Summer brings to mind plenty of outdoor activities, but one of the most popular activities for our travelers is golfing. The state of Wisconsin offers golfers the perfect mix of world-class layouts set against the natural beauty of the Midwest.
A trip to Wisconsin offers you the opportunity to play at courses where PGA events, and even major championships, have been held. Here is the ResortsandLodges.com list of the Top 5 Wisconsin Golf Courses.
1) Whistling Straits (Straits Course) – Sheboygan, WI – 7,790 Yards Par 72 – Public
Designer Pete Dye utilized the rugged and windswept terrain along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline to create a fantastic set of courses in 1998. The Straits course, although younger than 20 years old, has already hosted two PGA Champsionships (2004 & 2010) and the 2007 U.S. Senior Open. The PGA appears to be fans of the layout as the Straits Course is also the future site of the 2015 PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Borrowing influences from the Irish links courses across the pond, the Straits has fescue fairways and massive sand dune bunkers providing a challenge for even the most experienced golfers. GolfWeek ranked the Straits course as the No. 4 Resort Golf Course in America, and Golf Digest ranked it at No. 16 on its list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
To find out more information about booking your tee time at Whistling Straits, click here.
2) Blackwolf Run (River Course) – Kohler, WI – 7,404 Yards Par 72 – Public
You do not have to travel far from our top pick to reach the second pick on our list of Top Wisconsin Golf Courses. The River Course at Blackwolf Run is another layout designed by Pete Dye which GOLF Magazine once described as a course that “must be considered the nation’s finest public-access course of modern times.”
The course was designed on rich land once known by the Winnebagos and Algonquins for exceptional fishing and hunting, and opened for play in June 1988. Strategic bunkering, large undulating greens, and water or gorges on 14 of the 18 holes characterize the challenge of this championship golf course.
Like Whistling Straits, Blackwolf Run has hosted a number of PGA events including the 1995, 1996, and 1997Anderson Consulting World Golf Championships as well as the 1998 and 2012 U.S. Women’s Opens. Find out how to book your tee time at Blackwolf Run here.
3) Erin Hills – Erin, WI – 7,812 Yards Par 72 – Public
The third pick on this list may be the youngest course on the list, but what it lacks in “maturity”, it more than makes up for in sheer length and atmosphere. Erin Hills sits on 652 acres in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine region that was shaped by receding glaciers 10,000 years ago. One architect deemed it to be the best inland piece of property he had seen in America since Sand Hills (located in Mullen, Nebraska).
The highly regarded design firm of Hurdzan & Fry was awarded the project in late 2000, and plans began taking shape shortly after. The course took six years to complete, and by the end of 2006, was open for play.
The course got a sampling of USGA championship play by hosting the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship, but the real prize came in 2010 when the PGA awarded the 2017 U.S. Open to the course, making it one of only six public-access courses to host the national championship. Book your own tee time at this future major championship venue here.
4) The Bull at Pinehurst Farms – Sheboygan Falls, WI – 7,338 Yards Par 72 – Public
Wisconsin’s only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course is The Bull at Pinehurst Farms. This course opened for play in 2003, and had a lot to live up to considering it was within a short drive of Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run (Picks No. 1 and 2 on our list). However, thanks to the masterful work from one of golf’s legends, the course now claims the title as one of the “Top 100 Public Golf Courses in America” (Golf Digest).
In true Wisconsin form, The Bull showcases the beauty of the Northwoods as well as highlighting the importance of farmland in the Midwest. Like many of the other courses on this list, glaciers receding thousands or years ago play a large role in the layout of The Bull. Nicklaus was careful to utilize that breathtaking landscape without altering the terrain itself.
Although the course has not hosted a major championship or PGA event, it was the host site for the 2010 Wisconsin State Amateur Championship and will be the host of the 2014 Wisconsin State Open. Book your tee time on this Jack Nicklaus Signature Course here.
5) Grand Geneva Resort & Spa (The Brute) – Lake Geneva, WI – 7,085 Yards Par 72 – Public
Awarded the Silver Medal by GOLF Magazine and rated one of the top ten courses in the Midwest by PAR Excellence, The Brute plays as one of the longest courses in the state (despite being the shortest length on this list).
Designed by Robert Bruce Harris, The Brute features 68 bunkers and sloping greens, which average 8,000 square feet in size. This means that hitting the green on this course does not necessarily guarantee you a good score.
Although recognition in golf publications is great third-party validation for being one of the top Wisconsin Golf Courses, The Brute boasts another honor that also holds significance. It was named one of the Top 10 Northern Golf Courses in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler readers. Book your tee time on this award-winning course here.