Pine Island Golf Course opened on Labor Day weekend in 1994—fitting, since golfers have to put in a fair amount of work to surmount the gauntlet of wide fairways, water hazards, and rock outcroppings spread across 140 acres. Though challenging, the course presents a fair test for golfers of all stripes, earning it a "Hacker's Favorite" designation by Hacker's Guide to Minnesota & Western Wisconsin Golf Courses. When not golfing or searching the woods for winning scorecards, visitors can hone their skills on practice facilities including a driving range and putting green.
Course at a Glance:
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.
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:
The Summit Golf Club's Championship Course sprawls with meticulously manicured fairways, tees, and greens composed of hearty bentgrass. Seasoned swingers and wobbly woods-wielders alike will find the course comfortably competitive as it rolls across elevation changes of up to 110 feet. This rise and fall also makes for exhilarating golf-cart rides between holes as you and your party rush through fully grown tree lines and evade booby traps set by herds of feral groundskeepers. Multiple layers of limestone throughout the course ensure that no dancing gopher puppets distract you from scoring a birdie, eagle, or albatross.
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.