Best Public Golf Courses in Madison, Wisconsin

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Best Public Golf Courses in Madison, Wisconsin

Paul LiberatorePaul Liberatore


Paul Liberatore

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One of our writers dated a girl that went to school in Madison years ago.  I’ll spare you the ending of that chapter, but suffice it to say that it wasn’t pretty. 

Over the course of their time together however, he was able to spend a decent amount of time in this fair city.  He remembers a few things distinctly: the winters are damn cold, University of Wisconsin fans are crazy, and there’s a generous amount of public golf to be played. 

His insight, along with that of our Wisconsinite readers culminated in our guide to the area’s best public golf courses below.

1

Lake Wisconsin Country Club

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As this track’s name would suggest, it sits on the shores of majestic Lake Wisconsin. 

The course dates back all the way to 1925 and has a storied past.  Today, it remains one of the state’s best. 

The layout is what you’d expect of an older upper Midwest design.  The fairways are narrow and tree lined.  The course isn’t all that long, but holes move both left and right, so you’ll need to manage your way around intelligently. 

You’ll find everything you could possibly need at Lake Wisconsin Country Club, so don’t miss out.

2

Coachman’s Golf Resort

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The town of Edgerton is home to Coachman’s Golf Resort.  And what a spot this is. 

No less than 27 holes await at Coachman’s.  Narrow fairways are lined by oak trees and weeping willows.  Like a lot of old school layouts, the strategy to score well is to keep the ball in play.

Meandering creeks and crystal blue lakes come into play on a number of holes and can spell trouble for errant shots. 

Beyond great golf, there’s so much more to experience at Coachman’s resort.  The lodging accommodations are second to none.  And the food?  Let’s just say Executive Chef, Jorge Velazquez really knows what he’s doing.  The prices won’t break the bank either.

An all-inclusive experience that goes above and beyond expectations, our writer, and Madison locals alike, fully endorse Coachman’s Golf Resort.

3

The Bridges Golf Course

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The Bridges is a place everyone should play if they’re in Madison.  Is it the fanciest course in the area?  Not even close.  Is it the toughest test you’re going to find?  Check the “No” box again.

You’ll find something at the Bridges that you won’t find anywhere else though.  It’s called camaraderie.  And it’s infectious amongst everyone that plays here. 

This is a muni in every sense of the word.  People are here for a single reason, to play golf and enjoy themselves.

Concerning the course, it’s well maintained considering how many rounds it sees.  The layout is straightforward and more than fair.  Just like anywhere else though, you have to get the ball in the hole to score. 

Our writer used to play this track every time he was in town for the reasons mentioned above.  He says you should too.

4

Monona Golf Course

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Monona is a city course.  It’s owned and operated by the community of Madison.  By now, everyone knows I’m a fan of these tracks that are such important cornerstones in their communities.

There might not be a finer example than Monona Golf Course. 

Even though this track is only nine holes, it’s a sturdy and strong nine holes.  Though not long in length, Monona isn’t long in the tooth either.  The holes are tight and require accuracy more than they do length.  Brains over beasts out here. 

Simple, affordable, and embodying everything that’s good about golf, Monona isn’t to be missed.

5

University Ridge Golf Course

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There was no way I was going to leave the University of Wisconsin’s home track off this list.  By and large, University courses are far too little talked about.  But they’re collectively some of the best tracks in the country. 

University Ridge is no different. 

This is a modern design and a big golf course.  There is room off the tee, but you pay dearly for big misses.  Hazards, long grass, and deep bunkers thrive here.

The real meat of the course lies in the par threes.  From the back tees, all play over 200 yards.  The 17th tips out at 250 yards.  No other choice than to man up and hit golf shots on these holes. 

This course probably sounds intimidating, and it is from the tips.  Thankfully, six sets of tees make it fun for everyone.

Make sure you’re wearing red when you come to University Ridge.  If you don’t, you might fall victim to a Badger.

6

Odana Hills Golf Course

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Another staple in the rota of courses operated by the city of Madison is Odana Hills. 

This track might well be the flagship venue in said rtoa.  It’s a favorite of both locals and visitors and plays host to a number of prestigious tournaments every year. 

The course is yet another traditional upper Midwest design that’s right in front of you.  No hidden hazards or surprises around the corner.  With that said, it requires your Sunday best to score.  The par fours and fives are long and narrow, though there are some chances for risk and reward.

The expansive clubhouse has everything you need too.  Lockers, a fully stocked pro shop, and full-service bar and grill.

A full experience at a fair price, make a tee time at Odana Hills when you’re in Madison.

7

Yahara Hills Golf Course

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Yahara Hills is yet another course owned and operated by the city of Madison.  Our writer has played all the city courses in Madison and says they rival the infamous collection of Portland, Oregon.  They’re truly that good.

Yahara Hills is definitely a part of the story.  And there’s 36 great holes to be experienced. 

Built in 1968, this is an old school design with all the characteristics you’d expect.  Tree lined fairways, small, crowned greens, and humps and bumps in the fairways are the norm.

Both tracks are unique in their own way.  If you have a chance, play both.

8

Pleasant View Golf Course

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Madison Magazine called Pleasant View the “Best of Madison for 2020”. 

Known for being one of the most scenic courses in the southern part of the state, you’ll probably want to bring your camera when you play here.  The course is situated 300 feet above majestic Lake Mendota.  The views have to be seen to be believed.

Yet again, you can choose from more than 18 holes here.  There are 27.  The Woods nine is considered the toughest of the three and might be preferred by more advanced players.  All three are quality tracks though.

A day spent playing the three nines at Pleasant View isn’t one you’ll forget any time soon.

9

Hawks Landing Golf Club

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Hawks Landing is a modern design located on Madison’s west side. 

The features are big here.  From water hazards, to bunkers, to undulations throughout, the story checks out. 

That doesn’t mean the course is only meant for the best players, however.  From the tips, sure this course has a lot of teeth.  But five sets of tees can be enjoyed by just about anyone. 

The amenities are part of the story here too.  A 395-yard double tiered driving range lets you practice just about any shot you can think of.  The clubhouse has everything you need to make your experience the best it can be. 

Even though this isn’t the cheapest round in Madison, it’s more than worth the price you pay.

10

Door Creek Golf Course

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Just minutes east of Madison lies the community of Cottage Grove.  That’s where you’ll find Door Creek Golf Course.

The Championship Course at this facility is flat out fun to play.  A wonderful mix of holes allows you ample opportunity for risk and reward.  It can be feast or famine here.

In addition to the Championship Course, this facility has a nine-hole par 30 short course called Lost Creek.  This is the perfect spot for beginners and families that are looking for a fun, casual round. 

Don’t overlook both courses at Door Creek.

Conclusion

The golf season in Madison is a lot shorter than it is in more southern climes in the country.  Just ask our writer who said he’d never been colder than he was in Madison during the winter.

But that doesn’t mean this town lacks anything when it comes to great golf.  It’s everywhere.  No matter your budget or what kind of golf you like to play, you can find it in Madison.

As always, the contributions from our readers are what made this course guide possible.  Thanks to all of you.  If you have more you’d like to add, please feel free to share with us in the comments.