Nine of the very best public golf courses to play in Wisconsin

Erin Hills Wisconsiin

Wisconsin is one of the top US states when it comes to incredible golf layouts that are also available to the general public.

Many states’ best courses are private facilities, but Wisconsin’s public offering is greater than almost any other state in the Union.

A fair number of these courses are limbering up to reopen after winter if they haven’t already, meaning you should soon be able to get in on the great golf action in Wisconsin.

9. Wild Rock (Wisconsin Dells)

Known for its breathtaking setting and awesome changes in elevation throughout the course that make for a great first round or even repeat visits to this underrated gem.

Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry designed and built the course from 2008, and it really is a marvel of modern golf course architecture that makes use of its setting with aplomb.

8. Blackwolf Run, Meadow Valleys Course (Kohler)

The subtle yet at times devilish Meadow Valleys course is marked by rolling meadows and deep ravines, reflecting the natural features of Wisconsin terrain.

Designed by famous architect Pete Dye the back nine of the Meadow Valleys is drawn from the original Blackwolf Run 18 (“The Original Championship Course”) and this section should be the highlight of your visit.

7. Sand Valley, Mammoth Dunes (Rome)

David McLay Kidd’s dramatic layout at Sand Valley has swiftly attained to top-tier status in both state and national rankings, boasting some of the most inventive and memorable holes in Wisconsin or the Midwest.

Par threes such as the 8th, 13th (seen below), and 16th need high-quality iron shots since anything short or off will land in a sea of sand as you might expect from a course named Mammoth Dunes.

6. Sand Valley, Sand Valley Course (Rome)

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw’s original layout at the now-famous Sand Valley Golf Resort in Rome/Nekoosa offers a distinct yet tough golf experience in a restored Midwest desert terrain that feels worlds apart from anything else in Wisconsin.

Wonderful hotels, excellent hospitality, and 53 holes of world-class golf have swiftly established Sand Valley as the state’s premier golf destination with this course its jewel.

5. Lawsonia, Links Course (Green Lake)

Lawsonia’s historic Links Course has long been regarded as one of the top traditional golf courses in the country. The course has been revitalised over the last decade, with considerable tree work and meticulous restoration, as well as a return to the course’s original ‘hard and fast’ playing surface.

The Links offers deep bunkers, spacious fairways, and putting greens that are as fascinating and good as any in the country. It’s a vast, bold golf course that has remained mostly untouched since its outstanding architects, William Langford and Theodore Moreau, completed construction in 1930. Even when you realise that it was created with steam shovels from the 1920s, the course is impressive.

4. SentryWorld (Stevens Point)

Lawsonia’s historic Links Course has long been regarded as one of the top traditional golf courses in the country. The course has been revitalised over the last decade, with considerable tree work and meticulous restoration, as well as a return to the course’s original ‘hard and fast’ playing surface.

The Links offers deep bunkers, spacious fairways, and putting greens that are as fascinating and good as any in the country. It’s a vast, bold golf course that has remained mostly untouched since its outstanding architects, William Langford and Theodore Moreau, completed construction in 1930. Even before you realise that it was created with steam shovels from the 1920s, the course is impressive.

3. Blackwolf Run, River Course (Kohler)

Pete Dye produced another midwest masterpiece but it took some twisting of Herb Kohler’s arm to get a full redesign of a championship course.

The River Course possesses some of Dye’s most exciting holes, from the triple-option reachable par-4 ninth to the boomerang-shaped par-5 11th to the monster par-4 18th, where Kohler surprised Dye by converting a long waste bunker into a temporary lagoon for tournament events.

2. Whistling Straits, Straits Course (Haven)

The course debuted for play in 1998, and even Pete Dye considered developing Whistling Straits to be a “once in a lifetime” experience. Architects are typically given an unattractive property and a limited budget; this was not the case with Destination Kohler.

The stunning Straits course, which runs for two miles along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, cost a few million dollars and required a Herculean effort to develop.

1. Erin Hills (Erin)

Erin Hills is a one-of-a-kind course that winds through glacial kettle moraine sections, is flanked by wetlands and a river, and is built on glacial till with a variable composition of sand and rocks. In an unusual move for a Wisconsin course, the architects routed the fairways around the property’s contours, resulting in a hard playing surface that plays shorter than its length on the scorecard.

The course was intended to suit the 2017 United States Open, both in terms of player challenge and spectator logistics. This blend of historic and modern aspects, along with a championship challenge, will leave many players feeling as if they’ve never played anyplace like Erin Hills.

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