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

  • 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.

    Broadlands Golf Club in North Prairie is one of the most popular public golf courses in the Milwaukee area and also one of southeastern Wisconsin's best values. With a wide-open, virtually treeless landscape, the course has a traditional links design. It offers plenty of challenges but it is also not overly difficult for high handicappers. Water comes into play on a few holes, mostly on the front nine.
    Opened in 1992, Songbird Hills Golf Club began as the dream of longtime Hartland resident, Hal Hoffman. He started designing the course more than 20 years before construction began in 1990, before he even owned the land. Hoffman persevered and eventually established the course that exists today. The golf course's design takes advantage of the rolling terrain and sparkling ponds. The undulating nature of the terrain gives each hole a unique look and different set of challenges.
    Rock River Hills Golf Club is situated along the banks of its namesake river, incorporating water into 13 holes. The course is target golf at its finest, weaving through a gently rolling landscape studded with mature trees that provides a home for the abundant wildlife. Accuracy will be generously rewarded but the layout is not overly punishing if you are slightly errant.
  • 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.
    Tucked amongst the rolling hills along the eastern shores of its namesake lake, Koshkonong Mounds Country Club pays homage to the Winnebago tribes that are native to the area. Koshkonong is a word from their language that means "these waters we live on."
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    The Oaks Golf Course at Christmas Mountain Village was carefully carved from the rolling hills of Wisconsin Dells. The Oaks is the 18-hole course and it is joined by the nine-hole Pines Course. The names of both courses are indicative of the mature woodland landscape you will find on each.
    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.
  • 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.

    Pine Hills Golf Course is a championship course that was carefully carved from the beautiful North Woods located 30 minutes northwest of Shawano. The abundance of mature trees is the layout's defining characteristic. They shape the doglegs and line the fairways, making accuracy a necessity. There is also a surprising amount of elevation changes throughout that make the course even more challenging.
    Whispering Springs Golf Club sits perched on a wooded ledge overlooking the Fond du Lac. The course begins on open, grassy meadows and then moves to hillier, forested terrain. With such a diverse landscape there are no two holes that look alike.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    The Palmer Course is just one of three championship courses at Geneva National Golf Club. The other two boast well known designers as well: Gary Player and Lee Trevino. The Palmer Course is the most challenging of the three but the Player Course comes in at a close second. There is less water one this course but it still has a prominent presence throughout.

Wisconsin Golf Courses by city