Summer in Wisconsin is second to none, and few in-state destinations can compare to Lake Geneva. Beautiful lakes, terrific dining, a fun bar scene and fantastic golf beckon travelers from across the Midwest to this small lake town that swells between the Memorial and Labor Day weekends.
Less than 30 minutes from the Wisconsin/Illinois border, Geneva National is a gated community with options galore: For golf, dining, drinks and lodging.
The newest of those lodging options is The Suites at Geneva National. Perched atop a knoll adjacent to the clubhouse parking lot, The Suites are comfortable and extremely well-appointed. Roomy bathroom en suites have double-sinks and vanities, detached water closets and 8-foot deep glass enclosed showers.
A dry bar with a wine fridge, coffee maker and pantry are near the mudroom entryway, and a raised workspace provides a comfortable and stylish spot to get work done, if needed.
Wisconsin’s is a short travel season, though, so hopefully you’re not looking to vacation to get work done.
While many vacationers to Lake Geneva choose to venture out and explore its lakes and quaint downtown, Geneva National makes that just an option as visitors are able to have fun-filled days without ever leaving the property.
From three terrific golf courses, to fantastic dining, to the day spa on premises and the resort’s restaurants and nightspots, there is always plenty to do at Geneva National.
My wife and I, along with our friends KC and Tanya, spent a couple nights there last weekend, and I can’t say enough how much we enjoyed the experience. It was Kelly and my fourth wedding anniversary, and KC’s birthday, so we had plenty to celebrate. We did.
Day one started with golf on the Palmer course, which is a fun, challenging track that has one of the most scenic finishes in the state: An infinity green par three 16th followed by one of the late Arnold Palmer’s very own all-time favorite hole designs: The beautiful par five 17th that meanders alongside Lake Como.
Golf was followed by happy hour on the patio, then one of the very best steaks I’ve had at The Hunt Club. The old fashioneds were well made, and the food was perfect. From the mussels, table bread and app starter plates, to the entrees and through to the truffle desserts, we were all enamored with The Hunt Club experience.
It wasn’t my first time there, and I knew exactly what kind of world-class dining experience we were in for. It’s not often I pump the tires of a restaurant as much as I did The Hunt Club, and it’s much less frequent that I’m so 100% right.
You can find much less expensive restaurants, but few better.
Day two featured golf with KC and my friend, Tom, on the Player course, which is my favorite of the three at Geneva National. The Player course has consistently memorable holes, from the strategic little par three fourth, to the spectacular drivable par four fifth, the downhill par five tenth, and the long par five 16th, the hits come early and often.
The clubhouse is nearing the end of a significant renovation, and plays home to several key areas of the resort including its best spot for a quick breakfast, Turf Kitchen + Tap. The bar and restaurant at Turf overlook the club’s putting green, the 18th on the Palmer course and first tee of Player, as well as the driving range and its million dollar view.
The clubhouse’s interiors have been fully revamped with new furnishings, fixtures and finishes since I was last there; the ballrooms have been remodeled, and a renovation of the pro shop will begin this off-season.
Turf is in the process of being converted to a BBQ smokehouse. In fact, the new smoker was being winched in to place as we finished day two on the Player course.
We spent the majority of the second evening at Geneva National’s sister property, The Ridge. A newly renovated hotel with 146 rooms just five minutes off-property, The Ridge has a cool outdoor space with a pool and tiki bar (the pool is also available to guests of Geneva National), Crafted Pizza & Tap, and plenty of outdoor seating.
The four of us grabbed seats, drinks and appetizers, as well as pizzas from Crafted and enjoyed the ambience of live music by the ~ 20-foot-long fire table for hours.
It was another wonderful evening in Lake Geneva.
While the resort and its amenities are impressive, it’s the golf that stars at Geneva National. Both the Palmer and Player courses are consistently ranked in the top 10-20 public tracks in the state, and all three courses including the Trevino (which I haven’t played in a lot of years) are undergoing numerous enhancements. Chief among those is significant tree removal with the goal of restoring many of the original lake views from when the property was developed 30 years ago.
This work is already evident on several holes, where tree growth stunted signature sightlines for years.
The 15th is a terrific example of this, with the lake now looming beyond the par three green.
This was the first time I’d ever been to Geneva National on a couple’s trip, and my wife and I [and our friends] really enjoyed the experience.
It was also the first time we’ve been OUT to dinner since February, and we were both very comfortable with the safety procedures and precautions in place to address COVID-19. Every employee wore a mask indoors and when customer-facing, tables at the restaurants were properly spaced and there was never a time when we felt unsafe or at risk.
It was great getting away from the stress of everyday life – not just from being at home 24 hours a day with the two of us and a 1- and 3-year-old, but also from a life that has become accustomed to being home and staying away from public places.
Everything we did onsite lent itself to leisure and enjoyment. That’s what a great vacation is for, and that’s exactly what we got at Geneva National.