'New' course in full swing
The opening of the 2017 season at the Red Wing Golf Course has been accompanied with more excitement than most years.
After members voted to sell the course due to financial strains in the fall of 2016, Bill Holst acquired the 102-year-old course. Holst also owns Gopher Hills in rural Cannon Falls/Miesville and Clifton Highlands in Prescott
During the offseason, Holst and newly appointed Red Wing Golf Course general manager Daniel Hull began work on the historic course tucked into the heart of Red Wing's residential hills.
"We had a vision to make the course accessible to everyone — golfers and non-golfers," Daniel Hull said.
The Red Wing course joined Gopher Hills and Clifton Highlands in a new branding of Holst's properties as River Valley Golf Trail.
"By rebranding, we are better able to promote and showcase these beautiful courses in the region," Hull said.
Some $150,000 in renovations were poured into the Red Wing clubhouse this winter. One of the biggest improvements was the remodeling of the bar area. Now called Bar 19, the new space has a sports bar feel with a sizable wooden bar and multiple large TV screens, perfect for catching any big game while enjoying the course's atmosphere, Hull said.
"Whether people want to watch a football game, NASCAR race or any sporting event, this atmosphere is for anyone to come as you are and enjoy the experience," Hull said. "In this industry, you have to be more than just a course — you have to provide those great experiences."
Bar 19 features a full bar and menus for lunch and dinner with appetizers, salads, wraps, burgers and sandwiches. The new kitchen has been operating since April.
"We've had great reaction to menu," Hull said. "There are some really nice flavors there."
Hull highlighted the bar's bloody mary.
"It's a great drink," he said. "We're hoping to start a bloody mary bar sometime in the future."
To accompany the updated bar, Hull knew renovations were needed to the event space upstairs
"We took down some walls to open up the space and maximize the number of occupants," he said.
With large windows and a deck overlooking the hilly course, the event space can hold 180 people. The event space is catered by Brassie Spoon, a catering company run by chef Mike Demos, which had been operating at Gopher Hills, and now Red Wing course. Beyond the larger occupancy and catering service, the event center also received a new projector system with easy connecting capabilities for weddings or corporate events. Hull hopes to expand the event business.
Later this summer, the Red Wing Golf Course will host the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce's annual golf outing.
Hull said he is thrilled to be able to partner with the chamber.
"This course is in the heart and soul of this community," Hull said. "Over the past 100 years, roads and houses have been built around this course, not on top of it. We want to be here for the community that has supported us."
Hull has been near the sport of golf since the age of 2. His favorite part of the game?
"The people," he said. "Being around so many different types of people, I have learned that people, no matter the place, just like feeling welcome and appreciated. That's the environment we are striving for here."
In 2013, the former board of directors voted to open the course to the public, ending the course's private status. Hull said he hopes people, golfers and non-golfers, now will venture to the course to see the rejuvenated bar, enjoy the view and appreciate the course's history.
"It's important to me that we continue going forward with the future plans on improving the operations, but never forgetting our past where we came from," he said.
For more information on the public Red Wing Golf Course, visit www.redwinggolfcourse.com.