FORE! In Green Bay - No, not that #4
Green Bay is known for football (duh!), cheese (check!), craft beer (for sure!) and golf (absolutely?). For a greater part of six-months, Greater Green Bay has some perfect golf weather to go along with its beautiful golf courses! During the summers of 2017, 2018 and 2019, the LPGA will even make a tour stop in Greater Green Bay. Pack your most ridiculous argyle shorts, sport your lucky golf hat, stock your bag with TaylorMades (Mark King, the former CEO, is a GB native) and get to Green Bay for a long weekend of golf across the city.
Here’s a review of three featured courses!
Highland Ridge Golf Club – De Pere, WI
“Golf is not a matter of life or death, it is much more important than that.”
-Highland Ridge Pro Shop
If there’s one theme you’ll notice at Highland Ridge Golf Club, it’s a crooked course. Take that in the most enjoyable, positive way. Golfing constantly straight fairways can get monotonous. Highland Ridge has built a challenging, beautiful and fun course. There’s more dog-legs on this course than in the Disney classic 101 Dalmations....well almost. I’ve golfed my fair-share of courses, but have never seen such a concentration of holes with not just one dog-leg, but multiple turns to get to the green. Better get those irons cleaned. There’s more to this course than your 300-yard driver! Be strategic…there’s nothing to prove with how far you can drive here.
Plenty of trees, both young and mature, speckle the course. The first hole is lined with massive willow trees along the fairway. There’s something magical about these magnificent trees. When you’re golfing here, the seclusion caused by fairways lined with trees makes this a relaxing play. Take a moment to appreciate the quietness before sinking your first putt.
Upon your approach to the first green, you’ll be impressed with the vast space you have to land your ball on the dance floor—good for chipping, rough for putting! Each green seems to be bigger than the last. Several throughout the course have added dramatic bumps, lumps and hills to keep things even more interesting.
As hilly as the greens are, the tee boxes are immaculately flat, making for an easy drive (yes, I understand the irony). But there’s nothing more frustrating than a lumpy tee box—I get enough of that once I’m off the tee box. Highland Ridge pays special attention to ensure quality grounds.
Whether walking or riding, you’ll appreciate the close proximity from green to next tee. No need for complicated arrowed signs pointing to the general direction of the next hole. The course flow is self-explanatory and doesn’t take a GPS to find where to go next.
The signs marking each hole are easy to read with color-coded yardage depending on your tee-off spot, a detailed map layout marking water, bunkers and a bird’s-eye-view of the hole. There are even helpful “caddy-tips” giving distance to water and distance to carry! Whether or not that actually helps is up to your internal caddy and club selection. No matter, there are hole-signs down the fairway as well (just in case you shank your shot, you know where you’re at)…but those signs also have motivational words just to keep you going on a positive path!
Throughout the course are plenty of vending machines to stay hydrated, along with shelters, which come in handy if it starts raining—wait, it doesn’t rain in Green Bay…! At the turn on weekends, be sure to stop by the concession stand for a beer break. The beverage cart cruises around delivering drinks afternoon on weekdays and all day on weekends, too!
As great as the first 18 holes of a golf course are, there’s something special and welcoming as you step into the 19th Hole! I don’t know about you, but there’s not much better than a post-golf bloody mary (or pre, depending…). When the bartender asks if you want a dab of horse-radish, the answer should be an enthusiastic “absolutely” for an added spice! Hungry? Don’t wait. There’s also an extensive menu available—cheese curds (this is Wisconsin!), burgers, wraps, chicken sandwiches and plenty more.
Shorewood Golf Course – University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Campus
A 9-hole course throughout the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus, Shorewood Golf Course can be played in half the time of an 18-hole course but provides the full golf experience. There is no skimping on quality or distance. This course is great for any skill level, providing five tee boxes to shoot from for a total distance between 1705 yards all the way up to 2843 yards.
