IT’S A GOLFER’S DELIGHT
Colors, weather make October an ideal month
By JERRY SLASKE
KeyMilwaukee.com Golf Editor
OCTOBER IS AN IDEAL MONTH for golf in Wisconsin, particularly southern Wisconsin. The bugs are gone, the humidity has moved on, and the temperatures are as comfortable as listening to Dean Martin, the king of cool.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some absolutely nasty days, just to let us know that winter is around the corner. For the most part, however, this is the time to tee it high and let it fly.
Moreover, many courses have dropped their rates and golfers who slow up play have put away the sticks for more suitable pursuits, like raking leaves. And speaking of leaves, most courses are bursting with color as the foliage turns to gold, orange, red and brown. It adds up to a golfer’s delight.
Some courses are more exciting than others to play because of their scenery, better rates, and, let’s not forget, the challenge to your game. After all, the challenge is what golf is all about anyway. Here are a few favorites:
Washington County: Although this Arthur Hills course is links style with nary a tree, it sits high above Pike Lake State Park and the northern Kettle Moraine. It’s a stunning vista as you stand at the clubhouse and look out toward the Holy Hill church spires. I’ll never forget the one early Sunday morning in October when I arrived at Washington County to see the rising sun burning through a light fog and colorful hot air balloons rising into the mist all along the course’s perimeter. 1-888-383-4653
Nagawaukee: A wonderful tree-lined layout, but the back nine is particularly pretty at this time of the year. Overlooking Pewaukee Lake, it has enough ups and downs to rival any roller coaster. The tee on #14 is worth the price of admission. It looks down a winding tree-lined par 5 that appears to lead right into the lake. The color is spectacular. This course does an amazing job of keeping the fairways and even the rough clear of leaves. I don’t know how they do it. 262-367-2153
The Bull at Pinehurst Farms: There are enough trees, streams and ponds, and elevation changes at this spectacular Jack Nicklaus Signature course close to Lake Michigan to make you marvel at Mother Nature, particularly in the fall. It’s well worth the drive to Sheboygan County because of the fall deals. 1-800-5THEBULL.
Brown Deer: This course is always stunning (and the conditions impeccable), but in the fall it’s even more beautiful. Thousands of mature trees line every fairway. There is no reprieve. So it’s like an explosion of color in the fall. While the course does a fine job of keeping the fairways clear of leaves, the rough is another thing. Keep your eye on the ball if it strays. 414-352-8080
Morningstar: Like Washington County, this course sits high so the view is awesome, particularly from the clubhouse and #s 1, 4, 7, 13, 14, 17 and 18 tees. While there are lots of trees on this course and off in the distance, there also are lots of homes abutting the course which, in my mind, takes away from fall’s beauty. But it’s still one of the best layouts in the area – or anywhere. 262-662-1600
Erin Hills: This course is nothing but rolling hills dotted with trees, not like the forests at Nagawaukee or Brown Deer and not like the links of Washington County, which is only several miles away. It’s the perfect combination of meadow and forest. The only structures visible are the wonderful Irish manor-style clubhouse and the spires of Holy Hill. Erin Hills makes you feel you are one with nature. Plus, it’s a demanding track. 262-646-3331.
Other terrific courses to play in the fall include The Bog (1-800-4THEBOG) – An Arnold Palmer design that includes wetlands, woods, and wildlife habitat; Rock River Hills (920-485-4990) – Challenging, well-maintained layout that sits aside the beautiful, water fowl-inhabited Horicon Marsh; Kettle Hills original 18 (262-628-2121) – Interesting, tough layout among rolling hills covered in trees; Brighton Dale Links (262-878-1440) – 45 challenging holes that sit in the midst of the bucolic Bong State Recreational Area; great rates all year round; Ironwood (262-538-9900) 36 testy holes with tough greens and lots of trees, wetlands, and rolling hills make this a fall favorite as well.
(Golf’s downside at this time of the year is that courses aerate their greens so check to see when it’s been done. Generally speaking, it can take up to two weeks for greens to recover.)
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