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18th Hole at Sand Valley

16 Best Golf Courses You Can Play in Wisconsin: Play The Best Golf in The Midwest

February 29, 2024

Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, Wisconsin boasts a golfing landscape that combines breathtaking scenery with challenging courses, making it a haven for golf enthusiasts. 

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a casual player looking for a scenic round, Wisconsin’s golf courses promise a memorable and rewarding golfing adventure.

In this article, we’ll showcase not only the challenging layouts that will put your skills to the test, but also the unique settings that make each course a distinctive masterpiece.

1. Straits – Whistling Straits – Kohler Resort

Host of the 2021 Ryder Cup, famed for one of Team USA’s most convincing victories in recent years, and 3x PGA Championship, the iconic ‘Staits’ Course at Whilsting Straits is one of America’s true bucket list courses. The 1998 Pete Dye design is part of the Kohler Resort, built on the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Considered one of the most difficult courses in the country, the layout is susceptible to the prevailing winds coming off the lake, as the course name suggests, creating an additional challenge to an already testing layout.

Course Details

Opened: 1998
Par: 72
Length: 7,201 yards
Designer: Pete Dye

Whistling Straits Course on Lake Michigan
Whistling Straits

2. Sand Valley – Sand Valley Golf Resort

Sand Valley is relatively new on the U.S. golf landscape. It burst onto the scene on opening in 2017, and, carrying the resort’s name, is the lead layout of the four spectacular full courses at the exceptional Kaiser family facility. 

Rated no.1 new course in the U.S. by Golf Digest, this dramatic design utilizes the natural sand landscape of central Wisconsin, resulting in an epic layout of vast green complexes, flowing fairways, and stunning scenery.

Course Details

Opened: 2017
Par: 72
Length: 6,938
Designer: Coore & Crenshaw

3. Erin Hills Golf Course – Hartford

Another titan of the Wisconsin golf scene, Erin Hills catapulted to fame as host of the 2017 U.S. Open, won by Brooks Keopka. The big-hitting American was able to take advantage of the layout due to a week of minimal winds, however, the vast landscape, carved by glaciers centuries ago, is usually susceptible to gusty breezes. 

Erin Hills remains one of the most desirable courses in the U.S. and a must-play on a Wisconsin golf tour.

Course Details

Opened: 2006
Par: 72
Length: 7,731
Designer: Dr. Michael John Hurdzan

4. The Links – Lawsonia

The Golf Courses of Lawsonia’ is home to The Links, lesser known than many Wisconsin counterparts, but golf has been played here long before the big names had even been imagined. 

The undulating Wisconsin dairylands lend itself to a naturally challenging and engaging layout defined by deep bunkers, wide fairways, and exceptional putting surfaces; this is one of the finest and best value public golf courses in the U.S.

Course Details

Opened: 1930
Par: 72
Length: 6,853
Designer: William Langford, Theodore Moreau, Craig Haltom

5. The Lido – Sand Valley

Top-5 may be a little lofty for a brand new golf course, only accessible to a very lucky few. However, if the hype is to be believed, the Lido is the latest in a line of must-play Wisconsin golf courses. 

Offering a unique back story, the Lido is in fact a replica of a course located on Long Island, NY, which was lost in WWII. So highly regarded was the original course, that the Kaiser family enlisted Tom Doak to recreate the former course, allowing golfers of the modern day to take a trip back in time.

Course Details

Opened: 2023
Par: 72
Length: 6,782
Designer: Tom Doak

The Lido
The Lido, Sand Valley

6. River Course – Blackwolf Run – Kohler Resort

Often in the shadows of sister course Whistling Straits, River Course at Blackwolf Run deserves recognition as one of the best courses in the USA in its own right. While it may not have the shores of Lake Michigan at its disposal, Blackwolf Run creates its own identity through beautiful natural surroundings, unimpeded by construction or development. 

As the name suggests, a key feature of the layout is the Sheboygan River, which meanders through the landscape, the result is a selection of strategic and testing holes, to be enjoyed in pure tranquility.

Course Details

Opened: 1988
Par: 72
Length: 6,991
Designer: Pete Dye

7. Mammoth Dunes – Sand Valley

Although it was named after the pre-historic giants that used to roam this land, the huge sand spaces and dramatic elevation changes result in a very fitting title of duel meaning. 
Esteemed architect David McLay Kidd sought to create a layout of equal standard, but in contrast to the Sand Valley course, and succeeded with esteem, creating one of the most complete and varied golf destinations in the U.S.

Course Details

Opened: 2018
Par: 73
Length: 6,988
Designer: David McLay Kidd

8. SentryWorld

SentryWorld rose to fame in 2023 when it hosted the U.S. Senior Open Championship, watching legends of the game take on this exceptional layout under major tournament conditions was a treat for golf fans around the world. 
However, the beauty of SentryWorld is not about fame, in fact, it is quite the opposite. The lodge-style Inn accommodation provides a true retreat and connection with nature only rivaled by its golf course. While the par 3 16th ‘Flower Hole’ may be one of the most photogenic sights in golf, there is more beauty and tranquility to be found at every turn at this unmissable course.

