Hawk’s View Como Crossings: Exhilarating Golf on the Slopes of Lake Geneva

The start and finish to a round are crucial to the overall golf experience. At no other point can a larger effect be implanted in the golfer’s psyche, with the opening and closing holes often forming the most vivid memories.

I love golf properties that follow a “bookend” sequence, putting their best land on full display at the beginning and end of the round. This promotes a sense of adventure, as golfers are fully immersed in the finest features the property has to offer right out of the gate before returning to the same area for a dramatic finish.

I recently came across one of the state’s best start/finish combos at the Como Crossings course of Hawk’s View Golf Club in Lake Geneva. This upscale public layout features a spectacular landmark in former ski slope Mount Fuji, emerging out of the forest at the southern end of the Kettle Moraine.

Hawk’s View Como Crossings is best-known for its signature par 3 17th that steeply descends Mount Fuji

The Como Crossings course starts adjacent to the hills, winding around forested topography for a memorable start on the first four holes. After touring a flatter section of land dotted with with well-placed water hazards, the routing takes a switchback route back up into the hills and crescendos in one of Wisconsin’s most thrilling finishes. The final act features the breathtaking 16th and 17th holes at Mount Fuji:

A roller-coaster finish awaits at the 16th and 17th

Hawk’s View is a fantastic public 36-hole facility that, while well-known, perhaps doesn’t get as much attention as its popular resort neighbors, Geneva National and Grand Geneva. There is no reason it shouldn’t be listed side-by-side with those peers, though, in any complete golf guide to the region.

Architect Craig Schreiner, also known in Wisconsin for his renovation of Oconomowoc Golf Club, put his best foot forward at Hawk’s View on all of its 36 holes, including the full-length Como Crossings and its little brother 18-hole short course, Barn Hollow. With both layouts opening at the same time in 2001, the already-noteworthy Lake Geneva region became even more golf-rich in one fell swoop.

The back nine at Hawk’s View is one of the best sides I’ve played this season, meandering around ponds and through the prairie before ascending into the hills for an unforgettable finish

Playing with WiscoGolfAddict Contributing Writer and professional photographer Rich Bauer, our host Mike and my friend John, we tackled Hawk’s View Como Crossings on a perfect summer morning. I found the course to be very playable despite its dramatic surroundings, and from the white tees of around 6,200 yards I managed to break 80 even while spraying tee shots most of the day. Some of this could be attributed to generous width off the tee; while forest, water and fescue lurk on the sides of playing corridors, the trouble is usually far enough off the fairway to avoid even with subpar driving.

The 10th (foreground and left) and the 11th (right) play through a marshy area but offer enough width for most mediocre shots to stay dry

Where Hawk’s View demands sharp performance is on approaches and around the greens. Most of the green complexes feature heavy bunkering or water around the perimeters and steep sloping putting surfaces. While the course was in excellent shape with quick and smooth greens, it could be diabolical if they ran at elite speeds.

The waterfront 13th green (foreground) and the 18th (background) both demand precise approach shots

Playability, dramatic topography and a scenic setting are the things I value the most in a golf experience, and Hawk’s View has all of these in spades, as illustrated in the video recently posted to WiscoGolfAddict’s YouTube channel:

The Como Crossings course at Hawk’s View Golf Club is an incredible adventure over ski slopes, through forests and around ponds

Course Overview

Hawk’s View Golf Club (Como Crossings)

Lake Geneva, WI

Par 72, 7074/6595/6210/5701/5115 Yards

Architect: Craig Schreiner (2001)

Hole-by-Hole Summary

Starting with two mid-length par fours, the Como Crossings course opens with decent scoring opportunities. Both #1 and #2 bend slightly to the right, straddling a steep hill. The first green slopes heavily from right-to-left, and approach shots must favor the right side to have a chance at getting close.

The picturesque second features Como Creek cutting across the fairway within driver distance for most, prompting a conservative tee shot followed by a short iron to a green carved out of a fescue-covered hill. I got some Erin Hills vibes walking up to this dramatic green site.

The stellar par 3 third foreshadows the amazing finish that golfers will encounter later in the round. From the second green, the path to the third tee winds into the hills, creating an air of anticipation. The reveal at the tee box lives up to the hype, looking down some 50 to 100 feet to a green in the valley with golden fescue framing the background. Playing shorter than the posted yardage to a massive green, this is yet another scoring opportunity early in the round. My slight miss to the right found a generous chipping area, from where I was able to convert a straightforward par save.

The fourth is a fun downhill ride, playing much shorter than the modestly long yardage on the scorecard. Plenty of trouble exists on the tee shot, however, with water and fescue left and woods right. I found the right side to be quite forgiving though, after my sliced drive ended up in a spot where I still had a chance to hit the green.

A great start and finish would lose a lot of its luster if the holes in the middle were unnoteworthy. At Hawk’s View Como Crossings, that couldn’t be further from the truth, with the 5th through the 13th winding through a scenic prairie setting with engaging architecture to keep the round memorable throughout its entirety.

After crossing Como Creek into this flatter portion of the property, the fifth is a challenging straightaway par 4. While two fairway bunkers standing guard on each side should be easy to avoid given their distance from the tee, a gaping bunker short and left of the green must be avoided at all costs.

At the sixth, golfers will face their first intimidating carry over water. This mid-to-long par 3 features a large pond up the left side. Two distinct teeing areas add considerable variety for repeat visits, with the longer tee box placed off to the left where the path to the green is straight over the drink. However, from this angle a bailout area to the right exists.

The other tee location to the right presents a much different angle, with less of a forced carry but a smaller lateral bailout zone. We played from this location, which proved to be an intimidating shot directly into the morning sun. Thankfully the dreaded snap hook that seems to bite me once or twice a round did not make its appearance here.

Bunkers, bunkers, bunkers. The seventh has them in droves, so you better practice up on your sand game before taking on this challenge.

The risk-reward architecture of this par 5 is brilliant, presenting options on each shot with the bolder routes accompanied with steeper penalties for misses. The green may be reachable in two, but this feat requires a couple of courageous, well-executed shots with stiff consequences for failed attempts. First, a knee-knocking tee shot must avoid water left and sand right, and from there many options are in play for the uphill second shot.

Going for the green in two requires carrying a cluster of bunkers to a shallow green. After a great drive and a flushed hybrid from the fairway, I expected an eagle chance but instead found myself over the green with a near-impossible flop shot back to the pin.

The layup shot presents options, as well, with a split fairway leading up to the green. The right fairway presents the easiest layup shot but leads to a semi-blind shot to the green that must carry sand. The alternative fairway to the left presents a tougher, longer second shot but then yields an easy angle into the green from under 100 yards.

The straightaway par 4 8th features more severe bunkering to add considerable challenge to this otherwise flat and open portion of the property. Two fairway traps pinch the fairway to miniscule width right at driver distance for shorter hitters. However, clubbing down off the tee may not be worth it as a longer approach would then have to contend with a deep bunker guarding the right half of the green.

The short par 5 ninth is a great opportunity to pad the scorecard heading into the turn. A heavily wooded waste area lurks to the left, though, promising to swallow up any hooked tee shot. My always-inconvenient duck hook finally struck here, leading to a disappointing bogey to take some luster off of a very good front nine.

The front nine at Como Crossings is certainly no slouch, but the back nine will steal the show with drama and variety from start to finish. Before the routing heads into the hills, the 10th through 13th holes dart between marshes and ponds, and it’s crucial to keep your ball dry in this stretch to maintain momentum.

Right out of the gate, the challenging par 5 10th opens with a forced carry over a marsh that also closely lines the left side. Bailing out to the right isn’t an ideal option, either, with fairway traps meticulously placed to catch overly conservative drives. This is where my drive ended up, and one shot later I faced a 200-yard approach with another forced carry over the creek. I felt decent about the resulting six on the scorecard with my playing partners suffering worse fates.

The long par 3 11th cuts back to the east with marsh lining the left side. Unlike the 10th, though, the trouble is well wide of the green, and even my hooked tee shot didn’t find the hazard. The key here is to avoid the bunker short and left, and a high draw is the ideal shot shape to use the contours of the green to maximum advantage.

The 12th and 13th circle a large pond in the middle of the property, with the water coming into play prominently on both of these par 4s. The 12th, while shorter in yardage, features two fairway bunkers that cut into the right half of the fairway and will make shorter hitters think twice about hitting driver. Laying up short of the traps could prove perilous, however, as it would prompt a longer iron into a green flanked by water left and long.

On the 13th, drives must bisect the pond on the left side and a grove of trees to the right to find a narrow fairway. The dangerous approach plays uphill with water short and left and a steep runoff bordering the green. I got extremely lucky here, with my sliced drive barely skirting past the trees right to a spot where I had a direct line (and a good angle) to the pin. I took advantage by stuffing my approach to within 10 feet. Even after missing the short birdie putt, it felt good to make a four on this demanding test.

