The North Course at Eagle Ridge provides golfers with a rollercoaster ride full of golf holes. The North features some of the most playable and forgiving holes of the 3 resort courses on property, but also the trickiest greens and uneven lies to balance.
The North Course was designed by Roger Packard, whose impressive portfolio includes tracks such as Brown Deer Golf Course in Milwaukee, Trappers Turn in the Wisconsin Dells, and Mission Hills CC in Illinois.
Playing the North Course reminded me of a lot of my rounds at Brown Deer Golf Course growing up. Holes with dramatic doglegs, the use of trees and tricky greens seem to be favored by this architect. In this article I will highlight a handful of my favorite holes as WiscoGolfAddict’s Paul Seifert and I made our way around the track.
For more on Eagle Ridge and the golf and resort experience there, check out Paul’s earlier post, “Eagle Ridge: Midwest Golf, Elevated,” linked here:
Though close in proximity, Eagle Ridge couldn’t feel less like Southeast Wisconsin. Its great bluffs adjacent to the Mississippi River provide the remote area with incredible topography, and the drive in, friendly staff, terrific golf and wonderfully quaint location lend it oodles of charm.
Holes 1 & 2
When walking up to the first tee at the North Course you are immediately greeted with a long par 4 with what seems like plenty of room to spray off the first tee. This is probably your one and only opportunity for the remainder of the round to have a truly errant tee shot. The rest of the course features narrow fairways and approaches that require the proper angles.
The second hole presents a challenging double dogleg 500-yard par 5. A tight tee shot, tight second shot and tight third make this a 3-shot hole to get to the green. If you couldn’t tell already, this hole is TIGHT!
As someone who is fairly accurate off the tee I like holes like this as I feel these are where I can make up some strokes, but for those who may not know which direction your drive may sail, opt for a hybrid or iron off this tee.
Holes 7 & 8
Holes 7 and 8 are my favorites on the entire course. Both holes provide dramatic views of Lake Galena and command precision shots to score well.
Hole 7 is a short Par 4 with a sloping descent toward Lake Galena. A well-placed tee shot will leave you with a short iron into a sloping green that will have even the best putter praying to avoid a dreaded 3-putt.
Hole 8 is a par 3 that will make even the most seasoned golfer nervous. An elevated tee box lets you see all the hazards that make this golf hole both beautiful and deadly. Avoiding the water on this hole is only part of the challenge as the green is surrounded by bunkers. Needless to say, Paul and I were shaking a little bit as we hit this tee shot. I am happy to report, though, that we did not donate any balls to the lake and both found the dance floor!
Making the turn at the North Course, the back 9 presents a whole set of unique challenges: Dramatic bunkers, elevation changes and blind shots will really test you down the stretch.
Holes 10 & 11
Hole 10 is a short par 4 on the card but presents a challenge with its hidden dangers.
The blind tee shot on hole 10 is one of the biggest risk/reward holes on the course. Paul and I both took easy irons off the tee but played extra balls and tried to rip drives at the green.
The hillside on 10 obscures a field of pot bunkers that will swallow your ball and turn this into a double bogey scene quite quickly. We both agreed a safe shot off the tee is the right play but it was sure fun to try.
Dramatic elevation changes continue on the 11th with a raised tee box starting off this par 5. This hole is a beast, clocking in at 527 yards, so if you thought you were getting home in 2 then think again. This hole has a hidden water feature nestled in the woods on the right side off the tee so slicers beware.
If you managed to stay dry off the tee, the second shot on this par 5 is one of the most forgiving. A wide open fairway with no hazards to be seen lets you pull out the longest layup club you feel comfortable with.
As you approach the green a distinguishing feature on this hole and the course itself has to be the big red barn. The pitted wood shows just how many golf shots seem to be attracted to this building. I am glad this was left as part of the course architecture as it adds some character, in my opinion.
Holes 13 & 15
The 150 yard Par 3 13th may seem easy on the scorecard but a test awaits. A mounded green flanked by 3 large bunkers and a water hazard short ensures that only accurate shots will rule the day here. Although this is a large green you need to be accurate as an almost certain 3-putt awaits for hitting the wrong area.
For those who play a draw like I do, hole 15 was made for you. A sharp dogleg left par 5 favors those who can hug the left side off the tee. Once you find your tee shot, a blind downhill second swing awaits. Multiple tiers step down the fairway and there are really no hazards to speak of until you get greenside. This is not a green that I’d recommend going for in two as it is protected by water about 30 yards short.
The second to last hole on the North Course is a par 4 that was my favorite of the day. This hole sets up as a dogleg right but has an amazing large tree that guards the fairway. A large bunker complex will catch you off the tee if you are anywhere right.
I will admit I did find the beach on this one as my draw didn’t want to make an appearance. The undulations and elevation changes leading to this green will most certainly mean you will not have a flat lie.
Overall, I was very impressed with the North Course. I wasn’t sure what to expect as many of the reviews I had read referenced it as a “Resort-style” course, but I felt that its combination of dramatic elevation, tight fairways and blind shots make it a fun and formidable challenge.
I was impressed with the speed and condition of the greens and would definitely play it again if I get the opportunity.
Have you been to Eagle Ridge in Galena? Where does the North course rank for you among the North, South, East and General?