Editor's note: The following sponsored content was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.
With summer in sight, Midwesterners are more than ready to break out their golf gear – and luckily, world-class golf is par for the course in Wisconsin. With over 500 public courses across the state, there’s no shortage of scenic spots to test your skills or just have some fun, all within driving range. Ready to hit the links? Here’s a rundown of Wisconsin’s top golf courses.
With a nod to the rugged and windswept terrain of Ireland, Whistling Straits is home to two courses sculpted into two miles of the Wisconsin coastline. Renowned golf course designer Pete Dye hauled in 13,126 truckloads of sand to create Whistling Strait’s famous dunes, hills and fescue grass fairways. Play now, so the pros can follow in your footsteps at the 2020 Ryder Cup competition.
Erin Hills, home of the 2017 U.S. Open, was molded from a landscape left behind by the glaciers. Architects adopted a minimalist approach in designing Erin Hills, playing off the naturally sculpted landscape. With five sets of tees, there’s something to challenge golfers of all abilities, and Golf Digest lists it as the ninth best public course in the United States. And the greens at Erin Hills really are green: The fine fescue fairways and roughs require little water and can go dormant during dry weather.
Formed by the last retreating glacier, University Ridge Golf Course was constructed upon the landscape’s natural ridge. With five sets of tees ranging from 5,005 to 7,289 yards, University Ridge offers an above par golf experience and once again hosted the American Family Championship (PGA TOUR Champions) in June 2018. This course is sure to give you an incredible golf experience, right in the heart of the state’s capitol.
Halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago, Lake Geneva is the perfect place to spend a weekend golfing with friends. Ranked in the top 10 northern U.S. golf resorts by Conde Nast Traveler, the Grand Geneva boasts two championship courses, the Brute and the Highlands. The Brute Course is considered one of the toughest golf courses in the Midwest and stretches to over 7,000 yards, while the Highlands features a variety of elevation changes and 68 bunkers strategically placed along the massive, rolling greens.
The Golf Courses of Lawsonia, nestled between Madison and Appleton, offer two unique 18-hole golf experiences on the same property. Ranked in the top 100 Classic Courses in the USA by Golfweek, the Links Course features gently rolling terrain, bent grass fairways and multi-tiered, moderately fast greens that are surrounded by strategically placed steep bunkers. Interested in some precision golfing? The Woodlands Course’s densely tree-lined fairways are guarded by a series of about 80 traps, making it a much tighter "target course."
If you’re looking for a place to spend an entire day, look no further. SentryWorld is a sports complex in Central Wisconsin that offers outstanding golf, tennis and dining facilities to the general public. Having blazed the trail as Wisconsin’s first destination golf course, SentryWorld is famous for its world-class caliber and stunning signature "flower hole," a challenging par-three shot surrounded by over 30,000 colorful flowers.
Golf Digest has ranked SentryWorld number 34 in its 100 Greatest Public Courses list, and the 276-acre complex contains an 18-hole championship golf course, six indoor and six outdoor tennis courts, a golf driving range and more.
A newer addition to Wisconsin’s top golf facilities, Sand Valley Golf Resort opened for business in 2017 and was awarded "Best New Course You Can Play - 2017" by Golf Magazine. Situated on over 1,700 acres in Central Wisconsin, Sand Valley – like many other golf hotspots in Wisconsin – sits on what was once the lakebed of an ancient glacial lake. The resort features three distinct golf courses, so you’re bound to find a course that’s your cup of tee. The course’s tumbling 80-foot dunes and valleys solidify this Wisconsin golf haven as a "must visit" for adventurous golfers.