Formerly farmland for five generations of the Schmidt family, Lake Pepin Golf Course now boasts 18 holes that span across rugged links-style topography flanked by the bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley. The course plays to 6,752 yards, with 12 holes showcasing panoramic views of the lake and the remaining six holes providing access to an underground miniature golf course. Those who prefer manmade scenery can gawk at Joe "Snowball" Schmidt's 1869 two-story stone house, nestled between the 17th green and 18th tee.
The two courses at Mississippi National Golf Links—the Highlands and the Lowlands—do share a few things in common. Both are 18-hole layouts with a par of 71, they boast beginner-friendly lengths of less than 6,500 yards, and they offer players sweeping panoramas of the Red Wing Bluffs.
But that's where the similarities end. For one, the Highlands is named for its position atop those bluffs, so golfers can peer down into the Hiawatha Valley and the Mississippi River below them. This unique terrain creates some interesting shots, most notably the tee shot at the 17th hole, a par 3 that boasts a staggering 150-foot drop from tee to green. The Lowlands course, as might be expected, resides at the valley basin, keeping everyone from beginners to pros guessing which holes are just a hole and which one might actually be the valley's drain.
Lowlands Course at a Glance:
Highlands Course at a Glance:
Sculpted into the sandstone bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley in 1915, the course at Red Wing Golf Club has challenged golfers’ accuracy and consistency for nearly a century. As they line up tee shots down tight fairways bordered by towering oaks and pines, players soon realize that the layout rewards accuracy and positioning as opposed to brute strength or double-jointedness. Upon finishing their rounds on the 6,190-yard gauntlet, golfers can head inside to The Brassie Spoon Bar & Grill for sandwiches, salads, and drinks in front of a big-screen television.
Course at a Glance: