Midwest

9 Wisconsin Golf Resorts from the Northwoods to the Dells

From championship courses to links saved by locals, these Wisconsin golf resorts highlight some of the best the state has to offer

There’s nothing quite like an early round of golf in Wisconsin. The birds are just waking up, the mist is rolling over the green from the lake nearby, and everything is covered in a thin sheen of dew that makes the course sparkle in the new sunlight. Off to the side, a fox runs along the tree line, and in the distance, you can just make out the sound of a tractor rolling through one of the big farm fields of America’s Dairyland.

The golf resorts here not only take advantage of the natural splendor but incorporate it into the courses—leaving players with an experience that’s truly Wisconsin.

These eight golf resorts are some of the best Wisconsin has to offer, whether it’s designed by a Hall of Fame course architect or just renovated by a dedicated golfer.

Four Championship Courses and a Five-Star Resort

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Golf fanatics likely know the name Pete Dye, a golf course architect in the World Golf Hall of Fame—and at Kohler’s The American Club, you’ll have the chance to play four of his iconic courses: The Straits and The Irish (which comprise Whistling Straits, also home to an adorable flock of Scottish blackface sheep), and The River and The Meadow Valleys (which comprise Blackwolf Run). All have hosted golf championships, and The Straits will host the Ryder Cup in 2020.

In addition to world-class golf, you can experience world-class accommodations. The American Club is the only five-star and five-diamond resort in the Midwest. Golfing guests are able to book tee times on all the courses in advance and can book a special package in advance, ranging from three nights and four rounds of golf, to one night, one round of golf, and one hour each of trap and clay shooting.

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Hotel The American Club

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (201 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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1,300 Acres of Golf

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The golf courses at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa are aptly named—The Brute is challenging with large sand traps, and The Highlands is modeled after Scottish Link courses. You can play both for free if you stay just one night at the Grand Geneva, which includes two rounds of golf per room, plus the use of all the golf course amenities, including locker room access, a golf cart, a GPS yardage system, and a custom divot tool and ball marker.

Pay special attention to the fourth hole on The Highlands and the #16 hole on The Brute; a hole-in-one on either hole puts you in a drawing to win $2,500. For an extra $5, the ante is upped to a $10,000 prize, plus you get a free HD video of your attempt at the shot.

 

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Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (2020 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.7 / 10
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A Course Designed by the Pros

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The Abbey Resort has amenities for two different lakeside golf courses. The closest, Abbey Springs, is a five-minute drive away and has a 4.5-star Golf Digest rating. Fifteen minutes from the resort, you can play Geneva National, where the 54 holes were designed by golf superstars Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player. The standard golf package for both courses includes discounts on room rates, one round per person per stay with a golf cart, and included breakfast per person per day at 240° West, one of the resort’s restaurants.

The Abbey has regular rooms, suites, and vacation villas meant for families. There’s a full slate of activities every day, and guests can also catch a movie at the on-site cinema, have s’mores around a bonfire on weekends, and rent board games.

 

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The Abbey Resort

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (1827 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.7 / 10
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Play a Piece of History

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Cold Water Canyon, the 18-hole course at Chula Vista, is historic; the front nine are some of Wisconsin’s oldest, built in 1923. The back nine is newer and in a links-style. If you’re staying at Chula Vista (which is also a waterpark), opt for the Stay and Play package. Your room reservation will get you unlimited golf with a GPS-enabled cart, free lunch, free passes to the waterpark, and 10 percent off at the golf shop.

The resort itself, in addition to golf, has indoor and outdoor waterparks—thanks to its location in Wisconsin Dells, the waterpark capital of the world—a spa, several restaurants, and its own riverwalk along the Wisconsin River.