Course Details

Opened: 1982
Par: 72
Length: 7,145
Designer: Robert Trent Jones, Jr

The 16th Hole at Sentry World

9. Irish – Whistling Straits – Kohler Resort

Whistling Straits second course, ‘The Irish Course’ as it’s known, shares similar characteristics with The Straits course. Large dunes or ‘Bluffs’ create the essence of this layout, however, while the Straits enjoy Lake Michigan’s shores, the Irish is set a little further inland, around man-made lakes.

Certainly more playable, the Irish is a perfect, high-ranking second fiddle for visitors to the Kohler Resort.

Course Details

Opened: 2000
Par: 72
Length: 7,201
Designer: Pete Dye

10. Arnold Palmer – Geneva National Resort

Geneva National Resort is located on the shores of Lake Como, southwest of Milwaukee, near the Ilinois border. The highest ranking of the three courses on the resort is the Arnold Palmer Course, designed by the late great man, referred to fondly as ‘The King’. 

The layout features much of the drama ‘Arnie’ was known for, the layout begins with a serene and elegant meander through the woodlands, before dramatically opening out onto the lake shore. A memorable experience for anyone who chooses to visit this beautiful Wisconsin resort.

Course Details

Opened: 1991
Par: 72
Length: 7,171
Designer: Arnold Palmer

Geneva National Wisconsin Palmer Course Lake
Arnold Palmer Course, Geneva National

11. The Bull at Pinehurst Farms – Sheboygan Falls

Wisconsin’s only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, The Bull is located near Kohler, making it a great addition to Whistling Straits & Blackwolf Run. 

Bringing water into play on the old Dairy Farmland, the Bull is consistently ranked one of the top public courses in Wisconsin. In the scenic settings, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security, before the very difficult Bull course lives up to its name.

Course Details

Opened: 2003
Par: 72
Length: 7,332
Designer: Jack Nicklaus

12. Blackwolf Run – Meadow Valleys – Kohler Resort

Alongside the River, Meadow Valleys at Blackwolf Run is another exceptional 18 from Kohler Resort. While it may only briefly benefit from the Sheboygan River toward the end of the round, this long, challenging course, host (for the most part) of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open is a worthy member of the list in its own right. 

Kept in exceptional condition, as all courses at the Kohler Resort are, we recommend including this round in your next visit to Wisconsin.

Course Details

Opened: 1990
Par: 72
Length: 7,250
Designer: Pete Dye

13. The Bog – Saukville

Not the most appealing of titles, The Bog is named after the Cedarburg Bog which flows alongside the course. However, the natural water creates a very scenic environment in which to play golf, surrounded by wildlife, this is an exceptional example of the tranquil golf you expect to find in Wisconsin.

The Bog is rated as a top 5 Arnold Palmer Courses and is certainly worth adding to your next Wisconsin golf tour.

Course Details

Opened: 1995
Par: 72
Length: 7,221
Designer: Arnold Palmer

14. Gary Player Course – Geneva National Resort

Designed by Gary Player, or ‘The Black Night’ as he’s known, for his classic all-black attire, this scenic course sits elegantly alongside its two counterparts at Geneva National Resort. 

Filled with risk rewards, including split fairways and strategic ravines, arguably making it the most fun of the three courses to play, the layout weaves through the woodland offering a tranquil experience, which you may want to choose for your next matchplay competition.

Course Details

Opened: 1995
Par: 72
Length: 7,039
Designer: Gary Player

15. Lee Trevino Course – Geneva National Resort

The third Geneva National Resort golf course to make this list, this track is also designed by a golfing great, Lee Trevino. Built among hilly terrain, this meticulously manicured 18 combines to create one of the strongest 54-hole offerings of any destination in the U.S. 

The Lee Trevino Course is curated to suit Mr Trevino’s signature fade, with many of the holes featuring subtle left to right dog-leg holes. Be sure to not to overdo it and find yourself blocked out!

Course Details

Opened: 1990
Par: 72
Length: 7,120
Designer: Lee Trevino

16. Brown Deer Park – Milwaukee

Brown Deer Park is located in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee, and this challenging yet scenic layout is worth a stop on your way in or out of the city. 

Designed elegantly around a small stream running through the entire course, the first layout here dates back to 1929. Known as the course where Tiger Woods turned pro and is still used regularly for regional and national qualification events.

Course Details

Opened: 1929
Par: 71
Length: 6,759
Designer: George Hanson


Wisconsin hosts several major golf tournaments throughout the year, attracting top professional golfers and amateur enthusiasts.

The 2023 PGA Tour Champions schedule will include two stops in Wisconsin and one of them will bring some major attention to the state.

In the past, the 2021 Ryder Cup was held at Whistling Straits, The 2017 US Open at Erin Hills, the Women’s US Open was held at Blackwolf Run River in 1998 and 2021, and The PGA Championship was held at Whistling Straits in 2004, 2010 and 2015.

The Wisconsin State Amateur, the PGA Tour Champions Regions Charity Classic, and the Wisconsin Open are just a few of the notable events that showcase the state’s passion for golf and its exceptional golf courses.

Wisconsin’s golf courses are known for their diverse landscapes, ranging from the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine to the sandy dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan. This variety provides golfers with a range of challenges and scenic settings to experience. In the middle of the state, sand deposits from the ice age have created excellent sandy hills for the various courses at Sand Valley.

Additionally, the state’s rich history and culture have influenced the design and character of many golf courses, adding an element of charm and tradition to the game.