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Lake Park Golf Course is an excellent way to improve your game, even in bad weather. (PHOTO: Milwaukee County Parks Golf)

Smart work on your golf game now can bring summer success


The fifth month of 2014 is here – do you know where your golf balls are?

Unfortunately for many of us, they've been stowed away since late fall of 2013. Wisconsin is a golf mad state and the Milwaukee County Courses have been open for about a month, but there were only a few real, true, "golf days" sprinkled between April 10 and now.

Now, we're a hearty bunch. And golf-crazed. No doubt some of you have been out in the mid 40-degree sun and 20-mile an hour wind gusts. But, if you're like me, with limited time to play in this generally crappy weather, the idea of spending money or a ton of time out on the course isn't too appealing.

But, you can scratch the golf itch for just a few dollars and a short amount of time in two locations I frequent – Lake Park Golf Course and the driving range at Brown Deer Golf Course.

Lake Park

You only need two clubs (maybe three if you use a 60-degree wedge) at Lake Park and its 1,154-yard 18-hole short course is a perfect way to warm up your swing and sharpen your short game in a very quick manner.

Let's face it. Our short games are generally awful. If you track your stats throughout a round, chances are you lose a ton of shots on and around the greens. So, why not work on that weakness with a fun tour around an "easy" course? But trust me – it's not that easy if you're rusty and this place will tell you that.

It's easily walkable, cheap, and when you're done head over to Lake Park Bistro or down the stairs and taken in a great view of Lake Michigan.

Brown Deer Golf Course driving range

I can't speak for the ranges at Dretzka Park and Oakwood Park, or the irons-only facilities at Grant Park, Greenfield Golf Course, Hansen Park and Lincoln Park (they're on the list to check out!) but Brown Deer is hard to beat when it comes to practice facilities.

I mean, if it's good enough for PGA Tour pro's, it's good enough for us. What I like most about Brown Deer is that you can park right off the range (though you do have go inside to get your balls), take whatever full shots you need to, walk over to fun and varied short game area and finish up on a large putting green.

Specifically, there is a chipping green with a practice bunker and two, large putting greens. The range has 12 stalls to hit from, and buckets are either $4 (30 balls) or $6 (60 balls). You can purchase a VIP Card for $99, which is good for 20 buckets (you save $20 with that investment).

The range is open on Monday beginning at 9 a.m. and Tuesday through Sunday at 6 a.m. It closes 90 minutes before dark.

(Note: If you're going to Brown Deer just to use the range, please call ahead to make sure its available. Weather and private events sometimes close that area, but not the course.)

Take a lesson

I can't stress this enough – if you haven't gotten a lesson (or signed up for a group of lessons) from a PGA instructor, you should. I know it can be intimidating. I know it requires a financial and time commitment, but it's the best thing you can do for your game and your sanity on the course once you get out there for the summer.

Most teachers offer a variety of packages and varying rates, and it's golf - you can tailor your lesson plan. Want to work on your putting, or short game only? What about your game from 120 yards and in? Or, maybe you want a full makeover. The game is so nuanced, that even if you don't want to spend an entire summer rehabbing your swing, you can improve in some facet with professional oversight.

To make it easy, here is a list of Milwaukee County's PGA professionals and how to reach them:


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