As far as I have seen, nobody in the state of Wisconsin has published a legitimate list of the state’s top 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 24 of Wisconsin’s 54 private clubs. I have been adding to that number regularly, 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 list to be controversial, and that’s alright. People are passionate about their private clubs, and that’s wonderful. If your course doesn’t break in to the top 15, remember that there are some unbelievably good private courses in Wisconsin – I haven’t played any dogs yet. I expect this 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.
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 play include, but are not limited to:
- Minocqua Country Club (Minocqua)
- Oneida Golf and Country Club (Green Bay)
- Lake Geneva Country Club (Lake Geneva)
- La Crosse Country Club (Onalaska)
- Maple Bluff Country Club (Madison)
- Wausau Country Club (Wausau)
- Legend at Merrill Hills (Waukesha)
Think your private club should be considered? Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com 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: October 12, 2021
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.
Pine Hills Country Club website
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 70-ranked overall golf course in the entire country (Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest for 2021-2022), 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.
Milwaukee Country Club website
3. 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.
Blue Mound Golf & Country Club website
4. Stevens Point Country Club (Stevens Point)
Designer: Unknown (1927), Larry Packard (1968), Craig Haltom (2018)
Yardage: Black-6901, Blue-6567, White-6167
Slope/Rating: Black-133/73.4, Blue-129/72.0, White-125/69.9
Recently redesigned by Craig Haltom, Stevens Point Country Club has one of the most rugged yet refined golf courses in Wisconsin, and features multiple signature holes including the all-world par three 17th, pictured here.
SPCC emanates the feel of great golf in the Northwoods while now exposing and taking full advantage of its incredible sand basin via oversized bunkering and waste areas, wild but fun green complexes and a terrific strategic design.
Stevens Point Country Club website
5. 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.
Green Bay Country Club website
6. 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.
7. 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.
West Bend Country Club website
8. 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
A Langford & Moreau gem that keeps getting better, Ozaukee has one of the best designed and well-conditioned golf courses in the Milwaukee area, and is heads above everything else in the Mequon area.
9. 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.
The Club at Strawberry Creek website
10. 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.
11. 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
Horseshoe Bay Golf Club website
12. 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.
North Hills Country Club website
13. Oconomowoc Golf Club (Oconomowoc) – not reviewed
Course Designer: Donald Ross (1916)
Yardage: White-6423, Gold-5946, Red-5607
Slope/Rating: White-129/71.4, Gold-126/70.3, Red-129/73.4 (women)
Par: 70/73 (women)
14. 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
15. Racine Country Club (Racine)
Designer: Tom Bendelow (1909 – original 9-hole course), Joseph Roseman & Todd Sloan (current 18-hole layout)
Yardage: Blue-6656, White-6477, Gold-5735
Slope/Rating: Blue-133/73.2, White-130/71.7, Gold-125/68.8
The Wildcard: The Lido (Rome, WI)
Slated to open in 2023, The Lido is a nearly architecturally exact replica of what was once one of the top golf courses in the world. In its final stages of development across the street from Sand Valley Golf Resort, this private club being laid out by Tom Doak, Brian Schneider and the Renaissance Golf team has the potential to shake up this list entirely.
3 thoughts on “Wisconsin’s 15 Best Private Golf Courses”
Great entertaining reviews and info on these courses Paul. Keep up the good work.
That’s interesting, Gene – I had no idea Bendelow was involved at Racine. Is any of his original work still on the current property, or was that on a different piece of land altogether? Thinking back, I feel like I can see Bendelow influence in the current course.
Tom Bendelow designed the 9-holes at the first facility on the west side…then Joseph Rossman designed the next 9-holes at the new (present) facility and was the superintendent until Todd Sloan designed the next 9-holes and served as the club professional, before moving on to design Johnson’s Park GC, and serving as its’ golf professional. He also designed the adjacent Meadowbrook CC.