The rolling terrain at Shorewood Golf Course provides added challenges. Many of the greens are at a slightly higher elevation than the tee boxes. Strategizing club choice for the many uphill shots requires some different skills than you may be used to.
Many of the greens sit up on a pedestal looking down at you shooting from the fairway (or hopefully not, but maybe, somewhere else) daring you to approach. As you prepare to chip onto the green, take note of the many bunkers surrounding your target. You’re here to golf, not go to the beach. Once you’ve conquered the elevated hole placement and avoided the sand, the greens open a new set of challenges. The ball moves off your putter rather quickly leaving little room for error.
There’s no need to remember any of these tips. Each tee box has detailed signs providing helpful overview maps of the entire hole with noteworthy distances.
While Shorewood Golf Course brings you through the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, you never get the feeling like you’re on a college campus. The seclusion of the course due to the heavy population of mature trees throughout (this course has been around since 1931), gives you the feeling of spending the day with ‘nature’ as your golf partner. As I was in my cart heading toward my ball, there were several times a deer ran across the fairway within a 9-iron of me. At one point she even brought with her a frolicking baby fawn on her golf course adventures.
End your round on the 9th hole with a slight dog leg and rolling hills so big you’re shooting blind to the green. After you sink your final putt, don’t forget to ring the bell to cue the group behind you it’s safe to approach the green… or as a celebratory sounding of a round well done!
During the winter months or inclement weather, you can still get your golf fix using Shorewood’s professional TruGolf Indoor Simulator. Choose to play over 50 different golf courses, or use the precision swing analytics in a range setting. You can rent the simulator by the hour (or half-hour) with a maximum of 4-golfers at a total price of $24 per hour.
Thornberry Creek at Oneida Golf Course
As the official golf course of the Green Bay Packers, the championship quality of Thornberry Creek at Oneida Golf Course should be evident before you even lace up your golf shoes. Aside from the quality of the amenities, golfers are also treated like champions! Be sure to arrive well ahead of your tee-time. You’ll be greeted by bag attendants to load your clubs into your cart for you. Included in your green fee is the opportunity to loosen up at the range and practice on the chipping and putting greens.
Choose from either the 18-hole Legends Champions Course or the Original Iroquois 9-hole Course.
The Legends Champions Course prominently displays one of sports’ most iconic logos, the Packers G, painted into the side of the first fairway. Welcome to a round of golf in Packers Country!
You’ll begin and end the Legends Champions Course with a few holes through a northwoods feel environment. Throughout the middle holes of the round, you’ll weave in and out of open meadows and past beautiful homes in one of Greater Green Bay’s most prestigious neighborhoods.
This course provides a variety of scenery and challenges. You’ll have to avoid over 70 sand bunkers and 11 water hazards throughout the 6,934-yard course (blue tees). A unique-twist to this course is that every hole is named after a historically important part of the Oneida Indian Tribe culture.
The Original Iroquois 9-hole Course was recently voted “9-Hole Course of the Year.” After playing, you’ll easily see why! This course has the original charm you’d expect from an older course. Driving along the cobblestone cart path brings you to the mindset of golfing an original course in Scotland (the home of golf). But as you move through the wooded course, you’ll beautifully be pleasantly reminded you’re golfing in Green Bay.
Although a 9-hole course, golf it twice for the full-18 experience. Each hole offers two greens for a completely different front nine verse back nine. Front nine flags are white, back nine flags are red. (Or you could just play whatever green your ball lands closest to. We won’t tell!)
The large pro-shop features some great Green Bay golf memorabilia.
Thornberry Creek also has a great Sports Pub & Grill with an outdoor patio overlooking the course. Enjoy an excellent bloody mary, an extensive craft beer list and an impressive premium cigar selection! They also serve a variety of pub fare and fine dining options.
This will be a round of golf to remember. The LPGA Tour has a scheduled stop to host a tournament at Thornberry Creek at Oneida in July of ’17, ’18 and ’19.
We hope to see you golfing throughout Greater Green Bay soon.
And if you ever need a golf buddy, just let me know!