May.

Wonderful Wednesdays
In the past Wednesdays were slow for Clifton Highlands so last season the management created a special for Wednesdays all summer long. The promotion was so successful that again in 2015 golfers will get a special price of $33 for green fees, cart, lunch and a beverage. That is a savings of $10 just for green fees and cart – lunch and drink are free.

Golf course owner’s are constantly looking for the magic bullet to bring the millennials into the game of golf. The GolfBoard might just be the answer. Ryan Timm, the savvy operator of Clifton Highlands, is one of the first to take the plunge into the GolfBoard. A GolfBoard is like a power skateboard designed for transportation of one individual. With a special adaption for golf! The Highlands is one of the only golf courses in the area to offer this fun way to get around a golf course. The cost is slightly higher ($25 for 18-holes and $15 for 9-holes) than a regular golf cart, but brings a whole new entertainment value to golf. After watching the GolfBoard video, I would love to try this newest thing in golf transportation. Go to then click GolfBoard to watch the video.

Twin Cities golfers have three great reasons to make the, shorter than expected, trip to Clifton Highlands and take advantage of All Day All Play Mondays, or Wonderful Wednesdays, and for that special treat – try a GolfBoard.

Happy riding!!

Clifton Highlands Overlooking #1 and #9

Clifton Highlands #14