JUST PASSING THROUGH?
Don’t pass up our top 5 golf course gems
By JERRY SLASKE
KeyMilwaukee.com Golf Editor
FOR GOLFERS VISITING the Milwaukee metro area for the first time, here are my top five daily-fee golf courses based on the following criteria:
- Accessibility: Easy to find/easy to travel to from downtown Milwaukee.
- Value: Not necessarily the least expensive, but the best experience in terms of interesting layouts without taxing the budget.
- Course conditions .
- Pace of play
- Courses are rated on 1-10 scale (10 being best)
Brown Deer, built 1929 (414-352-8080)
Wonderful park setting with narrow fairways lined by thousands of mature trees. Fast, true greens and penalizing rough. No railroad ties or implants here. Everything is natural.
- Accessibility 9: About 10 miles north of downtown Milwaukee, off I-43.
- Value 6.5: If you’re not a resident, it’s going to cost about $80 to walk during the week.
- Conditions 9: Impeccable, PGA Tour-like conditions. In fact, this was the site of the US Bank Championship. Don’t expect much in theway of a clubhouse.
- Pace 6.5: It’s a municipal course.
Fire Ridge, built 1994 (262-375-2252 www.fireridgegc.com) There’s not an uninteresting or bad hole on this course that requires your complete focus, although I might get some argument about #18 being tricked up.
I consider the finishing hole to be a fitting end to a challenging round. The back nine’s par 3s and 5s rival any in the area.
- Accessibility 8: About 20 miles north of downtown Milwaukee, off I-43
- Value 7: A bit pricey in-season during the week ($65, including cart), but great early- and late-season rates.
- Course conditions 8.5: Always well-groomed. Greens not overly fast and run true. Fairways generous and immaculate.
- Pace 7: No complaints.
Morningstar, built 2001 (262-662-1600, www.golfthestar.com) Carved out of a former quarry, the course has dramatic elevation changes with some of the best vistas anywhere (particularly from the 17th and 18th tees). This course is just plain fun to play. It has the feel of a country club or high-end resort course.
- Accessibility 8: About 30 miles southwest of downtown Milwaukee, off I-43
- Value 8: Play before 9 a.m. on the weekday when the greens fee is $44 including a cart and the value goes up to 9. Otherwise, the greens fee is $59, with cart.
- Course conditions 8.5: Absolutely no complaints. Greens may appear rough, but they run true and generally fast.
- Pace 7: I’ve never found it a problem.
Nagawaukee, built 1966 (262-367-2153) – Tree-lined, traditional-style course with huge undulating greens (stay below the hole if you can). Another natural beauty, the Nag is a fine test of golf without being a killer. The 14th tee overlooking Pewaukee Lake might have the best view on a golf course anywhere in the state.
- Accessibility 8: About 30 miles west of downtown Milwaukee, off I-94.
- Value 9: Even if you’re not a resident, this course will not bust the budget. As a result, getting a tee time might be difficult, unless you’re a single.
- Course conditions 7.5: For a municipal course that gets as much play as it does, conditions are very good. Especially annoying, however, is that there seems to be reluctance by players to rake the traps – more so than at other courses.
- Pace 5.5: The course’s one real weakness. Count on at least 4.5 hours.
Washington County, built 1996 (262-670-6616, www.golfwcgc.com) Arthur Hills-design links-style course that sits high above the surrounding countryside. It’s always windy, no matter how calm it may be just a few miles away. Every hole is excellent, but my favorites are #2 (par 4), #7 (par 5), and #14 (par 3). Inspiring views of Holy Hill’s steeples.
- Accessibility 5: About 45 miles northwest of down town Milwaukee, off Hwy. 41.
- Value 7.5: $48 walking during the week for non-resident; $61 with cart.
- Course conditions 9: Can’t beat 'em. Always seems to be in tournament shape. Greens are fast with lots of subtle breaks. Fairways are generous. Long, thick fescue and the wind are the real hazards.
- Pace 6.5: Count on 4.5 hours.
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