The Red Wing City Council voted Monday, Sept. 9 to reduce Mississippi National Golf Course from 36 holes to 27. The city’s plan is to do this by removing holes 4 to 12 in the Highlands course.
A few members and frequent players at Mississippi National appeared before the council Monday to ask for one more year to show the city that the Highlands bring tourists to Red Wing who not only play golf, but also stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants. Council members, however, decided that they have spent enough time studying the course.
This decision came after the city hired an outside company to investigate the vitality and potential for the city-owned course in June. As the Republican Eagle reported, the study found the 36 holes are unable to generate sufficient cash flow to fund debt services, investment and other required operations. MNGL has the Lowlands and the Highlands.
“The two golf courses generate revenue that is comparable to two-thirds of a single facility,” said Jim Keegan of JJ Keegan, the organization that carried out the study
Keegan also explained that the Highlands are more popular among tourists because the course is more challenging than the Lowlands, where local golfers more frequently play.
The majority of council members agreed that changes had to be made to make the course financially feasible.
Council member Evan Brown told those lobbying for no changes that while he understood their concern, there is too much golf in Red Wing, resulting in Mississippi National requiring city and citizen donations to remain open.
Council member John Becker, one of the two members to vote against the proposed elimination of holes, was opposed because he believes that the city did not go far enough in changing the course. Becker told those gathered that only eliminating nine holes is like rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic.
Along with transforming the Highlands from an 18-hole to nine-hole course, the city plans to implement two other recommendations from Keegan: increase the price for daily and season passes, and revamp Mississippi National’s website to make it more user friendly.
Mississippi National will remain a 36-hole course until the end of the 2019 golf season.