Just like the 7th, the short par 5 14th uses bunkering on a grand scale to add challenge and options. The drive must bisect a narrow strip of fairway with trees on both sides and a large fescue-covered hill to the left. Playing uphill towards the forest’s edge, the second shot once again offers two choices of fairways to pursue that are split by a series of centerline bunkers. Coming in with a wedge from the right fairway, the angle of approach proved to be quite challenging to an unreceptive green. The left fairway provides a far more optimal angle but comes with a degree of risk with deep woods just to the left.

Once you reach the 15th tee, you’ll realize that the tee shots have suddenly become narrow after enjoying wide corrridors for most of the round. This longer par 4 plays across the side of a steep hill, and anything hooked left will tumble down the slope and lead to a brutally tough uphill approach from the rough.

Unfortunately for me, my hooked tee shot was so bad that it splashed into a pond less than 200 yards from the tee. From the drop area, I faced a 190-yard uphill shot from the rough to a narrow green, a brutal spot where double or worse was very much in play. However, I was somehow able to run a long iron up the slope and onto the green, where it bounded towards the pin and settled about 15 feet away. After sinking the par putt, I smiled knowing this was one of those days where good fortune was on my side.

The sixteenth is a gorgeous par 4 cut out of the woods, gradually climbing up to a point adjacent to the 17th green and Mount Fuji. With an extremely elevated green and a gaping bunker to the left, it’s vitally important to find the fairway off the tee. I did just that, ensuring an easy wedge in and a routine par.

The signature 17th is a sight to behold, dropping straight down the slopes of Mount Fuji to a three-section green with miles of countryside in view. Once you’re done taking photos, though, it’s best to get down to business as this is a deceptively demanding shot. The giant bunker short and right is a terrible spot to miss with much of the green sloping right-to-left. With a short iron in hand, it’s easy to get complacent on a par 3 like this, but you’ll be surprised at how easily a double bogey can come.

The 18th rides the back side of Mount Fuji back down to the clubhouse, a manageable par 4 that offers a good chance at finishing strong. In fitting fashion, the green complex presents the greatest challenge after a generous tee shot, a two-tiered surface sloping heavily from back-to-front and surrounded by bunkers on three sides.

Closing Thoughts

Coming into the round with moderate expectations, I was blown away by Hawk’s View Como Crossings, completely captivated by its scenery, engaging architecture and strong routing. This is one of the most photogenic properties I have visited, and the morning drone shoot was an unforgettable experience that produced the best images and video I’ve been able to compile all season.

Perfect morning light and the sheer beauty of glacially-sculpted Wisconsin countryside combined to make this a photo shoot for the ages

Hawk’s View is too well-known to call it a “hidden gem,” but I still don’t think it gets the acclaim that it deserves. One thing’s for sure – this track should easily crack my Top 50 Course Rankings when I update the list at the end of the season.

In addition to the top-notch golf courses on site, Hawk’s View features a large clubhouse and restaurant and I hear rumors of a stellar Friday Fish Fry. The practice facility is very solid, as well, with a full-length range that plays steeply uphill into the backside of Mount Fuji (note, this is a creative way to save space on a driving range).

While I didn’t get a chance to play the other layout on site, 18-hole short course Barn Hollow, I flew my drone over the property and it looked immaculate in the morning sun. This par-3 routing doesn’t get much attention in the golf mediasphere, but it should. With yardages ranging from 60 to 220 yards and plenty of water and sand in play, Barn Hollow is sure to provide a thorough test of the short game and iron play. I can’t wait to return to Hawk’s View, hopefully soon, and take on this little gem for the first time.

The video recently posted to WiscoGolfAddict’s YouTube channel shows Barn Hollow in all its glory (last video, I promise!):

Clocking in at a peak summer weekend greens fee of just over $100, Hawk’s View Como Crossings is a phenomenal deal compared to its upscale public peers in the Lake Geneva area. Add a round at Barn Hollow, priced at around $25 a loop, and you’ve got 36 holes of top-notch golf for under $150. There aren’t many better values than that in the whole state!

With so many high-quality courses to choose from in the area, planning a Lake Geneva golf trip may require some sacrifices. However, I think it would be a mistake to skip Hawk’s View Como Crossings, as it may end up being your favorite course in the region.

Hawk’s View Golf Club Website

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