Wisconsin, home of badgers, cheese, frigid winters - and great golf

Don't discount Wisconsin golf just because it's not sunny year round. Play 18 at either the Straits or Irish Course at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan in the spring or summer and you'll swear you've just spent a few hours in Ireland.

The big city more your scene? Milwaukee is flush with top-notch golf courses, like Brown Deer Park Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour's U.S. Bank Championship, or head to Green Bay and check out the popular Brown Country Golf Course.

Looking for the college-town vibe? It doesn't get better than Madison, home of the University of Wisconsin. The University Ridge Golf Course is the school's prized golf course. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., it was built on a 2 million-year-old glacier.

If small town is more your thing, Kohler is for you. It's home to the River and Meadow Valleys Courses at Blackwolf Run. Opened in 1988, Blackwolf Run was named "Best New Public Course" by Golf Digest. The River and Meadow Valleys were designed by Pete Dye.

Or find The Bull At Pinehurst Farms in Sheboygan Falls, a Jack Nicklaus design. Also, there's the Golf Courses of Lawsonia in Green Lake. Its Links Course features replica holes of Scottish and English golf courses.

Big and small, famous or not, Wisconsin is home to some great golf.

Wisconsin Golf Destinations

  • Green Bay

    It's pretty difficult to visit Green Bay and not notice that it's the home of the Packers. The "cheeseheads" are pretty rabid about the fan-owned team founded in 1919 that has more championships than any team in the NFL. Not bad for a city of just over 100,000 residents, the smallest to host an NFL team.

    Mascoutin Golf Club offers three nine-hole courses that can be played in different 18-hole combinations. The Red and White nines make up the original golf course that opened in 1976 before the Blue nine was added in 1999. The Blue/Red Course combines the shortest nine, Blue, with the longest. The Red nine stretches to just over 2,600 yards, which is over 100 yards longer than the Blue. The Blue nine features a few holes with water and there are a few strategically placed bunkers to contend with.
    The 18-hole Autumn Ridge Golf Club in Valders, WI is a public golf course that opened in 1996. Designed by Ernie Schrock, Autumn Ridge Golf Club measures 6027 yards from the longest tees. The course features 3 sets of tees for different skill levels. Greens and fairways are bent grass.
    Lawsonia Golf Course boasts two championship 18-hole courses, the Links and the Woodlands. The Links Course will make you feel as though you've been transported to the British Isles. Many of the holes replicate famous Scottish and English golf holes, giving it a character that is reminiscent of the golf courses played in the British Open.
  • Wisconsin Dells

    Wisconsin Dells calls itself the water park capital of the world and a great place for family vacations, but there is plenty of golf to lure foursomes, too.

    The 18-hole Wild Rock Golf Club at Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells, WI is a public golf course that opened in 2008. Wild Rock Golf Club at Wilderness measures 7414 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 141 and a 76.
    Trappers Turn Golf Club offers 27 holes of championship golf that stretch across scenic terrain that was carved by glaciers. The Arbor/Lake Course starts with the newest nine, which was added in 2000. This nine is known for its scenic views since it has the Rocky Arbor State Park as its neighbor. The Lake nine has four holes that wrap around the 13-acre Mystic Lake.
    Coldwater Canyon Golf Course in the Wisconsin Dells has a layout that dates back to the 1920s, making it one of the oldest golf courses in the state. Originally a nine-hole course, it was expanded to a full 18 holes but the original layout was carefully preserved as the front nine.
  • Milwaukee

    Don't think Milwaukee is just a beer-and-brats town surrounded by some impressive golf courses. Start with the $110 million Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum designed by Santiago Calatrava. Its wing-like structure earned it the designation as the Sexiest Building by virtualtourist.com.

    Hartford Golf Club is conveniently located just outside of Milwaukee. The course has been a part of the community since 1928 when a group of local businessmen who were passionate about golf decided to come together and make the course a reality. The layout is traditional in design and player friendly enough for beginners, but it still offers a few challenges.
    Kettle Moraine Golf Club is routed across a diverse landscape of wooded hills and wetlands, offering the ideal setting for parkland golf. The layout is on the shorter side at just over 6,400 yards but it calls for a variety of shots that will ensure golfers stay on their toes. The terrain provides a variety of elevation changes that range from subtle to dramatic.
    Alpine Valley Resort sprawls across the Kettle Moraine in southern Wisconsin, lending a unique landscape to each of its three nine-hole courses: Summit, Meadows, and Sugar Creek. The Meadows/Sugar Creek will start players off on a landscape of open, grassy meadows before the landscape becomes more wooded and hillier. The namesake creek of the second nine bisects two holes on the Meadows.
  • Madison

    Considered one of the country's prettiest capital cities, Madison, Wisconsin weaves around five lakes circled by miles of bike paths, parks and waterfront restaurants. Providing plenty of reasons for a golf trip are the city's four municipal courses and the renown collegiate course, University Ridge, the Robert Trent Jones II design that is home of the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

    Glen Erin Golf Club is an homage to the strong Irish heritage of Janesville, Glen Erin, which literally mean "Ireland's Valley," sprawls across lush, emerald green hills that are accentuated with a prominent vale that runs throughout the course. The course has a distinctly Irish character with wide, undulating fairways and immense greens that are flanked with pot bunkers.
    Coachman's Golf Club in Edgerton offers 27 holes of championship golf that sprawl across gently rolling hills covered with mature oaks and beautiful willow trees. The Blue/Red Course combines one of the longer nines with the shortest. Added in 1990, the Blue Course was the most recent addition to the club while the Red was Coachman's first course in 1968.
    Bridges Golf Course is a municipal, 18-hole course that sits on the northeastern side of Madison, just south of the airport. It’s popular with locals since it’s both affordable and challenging. For a championship golf course it’s not particularly long at 6,900 yards from the back tees, but golfers will still face several tricky holes. Players of all skill levels will enjoy Bridges Golf Course for its variety of risk-reward opportunities.
  • Lake Geneva

    Lake Geneva is less than 90 minutes from Chicago and even closer to Milwaukee, but it's a world away. The 9-mile-long lake is surrounded by a historic town, some of the best golf courses in Wisconsin, a four-star resort that began as a Playboy Club resort, and a string of enormous summer mansions built ín the 1800s by Americas most famous industrialists.

    Abbey Springs Golf Course in Fontana is routed through mature woodlands that give it a peacefully secluded feel. Surrounded by countryside and enclosed within towering trees, the course is an ideal getaway. The challenging course has small, sloped greens and water hazards that come into play on half of the holes.
    Lake Lawn Resort spans across two miles of shoreline along Delavan Lake. The resort was founded in 1878, making it one of Wisconsin's oldest leisure destinations. Its proximity to both Chicago and Milwaukee has made it very popular. The championship golf course was not added until 1921, but it is still one of the area's oldest.
    Como Crossings is the 18-hole championship course at Hawk's View Golf Club. It is the only five-star rated course in Lake Geneva. The club's other course, Barn Hollow, is also an 18-hole course but it offers a unique short game layout that is great for beginners and juniors. Como Crossings sprawls across rolling hills covered with mature vegetation and woodlands.

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