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Set in the Pleasant Valley area in Winona, Minnesota, The Bridges Golf Club originally opened in 1920 as the Winona Country Club. It was redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in the 1960s into an 18-hole layout.
A later modification of the 18th hole made room for the driving range. Now as a public course, The Bridges has retained many of its private club features.
The course's website is very informative, with maps and directions, a photo tour, history of the course and information on fees, programs, specials and membership options. The pro shop is well supplied with equipment, apparel and accessories. The head pro offers private lessons and swing analysis, as well as assistance with club fitting and equipment. The clubhouse amenities include men's and women's locker rooms, the Signature restaurant and the Visions event center. The driving range and putting green are in excellent condition. And each hole features a well-groomed fairway, a soft green and a beautiful scenic landscape. We encountered a family of deer along the perimeter of the course on the 14th hole.
The Bridges has a number of challenges, like sand traps, water, naturalized areas, elevation changes and mature trees that define the fairways. Pleasant Creek winds through the course and comes into play on nine of the holes. Four sets of tees allow golfers to pick a course experience matched to their own level of skill. The course is walkable, but given the nature of the rolling landscape it will be much more enjoyable to a newcomer on a cart. The fairways aren't narrow, although they're often framed by hazards. Greens are moderately soft and do have some undulation. Watch out for the 11th and 12th holes-they have hidden greens.
Golfers can phone ahead for refreshments using a call box on the 9th tee. After your round, relax in the bar and dining room at Signatures while you plan your next outing at The Bridges.