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Best Golf Courses in Wisconsin

Updated on May 17, 2020

There are over 500 public golf courses in Wisconsin, many of which have hosted the US Open and Ryder Cup. Enjoy rounds around the city and hit the fairways and greens designed by architects such as; Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye and Arnold Palmer. Wisconsin claims and proves that this is one of the country’s premier golf destinations.

Summer weather in Wisconsin is just the best weather possible for a game of golf. Wisconsin provides warm days and cooler nights during summer which is ideal for golf. 

Wisconsin is a place to go play golf for sure but make sure you are ready for the challenges ahead on these stunning golf courses. 

Read Next: Top Golf Courses in America. Also say our state guides to Colorado, Arizona and Michigan.

Please note: The list of courses in this article are based on 3rd party rankings from sites like Golf Digest, Top 100 Golf Courses, Planet Golf and Golf Advisor; as well as from consumer reviews from platforms like Google and Trip Advisor.

Best Golf Courses in Wisconsin

1. Whistling Straits (Straits)

Whistling Straits (Straits) Golf Course

Image credit: golf.com

  • Location: Kohler, Wisconsin                              
  • Date Established: 1998              
  • Course Architect: Pete Dye        
  • Interesting Fact: Whistling Straits was once a former airfield

Pete Dye is the mastermind behind the striking Whistling Straits. A 7,790 yard par 72 course sitting aside a 2 mile stretch of Lake Michigan, The Straits was fashioned with the aide of large-scale earth moving equipment and a considerable budget. From the outset, Whistling Straits was not designed to be your run of the mill course.

The Straits is a links style course taking inspiration from its Irish counterparts. Its open type design with deep pot bunkers and 24m of elevation has exposure to both the wind and elements. A flock of Scottish Black Faced sheep patrol the fairways which again pays homage to the courses.

Whistling Straits hosted the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships with Australian, Jason Day’s shooting a record 20 under par, 3 shots ahead of Jordan Speith. The 2020 Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits.

2. Milwaukee

Milwaukee Golf Club

Image credit: onmilwaukee.com

  • Location: River Hills, Wisconsin                                    
  • Date Established: 1929           
  • Course Architect: Charles Hugh Alison          
  • Interesting Fact: Milwaukee Country Club is the oldest in the state

The club was founded in 1894 and moved to its current location in 1910 alongside the Milwaukee River. Here Charles Hugh Allison designed the current layout in 1929 before Robert Trent Jones made minor changes to the layout in 1969 ahead of the Walker Cup Matches.

The tricky course has a flat layout which is aptly framed by the abundance of timber and Milwaukee River. Despite the layout, many of the holes are uphill. This probably summed up best by the par fourth 9th. A narrow landing area off the tee is followed up particularly uphill second to a pin which is sheltered by a rather large bunker short of the green. In fact, the five hole stretch from 8-12 is one of the finest around and is a brilliant display of course design and architecture.

The amenities at the club are outstanding and go hand in hand with the course itself.

3. Sand Valley (Sand Valley)

Sand Valley (Sand Valley) Golf Course

Image credit: allsquaregolf.com

  • Location:  Nekoosa, Wisconsin                           
  • Date Established:  2016              
  • Course Architect: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw 
  • Interesting Fact: Sand Valley development contains three different courses

Two hundred founders invested in the development of Sand Valley and came to a consensus that the course would be designed by the renowned duo of Coore & Crenshaw. A second course, Mammoth Dune, was added to the development in 2018 and this was designed by David Mclay Kidd.

Sand Valley is a 6,913 yard par 72 course and is contoured by various ridges and valleys which create natural variation. A large Dune called ‘Volcano’ is used to start and end both nines. This gives visitors a great snap shot of what Sand Valley has in store. With different strategic playing options and fast fairways, Sand Valley offers a challenge to golfers of all handicaps.

 In addition to the courses, the development has the option to stay over-night with its various lodge rooms, cottages and suites. Sand Valley was Golf Digest’s Best New Course of 2017.

4. Sand Valley (Mammoth Dunes)

Sand Valley (Mammoth Dunes) Golf Course

Image credit: golf.com

  • Location: Nekoosa, Wisconsin                           
  • Date Established: 2018            
  • Course Architect: David Mclay Kidd   
  • Interesting Fact: Sand Valley development contains three different courses

Owner, Mike Keiser, appointed David Mclay Kidd to design the 6,935 yard, par 73 course barely two years after the first course at Sand Valley had been constructed.

Interestingly enough, Kesier had worked with Kidd twenty years prior on the first course at Brandon Dunes

Clues to the course design are in the name. Mammoth Dunes was constructed on a 1,700 acre site and is definitely built with the word ‘excess’ in mind. Having 20% more grass than its sister course, fairways can measure as wide as 120 yards across and playing an even par 73 with five par 5’s, it’s easy to see why.

Kidd wrote the following on Mammoth Dunes. “This could be the best course I and my team have yet created, we can’t wait for the critics to decide if they agree.”

