Top 10 Courses: Wisconsin

Heres our list of the top 10 courses in Wisconsin, also known as the Badger State

1. WHISTLING STRAITS (STRAITS), Sheboygan

In 1998, Herb Kohler told Pete Dye, “I want a course that looks like it’s in Ireland,” and that’s what Dye gave him, converting a World War II military base into Ballybunion on Lake Michigan, the breathtaking site of three PGAs and a Ryder Cup.

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Whistling Straits (Straits)

2. MILWAUKEE C.C., River Hills

This parkland beauty—site of the 1969 Walker Cup—by Golden Ager Charles Hugh Alison is routed masterfully to maximize its setting beside the Milwaukee River. Fast greens and deep Alison bunkers are the heart of the challenge.

3. ERIN HILLS, Hartford

A Hurdzan/Fry/Whitten design that stretches across 600 rugged acres, it hosted the 2017 U.S. Open won by Brooks Koepka with a record-tying score of 16 under par in a week when the usually gusty winds were absent.

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Erin Hills (photo by Matt Hahn)

4. SAND VALLEY (SAND VALLEY), Nekoosa

When visionary developer Mike Keiser saw the land, he said it reminded him of a cross between Sand Hills and Pine Valley—and thus the name for this Coore & Crenshaw layout that unfurls dramatically over a series of ridges and valleys, the most prominent of them named the Volcano.

5. LAWSONIA (LINKS), Green Lake

Among the earliest courses to display the power of the bulldozer was this one, designed in 1930. In the heart of dairy land, trees were felled and farmland was contoured to create a links-like challenge replete with copies of Open Championship holes.

6. SAND VALLEY (MAMMOTH DUNES), Nekoosa

The second course at Sand Valley Golf Resort is indeed mammoth, its 100-yard-wide fairways allowing for multiple angles of attack. It’s all part of David McLay Kidd’s crusade to bring fun back into the game.

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Mammoth Dunes (photo courtesy Sand Valley)

7. BLACKWOLF RUN (RIVER), Kohler

The flagship layout of the American Club resort, this Pete Dye design clambers through woodlands and water, including the Sheboygan River. Several holes play from elevated tees, offering vistas that are both picturesque and daunting.

8. BLUE MOUND, Wauwatosa

This Seth Raynor design decayed for many years before Bruce Hepner came in, removed hundreds of encroaching trees, and restored the template holes and testing greens to their former glory.

9. SENTRYWORLD, Stevens Point

Robert Trent Jones Jr. called it “very possibly my Mona Lisa” and brought his full palette to bear on this site of the 2023 U.S. Senior Open, most notably at the par-three 16th “Flower Hole,” where the green nestles within a massive bed of more than 30,000 multi-colored blooms.

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SentryWorld (photo by Evan Schiller)

10. PINE HILLS, Sheboygan

A cozy design—set on just 186 acres with five par threes—it plays across undulating wooded terrain with the wandering Pigeon River in play on several holes. Despite being less than 6,500 yards from the tips, it’s a full challenge as small, well-protected greens call for careful iron play.

Thank you for supporting our journalism. If you prefer to read in print, you can also find this article in the Spring 2024 issue of LINKS Magazine. Click here for more information.

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