6th Annual Wisconsin Golf Guide 2002
Planes, Ships and Automobiles:
Between them, Wisconsin and Michigan have over 1600 golf courses. Alas, these golf riches are not easily enjoyed by either state. Obviously, our bordering water hole, Lake Michigan, has basically kept us apart since our statehood. While that will not change soon, there are still a number of ways to sample these golf treasures.
Planes-Obviously the quickest way there is to jump onto a plane at Metro, Grand Rapids or Flint to catch a Milwaukee bound flight. Many carriers serve the market; with Northwest, United and Skyway Airlines (a subsidiary of Midwest Express) being three that come to mind. Ticket prices vary, but we picked a $160 ticket out of Flint without too much waiting for rates to change. Bishop Airport is a growing one, but generally, it is a still a quick in and out trip. Ships- Another and certainly a more adventurous way to travel to and >from the states is to take the SS Badger across Lake Michigan. I have made the sailing a number of times and it is just terrific. Frankly, as I write this story, I am looking out of the Upper Deck Café windows for signs of the Michigan coastline to appear. I have just golfed in Wisconsin for four days, have an adult beverage close at hand. It really is a restful journey.
Each year, the SS Badger carries thousands of automobiles and passengers during its two a day crossings in the summer and one a day trips in late spring and fall. Increasingly, they are finding out that golfers are beginning to discover the Michigan-Wisconsin Golf Trail. and Don Clingan of the SS Badger and both have been promoting the Sail and Play programs. http://www.ssbadger.com
Automobiles-Obviously, the most way to get there is by automobile. If coming down from the UP the highways are smaller, but far less crowded. However, when you take the Chicago route, be wary of the incredible traffic jams you will find there. They are not fun.
The Green Bay -Appleton area is one of a number of out state markets targeted by Travel Michigan. Basically, they want to attract Wisconsin tourists to the Upper Peninsula, or to the mid-west coast of Michigan.
I was surprised at the amount of Wisconsin people that had played Michigan courses. They know a lot about our golf courses and certainly plan to revisit them soon.
However, our job here is to alert you to what you will find as you explore Wisconsin Golf. We have reported on Wisconsin Golf in three of their four identified regions. We have not visited the Northwest quadrant of Wisconsin in the six years we have been doing this, perhaps next year. The MG staff has visited the courses listed below. If you would care to share any of your experiences with us, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fox Hills Resort
Horseshoe Bay GC
The golf business is the culmination of an 80-year dream of the Frank Cowles family. They were visionaries in the dairy business in Wisconsin and extremely successful. Their barn shaped clubhouse is a replica of the famous Cowles barn of the past. It is also home to Murphy's Bar and Grill.
We thoroughly enjoyed the course and found that the traps seemed to find everybody's game. The course features little water but numerous traps. There are a number of outcroppings of rock, primarily because they only could dynamite just so much of the course. The Double Delicious 13th hole provides a double fairway and the 14th, named, Udderly Dangerous, is can live up quickly to its name. The 18th hole, which finishes next to the members clubhouse is a spectacular hole that drops down through a limestone walled boundary on the one side and a sharp drop-off in back of the green, where golfers will be able to view Horseshoe Bay. This is a very special hole and is one that will bring you back for more.
Rick Robbins indicated that they wanted to create a modern golf course with a 'turn of the century feel' feel. It certainly has all of that. It is a semi private course, so you need to call and get the lowdown.
The course has just recently opened and one expects some growing pains. However, the greens were in surprising good shape and drew rave reviews from our group. At the Orchards you will find an excellent course by Bill Newcomb. Bill has been at this quite a while and he is able to deliver some terrific bang for the buck. He has developed courses in Alaska, Ohio, Indiana, California, Wisconsin and, of course, Michigan.
We found the course new and refreshing. The clubhouse area was imaginative in design and offered good food service. The basic grilled chicken breast sandwich was right on the money. Newcomb gives you a lot of different looks at the Orchards. This is not necessarily easy as you can see most of the course from its center. Remember this is a land taken from an orchard and many of the trees within the course are apple or plum. Bill does have some land to be expansive in. The final three holes features a breather par 3 between two magnificent par 5's are a memorable finish. We also liked a short par 4, the 13th at 315 >from the blacks and the 275 from the whites that we played. All of us were close by on our drive, but all took par 4's. The environment around the green was all that we could handle.