5. Erin Hills

Erin Hills Golf Course

Image credit: golf.com

  • Location: Erin, Wisconsin                      
  • Date Established: 2006            
  • Course Architect: Michael Hurzdan, Dana Fry, Ron Whitten
  • Interesting Fact: Erin Hills is not outfitted with paved cart paths

Erin Hills is a 7,800 yard (black tee), par 72 course and was built by Wisconsin Developer, Bob Lang. Very little earth was moved in the construction of the course with natural variation in the landscape being put to full use.

 This variation being provided by glacial movement and the effect it had on its surroundings over thousands of years. The end result is one of the most natural layouts in the country.

Do not let the natural appearance fool you, Erin Hills is not for the faint of heart and will put even the most skilled golfers through their paces. Brooks Koepka won the 2017 US open at Erin Hills equaling the record four day tournament score of 16 under par.

 For those looking for the full, immersive Erin Hills experience, 37 bedrooms are available on the property.

6. Blackwolf Run (River)

Blackwolf Run (River) Golf Course

Image credit: golfdigest.com

  • Location: Kohler, Wisconsin                  
  • Date Established: 1988           
  • Course Architect: Pete Dye     
  • Interesting Fact: Blackwolf Run resort is name after Winnebago Indian Chief

Blackwolf Run contains two courses, namely River and Meadow Valley. The Flagship River is a 7,404 yard par 72 course which is always in pristine condition. There are a number of elevation changes throughout the course. These coupled with the numerous natural and mad-made water hazards will punish for poor shot selection and stroke play.

The 9th is signature hole on the course.  “Cathedral Spires” is a 337 par 4 and allows for multiple options off the tee. Safe drive to the left fairway, or risky drive to the lower right fairway which cuts off distance to the hole but brings into play the Sheboygan River. The green itself is two tired and slopes from back to front. Do not let its length fool you, many an enthusiastic golfer has seen their round take a turn for the worse before moving onto the back 9.

Most recently both the River and Meadow Valleys courses received the coveted 5-Star ranking from Golf Digest

7. Lawsonia (Links)

Lawsonia (Links) Golf Course

Image credit: wisconsin.golf

  • Location: Green Lake, Wisconsin                     
  • Date Established: 1930
  • Course Architect: William Langford, Theodore Moreau                  
  • Interesting Fact: Lawsonia Links has a sister course called Woodlands

Due to its timeless nature, the course has been largely unchanged since its construction in 1930. The links styles course features wide fairways, deep bunkers and fair greens. There was little expense spared on Lawsonia when it was constructed in 1930s. $250,000 was invested in the development which equates to a staggering $30,000,000 in today’s money!

A tree clearing program was undertaken in 2000 in order to keep Lawsonia a traditional links.

Inspiration was drawn from many British Open Championship holes in Lawsonia’s design, however, a certain degree of imagination will have applied to identify which!

Lawsonia is one of the best value for money rounds in the country with a round costing as little as $50 and is well worth a visit.

8. Blue Mound

Blue Mound Golf Course

Image credit: golfadvisor.com

  • Location: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin         
  • Date Established: 1926            
  • Course Architect: Seth Raynor
  • Interesting Fact: The course hosted the USPGA Championship seven years after opening

The course features several template holes that are typical to a Raynor design including Double Plateau, Biarritz, Alps, Road, Short, Punchbowl, Hog's Back, Redan, Eden, and Short..

The course is flatter than most Raynor designs which imposes certain limits to its capabilities, however, he still manages to create a worth-while experience. The highlights on the course are undoubtedly the 7th, 8th and 18th.

The course isn’t the most challenging, but remains enjoyable none the less due to its overall appeal and good conditions from tee to green. The Club has excellent facilities, among which is a 250 seater restaurant which is well worth a visit after what most would consider, a good round of golf.

9. SentryWorld

SentryWorld Golf Course

Image credit: pinterest.com

  • Location: SentryWorld, 601 North Michigan Avenue, Stevens Point, Wiscons
  • Date Established: 1982
  • Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
  • Interesting Fact: The par 3 16th hole is one of the most beautiful holes in the world including over 33 000 colourful flowers

SentryWorld Golf Course is ranked 44th in the Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses. More than 200 acres was flat as can be and got tranformed into rolling beautiful lush fairways with loads of lakes along the way.

Robert Trent Jones created a golf course that has many challenges along the way but makes every hole so interesting. This course was built to be player friendly but can appeal to all different handicaps.

Hundreds of trees were removed to create extra fairway width whilst the green complexes were softened and all the bunkers and facilities got refurbished as an extensive makeover for this beautiful course. In the process of these renovations, new holes were also made including the beautiful 16th which holds over 33 000 flowers along that stunning hole  (“Flower Hole”).

