Of all the states in the midwest, Wisconsin has got to be near the top when it comes sheer number of great golf courses. As you’ll see below, some of the courses in Wisconsin are routinely near the top in national rankings and make this state a golfer’s paradise. If you haven’t gone to Wisconsin yet to try your luck at some of these courses, you will definitely want to after reading about these fantastic tracks.
Here are five Wisconsin golf courses you absolutely need to play.
Whistling Straights (Best Public Course)
Whistling Straits is the crown jewel of the Wisconsin golfing scene and arguably one of the best public golf courses in the country. Routinely ranked in the top five, The Straits course is currently recognized as the number two public golf course in America and has played host to numerous PGA and Senior PGA tournaments over the years including the 2004 and 2010 PGA Championships the 2007 US Senior Open, and is set to be the venue for this year’s Ryder Cup.
The course was designed by Pete Dye and opened in in 1998. Even though it is young, it has a prestigious history and is a go to golfing destination for thousands of golfers every year. The Irish course, as it is known, is the other 18 hole Kohler track part of the Whistling Straits golf complex. Both courses have a distinctly old time feel, replete with giant fairway bunkers, links style lay out, and fescue all over the place. Both courses, but especially The Straights, feel as if a slice of Ireland has been transplanted into the American heartland.
The Straights course, from the tips, plays at a super deep clip of over 7700 yards and is a par 72. The layout of the course is unique in that you can see the lake from nearly every hole and is especially in play on 3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, and 17. Be wary of errant tee shots.
And because this once in a lifetime course is open to the public, you should be able to get in at some point, although it won’t be cheap. You better get our your piggy bank now and start saving up because a round of 18 (walking) at Whistling Straits costs a cool $385. Still, if you can swing it (pun intended) it is worth the hefty price tag in order to play one of the premier courses in the country.
The Meadow Valleys Course at Blackwolf Run (Most Difficult Course)
It might not seem fair to list another Kohler property and Pete Dye designed course, but when they are all this good—and this challenging—there is nothing else to do. Like Whistling Straits, The Meadow Valleys course at Blackwolf Run is another nationally ranked course and one of the top ten in the state of Wisconsin. It was a fixture of the World Golf Championships in the 90’s and does not disappoint.
The Meadow Valleys course is a pristine track and is extremely well cared for. While there is much about the course that makes it exceptionally challenging, it is the hyper-demanding tee shots that put it over the edge. There is almost no margin for error with narrow, twisting fairways, and water—including the Sheboygan River—often in play.
The course is plenty deep at 7205 yards from the blacks and is a par 72. The Meadows Valley course is a bit cheaper than Whistling Straits, with a price tag for 18 walking coming in around $275, though it fluctuates throughout the year.
Milwaukee Country Club (Best Private Course)
Not only does Wisconsin have a slew of first rate public golf courses, but it also has quite a few spectacular private clubs as well. Topping that list is the ultra-exclusive Milwaukee Country Club.
This prestigious track is over 90 years old and has witnessed some amazing golf over the years. It is currently ranked number three in the state overall.
The Milwaukee Country Club is meticulously kept with contoured greens and makes great use of the water running throughout the course. From the championship tees the course plays right around 7100 yards and is a par 72 with a slope rating of 136.
Though there is no doubt you will want to play this course if you can, it is one of the most exclusive in the state and entire midwest. The only way to play is by invitation.
Sand Valley Golf Course (Most Scenic Course)
While any of the first three courses on this list would be the most scenic course in many other states (and there are other Wisconsin courses that could be included) Sand Valley is perhaps the most scenic course in the state simply because it is so unique. All the courses located along the shores of Lake Michigan have unparalleled views of the water, but Sand Valley has towering sand dunes and gives the feeling that you’re playing a round of golf in a sand pit.
Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw the course is fairly new having only opened in 2017. It has crisp, rolling fairways and daunting hazards lining nearly every one of them. From the tips, the yardage checks in at just under 6900 and is a regulation par 72.
In the spring, rates are as low as $110 but in the summer climb as high as $225. Not too bad for such a unique course.
The National Course at Fox Hills (Best Value Course)
If you haven’t noticed all of the courses on this list require a serious financial commitment in order to be able to play them. While that is all fine and good, in a state as rich with illustrious golf courses as Wisconsin, there has to be a quality course that the common man can play without having to take a second mortgage. Indeed, there are many.
One of those is The National Course at Fox Hills. The course is no slouch either, with huge sand traps, water hazards on at least half the holes, and approaches to many greens that require plenty of skill.
The course measures 7010 yards from the blacks and like all the other courses on the list, is a par 72.
The best part about the The National Course, though, is the price. The weekday rate for 18 holes walking is only $25. You can’t beat that with a sand wedge.
These are just five of Wisconsin’s 500 golf courses and there are so many more that could make the list. With numerous courses listed among the nation’s top 100 courses, Wisconsin truly is one of the best golfing states in the country and you can’t go wrong taking a weekend (or longer) to explore the best of what Wisconsin golf has to offer.