Ever since I was a kid growing up in Hartland, I always wanted to play Westmoor Country Club. I passed by it every time I went to Brookfield Square or Milwaukee, and the view up the par three fifth and down the fairway of the adjacent fourth always whet my appetite to see what this course had to offer.
This past October, I got the chance to check it out as my friend, Joey, who is a member at Westmoor, was hosting his annual Chop Stix Open. The event, coinciding with his birthday, was a great time and we couldn’t have been more fortunate weather-wise – I am told they played in 30-degree temperatures and tons of wind last year.
The wind was certainly a factor this year, too, at times well over 25 miles per hour, but the temperatures were in the 50’s, the sun was out and it felt great to swing the sticks in Wisconsin in late October.
The Chop Stix Open event is a two-man best ball competition with [mostly] players of Asian descent versus us regular white guys, and while the white guys won, I am told the Asian team won handily in the drinking and fun department. I have to admit I had plenty of fun, though, myself.
Westmoor is a fabulous golf club, with a large pool and clubhouse, tennis courts, and a massive men’s locker room [with its own cards/bar/game room] that dwarfs the one I am used to at North Hills (it is also a very expensive club with what I have heard is a significant down-stroke).
The course is very impressive. What was once considered to be a perhaps overly tight parkland track was opened up and lengthened in 2009 by Lohmann Golf Design – the critiques I have heard have gotten mixed reviews, with some saying the renovation got rid of some of its character, while others love the new-age look and feel of the traps and mounding.
Westmoor originally opened in 1926 as a 27-hole facility designed by one of its members, Lloyd Fitzgerald. In the 1950’s, Interstate 94 was expanded and the legendary William Langford was brought in to redesign the fourth through eighth holes that were wiped out by construction of the freeway (courtesy of Westmoor’s Assistant Superintendent, Bryan Bergner, via GolfClubAtlas).
You will notice in my commentary below that my opinions are very much in line with Bergner’s: The fourth through eighth holes are the strongest, most beautiful and strategic ones on the course. Simply stated, they are outstanding golf holes.
In 1973, renovation work was done to holes one and ten, and on fifteen through eighteen by David Gill, and the course was then merely tinkered with until the large-scale renovation of 2008/2009.
Lohmann’s redesign was intended to unify the course in to a more Langford-like track with elevated, plateaued greens alike those played on Lawsonia’s Links course (designed by Langford and Theodore Moreau) and at nearby West Bend Country Club.
While I never played Westmoor prior to this year, I do think the majority of the course is consistently themed rather well, but most importantly that it is entirely aesthetically pleasing and an excellent challenge of golf.
The openness of the renovated course allows for the wind to affect play significantly, while allowing for slightly off-struck longer shots to result in less penalty. Sans the water hazards and nearby road traffic, there are few unplayable areas at Westmoor.
I also really enjoyed the variety of par fours, with some as short from the first tees in as the 339-yard tenth (356 from the tips) and [the reachable] 346-yard sixth (378 from the tips), and as long as the beastly 442-yard second hole (467 from the tips) that played directly in to the teeth of the wind.
Equally as varied are their par threes, which range from 154 to 220 from the tips, and from 146 to 180 from the first tees in (copper tees). The par threes have great character, especially the fifth which plays over a pond and significantly uphill from 180 (217 from the tips). This is the par three seen from I-94.
Westmoor begins with a fairly straightforward par four of 399 yards. A good tee shot down the middle should leave in a simple approach to a large green that slopes from back to front to help hold irons.
Mike completing his swing in front of the first hole tee box monument:
- Good to remind yourself that any damage caused by errant shots is your responsibility
- Terribly detrimental to have any thoughts in your mind of pushing a ball in to oncoming traffic
Four is a beautiful par four – maybe my favorite on the entire course, in fact. Continuing alongside Moorland Road, the traps that adjoin the fairway and rough are obviously best to avoid, but are playable. The berms are steep, and more bunkers encroach the green complex.
A slight ridge runs through the front-left of the green, which was the difference between Mike and I beating Ross and his playing partner, or tying. I read it opposite and Ross read it correctly – our match, which started on five, finished all square.
Another really great looking par four at Westmoor is the sixteenth. Favor the left side of the fairway to stay out of the traps on the right at all costs. Take it from me, they are not fun to be in especially with a downward lie.
The fairway runs heavily to the right, but the sand found on that side of the fairway is a long way to fly and should be kept away from.
Playing back toward the clubhouse, I am sure the next time I play Westmoor I will have one thing on my mind during this trek: I cannot wait to get a huge order of french fries. Westmoor is well known in the Milwaukee area for providing the best culinary experience, and you will get a good taste of this from the fries alone – prepared in duck fat and seasoned with parmesan cheese, they are absolutely amazing.
Although my round here was on a mostly leafless late October, I really enjoyed the golfing experience at Westmoor Country Club, and cannot wait to hopefully get back again next year to re-shoot it when the weather is warm and the course’s conditions are tip-top (the conditions for late October, though, were absolutely spectacular, especially the fairways!).
While Westmoor is a private club, the public does have a number of opportunities to play it, usually on Mondays for charitable golf events like the Milwaukee Bucks outing to benefit cystic fibrosis (which was held on September 22 this year). If you have the opportunity to take time off from work, and $2,500 for a foursome, I highly recommend playing it.
Location: Brookfield, WI
Yardage: Black-7010, Copper-6555, Hybrid-6209, Silver-6008, Green-5503
Slope/Rating: Black-135/74.6, Copper-131/72.6, Hybrid-128/70.9, Silver-126/69.9, Green-119/67.7
Weekend Rates: N/A (private club)