As far as I have seen, nobody in the state of Wisconsin has published a top ten list of private golf clubs. I don’t mind being the first.
I should state first and foremost that I have not played them all. In fact, to this point I have only played 21. I hope 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 that’s alright. It won’t go chalk with what GolfWeek or Golf Digest say. 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.
My rankings revolve around the golf experience, which includes the course and its layout, conditions and the overall aesthetics, feel and playability.
Still on my list of well-renowned Wisconsin private clubs to review 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)
- Oconomowoc Golf Club (Oconomowoc)
- Oneida Golf and Country Club (Green Bay)
- Stevens Point Country Club (Stevens Point)
Think your private club should be considered? Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see if we can get a round of golf on the books!
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 perhaps the most dramatic and unique golf landscape in all of Wisconsin. The ups and downs are never-ending, leading to shots that are constantly unique.
With a fantastic variety of hole layouts and scenery that never stops impressing, a round at GBCC is one that’s coveted, to say the least.
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.
Recent restorations have thinned their encroaching tree lines, putting the emphasis on what makes Blue Mound truly elite: Strategic shot value and unbelievable green complexes.
5. Kenosha Country Club (Kenosha)
Designer: Donald Ross (1921)
Yardage: Blue-6530, White-6277, Gold-5680, Red-5107
Slope/Rating: Blue-130/71.9, White-127/70.8, Gold-122/67.9, Red-121/69.4
One of the state’s two Donald Ross designs, Kenosha CC’s recent renovation/restoration project has shone a wonderful light on this Southeast Wisconsin gem with tiny, captivating greens and character in spades.
6. West Bend Country Club (West Bend)
Designer: William Langford
Yardage: Black-6785, Blue-6516, White-5639, Red-5372
Slope/Rating: Black-135/72.5, Blue-132/71.5, White-124/67, Red-125/71.2Par: 72
West Bend has done a great job of matching up the style and feel of its Langford/Moreau front nine with its “new” back nine, but – to the chagrin of Midwesterners like myself – time has shown that no one could design a golf course like that pair. From the first hole’s elevated green complex to the wild par four seventh and tricky [and incredibly ingenious] short par three eighth (shown below), West Bend CC’s front nine is a Master’s class in golf course design… And it’s back nine is a ton of fun.
7. 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 tracks I’ve ever played, and is consistently interesting. I could play NHCC 100,000 times and never get tired of it or even find a hole I don’t like.
8. 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.
9. North Shore Country Club (Menasha)
Designer: Leonard Macomber
Yardage: Black-6530, Combo-6201, White-5794
Slope/Rating: Black-132/71.2, Combo-129/69.7, White-125/67.9
Site of the 2016 Wisconsin State Amateur, North Shore is a terrific overall golf course with nice, wide fairways, large greens and great use of elevation. Their par threes are especially memorable.
10. Nakoma Country Club (Madison)
Course Designer: Tom Bendelow (1925)
Yardage: Gold-6469, White-6033, Green-5376
Slope/Rating: Gold-128/71.5, White-125/70.0, Green-124/72.0
11. Ozaukee Country Club (Thiensville)
Designer: William Langford & Theodore Moreau (1922)
Yardage: Blue-6765, White-6381, Gold-5806
Slope/Rating: Blue-130/72.9, White-125/71.0, Gold-121/68.5
One of the more “tame” Langford/Moreau designs, Ozaukee is a really solid golf course with superb conditions and a fun but not over-the-top layout.
12. Hawk’s Landing (Verona)
Designer: John Harbottle III
Yardage: Maroon-7227, Black-6678, Blue-6066
Slope/Rating: Maroon-134/74.8, Black-129/72.3, Blue-123/69.6
Featuring some of the truest, fastest greens in the state, Hawk’s Landing is a beautiful golf course with incredibly challenging par fives and great par threes.
13. Horseshoe Bay Golf Club (Egg Harbor)
Designer: Rick Robbins (2000)
Yardage: Black-7101, Blue-6601, White-6117
Slope/Rating: Black-139/74.5, Blue-134/72.1, White-130/70.0
14. Racine Country Club (Racine)
Designer: Joseph Roseman (1909)
Yardage: Blue-6656, White-6477, Gold-5735
Slope/Rating: Blue-133/73.2, White-130/71.7, Gold-125/68.8
15. Tuckaway Country Club (Franklin)
Designer: Ken Killian/Dick Nugent (1967)
Yardage: V-7218, IV-6699, III-6398
Slope/Rating: V-137/74.7, IV-131/72.2, III-127/70.3