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Chula Vista Resort

7.5 Good (1452 reviews)
Good Food 7.9 / 10
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Golf on Two Miles of Shoreline

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Visitors to Lake Lawn Resort have a former circus family to thank for the PGA golf course. Anna and Mary Phillips, daughters of the owners of Mabie’s Circus (which was around in the mid-1800s), transformed the resort from a winter circus home to a guesthouse in 1878, adding the golf course in 1921. Two years later, the Commonwealth Edison bought the property and transformed it into the summer resort into the first version of what it is today, including additions to the already popular 18-hole course. It sits on 250 acres and two miles of Delavan Lake shoreline. Remember,the golf course has a dress code: no denim allowed.

Resort guests can take advantage of two special packages. The Stay and Play package includes one night and one round of golf, plus a coupon to the spa. The Majestic Oaks Experience package is two nights, three rounds, a $50 resort credit for each adult, and a spa coupon.

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Lake Lawn Resort

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (2192 reviews)
Excellent Breakfast 9.1 / 10
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27 Holes in the Forest Preserve

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Deer Valley Lodge is one of the newer options for golf in Wisconsin. The 18-hole course opened in 1999, with an additional nine holes added in 2009. The course is tucked between Blue Mound State Park and the natural prairie wilderness that stretches across the state. Keep an eye out for the ample wildlife in the surrounding area, including the rare Regal Fritillary butterfly, deer, wild turkeys, and hawks.

In addition to every guest receiving special pricing on the course, Deer Valley Lodge offers two Stay, Splash, and Golf packages—one for the weekend and one for weekdays. Both include free continental breakfast and passes to the on-site waterpark. The weekend package has discounted golf rates any time during your stay, but the weekday package only has discounts on the day you check-in and the day you check out.

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Deer Valley Lodge & Golf

8.3 Very good (291 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.8 / 10
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Dinner and a Round

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The course at Bridgewood Resort may only be nine holes, but the location (right outside the hotel) and walkability (no need for a golf cart) make up for the shorter game. The setting is like a park, so even if you’re just along to watch, the view will help you relax and enjoy the day. The exterior is tree-lined, so it can make you feel like you’re playing a small course cut into the woods.

Choose from three main golf packages, each named after championship courses around the world. All offer unlimited golf, a sleeve of branded golf balls, and dinner at The Ground Round, the restaurant in the resort. Go the next step up and you’ll also get lunch included. The resort’s branded deal, the Bridgewood Package, covers two greens fees and a golf cart.

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Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (416 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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High Society's Former Playground

If “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” existed in 1905, you can be The Four Seasons Island Resort would have been heavily featured. It opened that year as a place for wealthy Chicagoans to spend their summers, complete with golf (designed and added in 1924), horse stables, tennis, swimming, and a five-piece orchestra and gambling on the weekends. The resort eventually closed after an embezzlement scandal. The property and its golf course had been under renovation for the last several years and reopened for the 2019 golf season.

Purchase the Tee It Up package to play the newly renovated course and get a bit of history as well. Each person gets a two-night stay, unlimited golf with a cart, free breakfast, and a one-hour history tour of the property.

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The Four Seasons Island Resort

8.5 Excellent (118 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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Tee Off in Scenic Door County

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Door County is one of Wisconsin’s treasures, always teeming with tourists seeking island life, fudge, and cherry bounce, an alcoholic cherry juice. Cherry Hills Lodge seems to be out in the wilderness, though, amid rolling prairies surrounded by woods and local farms. In 2008, the 18-hole course and lodge were foreclosed, left to let nature take it over from the few players that still frequented the property. It gained new life in 2015, thanks to an ex-marine golfer who bought and singlehandedly restored everything—even mowing the fairways himself.

The course now is manageable for beginners while also providing a bit of a challenge for seasoned golfers. A variety of elevations, narrow fairways, and hard-to-read greens will put your short-game skills on blast. Every guest at the lodge gets discounted golf and discount vouchers for the nearby spa.

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Cherry Hills Lodge

8.2 Very good (380 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.7 / 10
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Feature photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash