As far as I have seen, nobody in the state of Wisconsin has published a top ten list of private golf clubs. I will attempt to be the first.
I should state first and foremost that I have not played them all. In fact, to this point I have only played 19. I am certainly hoping to add to that number quickly, though, and this list is intended to be dynamic as my quest to find the very best private golf clubs in Wisconsin plays out.
I expect this “Top ten list” to be controversial, and it is meant to be. I also expect it to be a fun endeavor, and I hope you enjoy the ride as each new private club I play has the ability to shake things up entirely. Your help will be needed to point me in the direction of new clubs to check out that have the potential of being included here.
My rankings revolve entirely around the golf experience, which includes the course itself, its layout and conditions and the overall look, feel and playability.
Still on my list of well-renowned Wisconsin private clubs to play include, but are not limited to:
- Blackhawk Country Club (Madison)
- Cherokee Country Club (Madison)
- La Crosse Country Club (Onalaska)
- The Legend at Merrill Hills (Waukesha)
- Maple Bluff Country Club (Madison)
- Minoqua Country Club (Minoqua)
- Nakoma Golf Club (Madison)
- Oconomowoc Golf Club (Oconomowoc)
- Oneida Golf and Country Club (Green Bay)
- Stevens Point Country Club (Stevens Point)
My Top Ten Private Golf / Country Clubs in Wisconsin:
Last updated: September 14, 2020
1. Pine Hills Country Club (Sheboygan)
Designer: Harry B. Smead (1928)
Yardage: Blue-6481, White-6151, Silver-5817, Gold-5302, Red-5076
Slope/Rating: Blue-132/72.3, White-128/70.7, Silver-125/69.3, Gold-121/66.9, Red-124/70.4
Pine Hills Country Club is one of the most beautiful, fun golf courses in the entire state. As one of my readers described it: “Pine Hills is like a roller coaster” – I could not agree more. From the severe elevation changes to their heavily contoured greens, a round at Pine Hills is as enjoyable as any of the Sheboygan area courses.
When originally targeted by Kohler to be his golf course for visitors to the American Club, the membership refused to sell, leading the plumbing fixtures magnate to meet with Pete Dye, fall in love with golf and course design, and eventually create his Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run empire as it is today.
2. Milwaukee Country Club (River Hills)
Designers: CH Alison and HS Colt (1929)
Yardage: Black-7094, Middle-6444, Forward-5856
Slope/Rating: Back-136/74.6, Middle-130/71.9, Forward-125/69.5
The number 62-ranked overall golf course in the entire country (Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest for 2015/2016), the Milwaukee Country Club is the most exclusive private club in the state of Wisconsin.
A Colt and Alison design originally built in 1929, the course has had recent rework performed by Tom Doak to remove some trees to open up views of the river from more interior holes. The back nine is especially a phenomenal test of golf, with many holes going over and along the river. The prestige and mystique of MCC is unrivaled in the state.
3. Green Bay Country Club (Green Bay)
Designer: Dick Nugent (1995)
Yardage: Black-7097, Blue-6697, Gold-6272
Slope/Rating: Black-141/74.2, Blue-135/71.9, Gold-131/70.3
My favorite of the modern private clubs in the state, Green Bay has probably the most dramatic and unique golf landscape in the state.
4. Blue Mound Golf & Country Club (Wauwatosa)
Designer: Seth Raynor (1926)
Yardage: Black-6667, Blue-6313, White-5632
Slope/Rating: Black-131/72.1, Blue-127/70.6, White-124/72.5
Wisconsin’s only Seth Raynor design, Blue Mound has the state’s best greens, hands down.
7. The Club at Strawberry Creek (Kenosha)
Designers: Rick Jacobson (2006)
Yardage: Black-7113, Gold-6658, Blue-6157, White-5648, Green-5098
Slope/Rating: Black-136/74.8, Gold-131/72.8, Blue-126/70.5, White-122/68.2, Green-121/70.1
The newest country club in the state of Wisconsin, The Club at Strawberry Creek was designed by Rick Jacobsen and initially opened for play in 2006.
Having played host to the 2012 Wisconsin State Amateur event, this links-style course has quickly gained a reputation as one of the state’s finest private golf clubs, less than ten miles from the Wisconsin/Illinois border.
8. North Hills Country Club (Menomonee Falls)
Designer: John Barr (1929)
Yardage: Black-6,715, Blue-6,424, White-6,208
Slope/Rating: Black-133/73.2, Blue-130/71.9, White-127/70.7
My home course, North Hills is one of the most well manicured courses I’ve ever played, and is consistently interesting. I could play this course 100,000 times and still never got tired of it or even find a hole I don’t like.
9. Horseshoe Bay Golf Club (Egg Harbor)
Designer: Rick Robbins (2000)
Yardage: Black-7101, Blue-6601, White-6117, Red-5386
Slope/Rating: Black-139/74.5, Blue-134/72.1, White-130/70.0, Red-124/71.5
Featuring some of the state’s best par five holes, especially thirteen and the awesome eighteenth, Horseshoe Bay is one of the best conditioned courses I have ever played. A new-age links design by Rick Robbin and Brian Lussier, Horseshoe Bay combines the charm of Door County, Wisconsin, with fantastic golf.
10. Ozaukee Country Club (Mequon)
Course Designers: William Langford and Theodore Moreau (1922)
Yardage: Blue-6765, White-6381, Gold-5806
Slope/Rating: Blue-130/72.9, White-125/71.0, Gold-121/68.5
Designed by one of golf’s all-time greatest course architecture teams (Langford and Moreau), Ozaukee provides a tremendous challenge of golf. As evidenced by the scores in last year’s State Amateur, 6765 yards can still be a beast in a modern golf tournament: Only five total rounds in the tournament were played under par, and the winner (Alex Geigert, playing out of Grand Geneva) was one of two players to finish better than +10. Gaugert was +6 after shooting 68 on the final day.