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.

    Eagle Creek Golf Club is tucked away in the rolling hills of northeast Wisconsin. It is only a few miles outside of Appleton although it feels much more secluded. The scenic landscape is virtually treeless and cut with ribbons of tall native grasses, providing the ideal setting for a round of links golf.
    Glen Cairn Golf Course in Ogdensburg is laid across a diverse terrain of woodlands, grassy meadows, and marshlands. The course was carefully carved from over 160 acres of lush, rolling countryside. As its name would indicate, the course draws inspiration from the traditions of British Isles golf.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    The 18-hole Blackstone Creek Golf Club in Germantown, WI is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1974. Designed by Lloyd Robinson, Blackstone Creek Golf Club measures 6932 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 131 and a 73.
    Originally opened in 1929 as the Waterford Woods Golf Course, the club reemerged in 2008 as the Rivermoor Golf Club. Along with its new name, the club also revealed improvements to the playability and condition of the 18-hole course. The design of the golf course was largely determined by the scenic topography, which is covered with mature trees and dotted with ponds.
  • 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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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 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.
    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.
    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.

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