8125 Elm Road
*There are a couple of lodging facilities that put together golf packages in Door County, Landmark Hotel and Condominiums being one of them.
The Peninsula GC is one of two State of Wisconsin golf facilities. It gets a tremendous amount of play in the summer time, due to its friendly prices and excellent course. It was one of the few on the peninsula for quite some time. Golfers will find a terrific course with great vistas of the peninsula, Green Bay and the lovely little town of Ephraim.
We had the chance to explore a couple of holes with owner Dave Bachman and share his excitement. You can share the same excitement by pulling up their web site. You will see some of the emerging holes as well as the visit by Jack and his entourage.
Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085
5944 Christmas Mountain Rd.
4065 River Rd.
Devils Head Resort
6330 Bluff Rd
The Springs Golf Club Resort
652 Trappers Turn Dr,
7120 County Trunk PD
Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort
It is a great place to bring kids. They have water slides, huge out door pools and other out door fund amenities.
Their Golf Academy was established in 1941, with past alumnus including Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Milton Berle, Morey Amsterdam and Dwight Eisenhower
511 E. Adams St.
Abbey Springs GC
South Shore Dr.
3121 Cty. Hwy 1
Blackwolf Run-Whistling Straits-Kohler
The world has indeed noticed. In 1998, after holding a number of prestigious state and national tournaments, Golf Kohler exploded on the scene with astounding success of the 1998 U.S. Women's Open Championship. It broke several records for the event, including attendance, a whopping 123,000 and the longest, which included a playoff round and then two playoff holes. It was one of the most exciting matches in golf ever.
In 2004 the PGA Championship will be held at Whistling Straits, an awesome prize for such a young course. "Whistling Straits will provide the perfect test for the world's best golfers, "said PGA President Will Mann.
Whistling Straits, the newest from the mind of legendary Pete Dye and the vision of Herbert Kohler Jr., embraces two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Fourteen holes are within a Tiger two iron of the water. Dye brought in 800,000 cubic yards of sand and sculpted a bit of Ireland and a touch of Scotland. "The size of the dunes reminds one of Ballybunion (old) and Royal Birkdale," said John Morrissett of the USGA.
The American Club is the only AAA Five Diamond Hotel in the Midwest. Famed golfers all over the world come to play these courses, and just as importantly, world hospitality leaders visit The American Club to see how a AAA Five Diamond Resort performs. The service at the American Club is utterly amazing.
1111 W. Riverside Dr.
Geneva National G.C.
This was Palmer's first Wisconsin course. A number of its holes share the coastline of Lake Como. The 17th hole is a beauty that rises up 300 ft above Lake Como. It is comparable to The Legend for its golf course beauty. Holes 16-18 represent a collection of some of the finest finishing holes we have seen.
The Trevino course had a mixed reception when it came on. We played it about six years ago and found it to be overly punitive, not an image you would expect from the Merry Mex. However, the course has been "friendlyized" and is now more of a treat than a torture.
Perhaps the best for last, the Gary Player course finally stretched out to its full 18 holes two years ago and it is magnificent. It is tight and requires some shot making, but it is really a lot of fun to play. The first hole is a challenge, and set the tone for the day. It heads toward the lake and you have a most interesting carry to the green. The 7th hole is memorable with its drop toward the lake in the background of interesting grasses.
Grand Geneva Resort and Spa
The first stage saw the company reworks the guestrooms and the interior and the second phase concentrated on the courses and grounds. They began their mission by taming the famed Brute. They accomplished this by widening the fairways and opening up the greens.
The second course, The Briar Patch, was remodeled a couple of years ago. The Briar Patch, originally was a Nicklaus/Dye creation. It offered the golfer some demanding and at times penal golf. However, that has changed. Now called The Highlands, Robert Cupp renovated the course into a more gentle, enjoyable and superbly conditioned golf course. Director of Golf, Dave Hallenbeck, is ecstatic over how well the course renovations have turned out.
The resort has all the amenities you would expect at a full service resort. It is one of Wisconsin's best.
Kettle Hills is a little easier on the pocketbook than the other places we have mentioned, but it offers a great golf value Troy Schmidt and Michele Fleszar are the people that you will likely come in contact with. They have been there since the golf complex was 18 holes. Bob Bellfield, the superintendent has been there since 1988. It is a very stable organization that will flat out give you great service. Ruby Zimmerman, the owner, wants everybody to check out their new website.
Timberstone-Honorary Wisconsin GC
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