10. Whistling Straits (Irish)

Whistling Straits (Irish) Golf Course

Image credit: allsquaregolf.com

  • Location: 444 Highland Drive, Kohler, Wisconsin
  • Date Established: 2000
  • Course Architect: Pete Dye
  • Interesting Fact: Ranked 43rd in Golf Digests’s 2019/2020 America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses

Inland from the great lake and streams, the grassland and dunes golf course is a deceivingly tranquil and peaceful landscape. Your golfing experience at this course is just something special and memorable. This course is full of weird and wonderful challenges.

Golfers need to be aware and watch out for all the water and sand encatchment areas. These intimidating hazards always plays a factor in your round.

The Irish Straits is a fun course that is easily walkable. All the holes present various different challenges with some of the most breathtaking views and feels. This golf course is also interesting as the holes have a number of different ways to get to the green.

11. Troy Burne

Troy Burne Golf Club

Image credit: hole19golf.com

  • Location: 295 Lindsay Road, Hudson, Wisconsin
  • Date Established: 1999
  • Course Architect: Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Tom Lehman
  • Interesting Fact: There are 120 sand bunkers strategically placed throughout this course

This beautiful golf course is know for the abundance of sand spread all over the course. There are an incredible amount of bunkers on this stretegic course, 120 bunkers to be exact.

It is a challenging but amazing course to play as this course offers some of the most magnificent views. Golfers say that this course is not foe beginners. If you think you have avoided the bunkers, watch out for all the water hazards surrounded by all the bunkers. The green slopes are also beyond challenging making it nearly impossible to one putt. Golfers also say that your approach shot needs to be deadly accurate.

This design from the late 90’s is an unreal golfing experience.

12. Blackwolf Run (Meadow Valleys)

Blackwolf Run (Meadow Valleys) Golf Course

Image credit: golfadvisor.com

  • Location: 1111 W Riverside Drive, Kohler, Wisconsin
  • Date Established: 1988
  • Course Architect: Pete Dye
  • Interesting Fact: Ranked 57th in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses for 2019/2020

The Meadow Valleys promises an experience like no other to professionals or amateurs, you will enjoy yourself out here. This course is described as ‘subtle and devilish’.

This beautiful course winds through and across ravines and small water hazards. These water hazards just compliment the features of this stunning terrain.

This course is regarded as one of Pete Dye’s best achievements. The Meadow Valleys has hosted various amounts of different professional championships naming; the Andersen Consulting World Golf Championship in 1995, 1996 and 1997. The other huge event hosted at this stunning venue was the ‘U.S. Women’s Open in 1998 and 2012.

13. Pine Hills Country Club

Pine Hills Country Club

Image credit: golfadvisor.com

  • Location: 4914 Superior Avenue, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Date Established: 1928
  • Course Architect: Harry B. Smead, Bob Lohmann
  • Interesting Fact: Pine Hills is set in 186 acres of beautfiul wooden terrains

Pine Hills Country Club is one of the best kept hidden gems/secret in Wisconsin. The upkeep of this course is just incredible adding to your golfing experience.

This hidden gem is known for its fast greens and its beautiful landscape. The par 71 features a 6 481 yard layout. The Pigeon River running throughout the entire course leaves a challenging layout for the golfers but one thing can be guaranteed and that is that you will encounter countless beautiful views.

As most golfers say, this is a hidden gem that you need to experience if you a serious golfer.

14. University Ridge

University Ridge

Image credit: pinterest.com

  • Location: 9002 County Road PD, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Date Established: 1991
  • Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and Jay Blasi
  • Interesting Fact: The golf course’s name comes from the defining feature of the landscape, a remnant of the last retreating glacier

This beautiful golf course is perched right where the Wisconsin Glacier stopped which is just incredible by itself. This provides the backbone of the ridge that divides the terrain into clusters of hills and valleys.

The design of this course was with the intention of making the front nine and back nine completely different. The aim was to make the golfers feel like they playing two courses in one. 

This course is in immaculate condition with fast greens and can comfortably say that this is a professional course.

15. Bull at Pinehurst Farms

Bull at Pinehurst Farms Golf Course

Image credit: golfadvisor.com

  • Location: 1 Long Drive, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin
  • Date Established: 2003                            
  • Course Architect: Jack Nicklaus
  • Interesting Fact: This course was the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Course in Wisconsin

Before this golf course, this land was the ‘Pinehurst Dairy Farm’. The rolling terrain was transformed and renovated into this beautiful scenic layout. This stunning golf course covers 7 354 yards from the back tees.

This course will test your distance and accuracy at the same time which is always tricky. The holes include multiple elevation changes, with lushes trees and bushes around. The golf course closes with a beautiful and memorable par 4 which has loads of water in play in form of a lake and a rocky creek which you can imagine is just breathtaking.

Golfers say this is a worthy alternative to ‘Whistling Straits Irish’ or ‘Blackwolf Run Meadows’.

About the author 

Paul Bradshaw

Paul hit his first golf shot at the age of 5, and from that point on was immediately hooked. He went on to become one of the leading amateurs in South Africa, securing a full golf scholarship with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Turning professional in 2004, Paul played extensively on the Sunshine Tour and co-sanctioned European Tour events. Paul is our lead editor at Golf Assessor.

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