9 Wisconsin Holes Every Golfer Should Play


What if you could custom design a course with only the best of the best holes? We asked the Wisconsin golf experts to pick their top holes in the state and asked: how would you design the Ultimate 9? Here are the must-play holes from Wisconsin's top golf courses.

Brown Deer – Hole 1

Most famous as the course where Tiger Woods got his start, Brown Deer remains the crown jewel of the 15 Milwaukee County Parks golf courses, superbly conditioned and as difficult as ever. The 460-yard par 4 first tee is a beast, lined with trees on one side and bunkers on the other. The drive on this long par 4 must be in the left-center of the fairway for the player to see the entire putting surface. Long second shots to a heavily-bunkered green are required. Even the professionals who play Brown Deer joke about its “par 5 first hole.”

The Bull at Pinehurst Farms – Hole 5

The Bull is Wisconsin’s only Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course and it more than lives up to the hype and will be one of the most scenic and difficult courses you’ll ever play. At 432 yards, hole 5 is nicknamed “Follow On” and boasts a claustrophobic drive through a chute of trees leads to a fairway that doglegs left around a deep ravine. The only safe place on this par 4 is in the fairway. 

Erin Hills – Hole 8

Any 2017 U.S. Open player will remember the par 3 9th at Erin Hills, but hole 8 is its own beast. Dogleg left over a giant mound. The more you cut the corner, the more of a downhill lie you will have to an elevated green. After hitting your tee shot, you go straight uphill around the mound, then straight downhill to find your ball, then straight uphill to the green. Ein Hills’ layout embraces the rolling hills and valleys of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, making this one of the toughest holes to walk in the world.

Mammoth Dunes at Sand Valley Resort – Hole 14

Dubbed the “most fun hole” on the course, this is the Golf Digest Armchair Architect Hole that was designed by an online contest winner. This 325 yard, great little par 4 can be played a hundred different ways. It’s a downhill shot with severe slopes and ridges and bunkers that uses the natural landscape that makes Sand Valley so spectacular. (Pro tip: There’s a speed slot to the right that will take your ball right to the green!)

University Ridge – Hole 16

University Ridge derives its name from the landscape features left by the last retreating glacier. The course sits on the terminal moraine, where the Wisconsin Glacier stopped, forming the backbone of the ridge that separates the land into groups of rolling hills and valleys. The course’s 554 yard signature 16th hole is complete with 16 bunkers and bisected by cottonwood trees, making you choose between playing it safe, short, and to the left, or driving over the trees. This true par 5 has a T-shaped green, allowing for interesting pin placements.

SentryWorld – Hole 16

Dubbed the “flower hole,” there is not a comparable golf hole in the world. The 36,000 flowers surrounding this par 3 are deemed ground under repair, and entering the flower area (or playing from it!) is prohibited. The hole is as challenging as it is beautiful - three bunkers sit between your tee shot and the green, with a fourth directly to the left of the green. You’ll look forward to playing this whole all day, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Whistling Straits at Kohler – Hole 17

The “Pinched Nerve” is one of Pete Dye's most intimidating par 3 holes. This course lies along two windswept and rugged miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. The green is guarded on the left by sand dunes that fall 20 feet below green level. A large, elevated sand dune just 40 yards short of the green will invite players toward the left side of the green, which is a risky choice because of the drop-off toward the lake. Tee shots straying right will find sand dunes and bunkers on a steep hillside protecting the right side of the green. Don’t be distracted by the jet skis and sailboats as they observe from the water.

Palmer Course at Geneva National – Hole 17

Arnold Palmer himself calls the Geneva National signature 17th hole one of his favorites, placing it as #11 in his personal “Dream 18″ in the eastern part of the states. The 573-yard par-5 features a green that looks like it’s in the middle of Lake Como, a serene and peaceful body of water dotted with cottages and supper clubs, located near its more famous sister, Geneva Lake. The safe play is to drive down the right side followed by a 200-yard lay-up shot finishing with a wedge to a super-undulating green. 

The Brute Course at Grand Geneva – Hole 17

The magnificent Brute, at over 7,000 yards, is one of the most challenging layouts in the Midwest and is considered one of Wisconsin's best golf courses. Probably the most recognizable (and beautiful) hole on property, this 420 yard par 4 has a heart-shaped lake and some massive bunkers to contend with on your way to the equally-challenging 18th hole. Brush up on your precision golf game to master this course.  
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