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Red Wing Golf Club goes public

The Red Wing Golf Club's course has been private for nearly 100 years, but it is now opening its doors to everyone.

The board of directors recently voted to make the course fully public.

The shift has been slowly ongoing, the members said, from changing from a country club name to the Red Wing Golf Club to more recently broadening guest policies and public golf time. But "this is our biggest step yet," board member Chris Ellis said.

"There's reasons for the club and reasons for the community," he added of why they made the change. He said the course is under-utilized now and the board members want more people to experience golfing there, as well as take advantage of the facilities such as the event center.

Opening the course to the public also helps ensure it will be stable financially, Ellis said.

"There's a big change in the golf industry," board member Craig Kronbeck said. "The industry dictates that we do some of these things."

There still will be memberships available and members will have certain benefits, such as discounts, social events and reciprocity with other golf courses.

Members will have preferred tee times on ladies' and men's days and weekend mornings, board members said.

Red Wing residents also will get perks, Kronbeck said, such as a lower daily rate.

"We want to be open to the public ... but at the same time we want it to be a place where members feel like members," Ellis said. "We want to try to serve both kinds of players."

The board is also making some changes to the course itself to appeal to more players.

The course has a reputation for being difficult, Ellis said, and while it will remain challenging the changes will make it more accessible to golfers of all skill levels. Those changes include pruning trees, widening some fairways and enlarging the green aprons.

The impact Mississippi National Golf Links' uncertain future on the Red Wing Golf Club board's decision was "very little to none," Ellis said.

"It's the best strategy for us regardless of Mississippi National," he said. That course was shuttered this season except for the driving range.

Kronbeck said he wants the public to know all golfers are invited to the golf club.

"People are welcome to come and play here," he said.

The Red Wing Golf Club will hold an open house Sept. 22 from 3 to 6 p.m. to recognize its new status as a public course, board members said.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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