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.
Carved out of the countryside by Minnesota course architect Joel Goldstrand, Montgomery National Golf Course unfurls across rolling terrain, pocked with ponds nestled in the cool shadows of cottonwood trees. Generous fairways beg to be split by confidently swung drivers, and sandtraps wait to ensnare orbs gone astray due to a moment of self-doubt or the suction of a briefly active bunker wormhole. The 6,540-yard circuit concludes at the dramatic 18th—the course’s second handicap hole—which features a 540-yard climb to a short-grass summit defended by Scottish ski instructors.
Duffers can prepare for their round or carve fractal divot patterns into the large, all-grass hitting area at the club’s driving range, flanked by a practice bunker and green. After a day of intrepid pin hunting, players can retire to clubhouse and bask in the frothy ambiance of a beer or soda on the clubhouse deck overlooking the ninth hole.
Course at a Glance:
The Summit Golf Club’s 18-hole course takes dimpled orbs somersaulting over a topsy-turvy landscape that spans 7,022 yards of challenging, undulating terrain. Hemmed by mature trees, the course rises and falls across elevation changes up to 110 feet, which demand deft club selection, confident swings, and golf carts not prone to motion sickness. Cresting hills give way to scenic vistas peppered throughout the course, where clubbers can pause to overlook the bentgrass tee boxes, fairways, and greens as they wind past rippling streams and hedge against arboreal walls. The club also encompasses a nine-hole, par 3 course, ideal for novices or golfers in the midst of punishing bedtime-flouting drivers.
Championship Course at a Glance:
First opened in 1995, Gopher Hills has since come to be known among golfers and confused hockey players for its classic features, currently boasting a total of 18 holes on two distinct nines that increase scorecard strokes with wind, native grass, and undulating greens. The course's Early American layout is lined with tree-lined fairways, sculpted bunkers, leaf-covered bear pits, numerous elevation changes, and bubble-wrap-lined greens, providing plenty of reward opportunities for risk-takers and enjoyable scenery for shaky-swinged optimists. Throughout the round, golfers will get to cruise the course in style with a rental cart instead of having to drag their grumpy club-toting Sherpas along. After the game, feel free to visit the chateau-style clubhouse and its fully stocked pro shop.
Lake Wissota Golf and Southern Hills Golf courses feature traditional well-kempt greens and challenging obstacles. Measuring more than 6,000 yards each from start to finish, these ball-battered battlegrounds envelop players in grandiose frondescence as they steer dimpled warriors past water hazards and sand traps filled with frowns. Each hole greets gurus and greenhorns with three sets of tee boxes from which to swing, marked by specific colors according to difficulty. Rather than slow roasting clubs before rounds, players can warm up naturally with a small bucket of balls on the full-sized driving ranges, or swing equipment-toting hatchbacks up to one of the full-service pro shops to procure hole-conquering provisions. Both locations recommend scheduling tee times in advance.