Tee it up at these local golf destinations

Here's a list of nearby courses to get you in the mood for summer golf.
Bishops Bay course
Photo by Janet Frazier
Bishops Bay Country Club

Whether you self-identify as a casual golfer, a competitive one searching for a club membership or are simply looking to pick up a new outdoor activity, find the right golf course for you. To get you prepped for the upcoming months of summer golf — and maybe inspire you to practice your short game — below is a list of Madison-area public and private courses.

Bishops Bay Country Club

clubhouse at Bishops Bay

Photo by Janet Frazier

Bishops Bay Country Club is a private facility that requires an annual membership. The views of the course cannot go unnoticed with more than 220 acres of land highlighting the natural beauty of south-central Wisconsin. Bishops Bay has undergone some course renovations over the last several years, reducing and relocating bunkers and greenside runoff areas. The 18-hole, par-72 championship course is more than 7,100 yards in length, with plenty of elevation changes between tee boxes and greens, making it a fairly difficult course. 3500 Bishops Bay Drive, Middleton, 232-4201

Blackhawk Country Club
Blackhawk Country Club sets up a challenging 18-hole course lining the shores of Lake Mendota and offering picturesque views for its members and their guests. Long-hitters be warned, because even though the course is only 6,175 yards, even lies are hard to find and the greens are quick. A.W. Tillinghast, the architect behind New York’s Winged Foot Golf Club (which hosted the 120th U.S. Open Championship last fall), renovated the course at Blackhawk C.C., so expect some tricky shots. 3696 Blackhawk Drive, Madison, 231-2454

Bridges Golf Course
For beginners and experts alike, Bridges Golf Course offers an enjoyable round. Situated south of Madison’s airport with a back nine along Anderson Street, this 18-hole, par-72 course isn’t necessarily difficult because of it’s length. A glance at the scorecard places the track at just under 6,900 yards, but there are some challenging holes. Bridges G.C. is open to the public, and in addition to the course, it has a driving range, practice bunker and two greens for putting and chipping practice. 2702 Shopko Drive, 244-1822

Maple Bluff Country Club

Golfers at Maple Bluff CC walking in the fairway up towards the clubhouse.

Photo courtesy of Nicole Peaslee

Dating back to 1899, Maple Bluff Country Club is one of the oldest golf courses in the state. In fact, it was founded only three years after Wisconsin’s oldest championship course, Tuscumbia Golf Course in Green Lake. Past renovations and the visions of architects H. J. Tweedie, Dick Nugent and Arthur Hills yield the current course — an 18-hole, par-71 track with a length of 6,425 yards. The private, member-owned club also features a pool, tennis courts, fitness center and dining room. 500 Kensington Drive, 249-2144

Monona Golf Course
If you only have time for a quick nine, book a tee time at Monona Golf Course. Located on Madison’s east side, this par-36 course features nine regulation-length holes with well-maintained greens, bunkers and very reasonable rates. The facility also provides a driving range with natural grass tees and a fully equipped clubhouse. 111 E. Dean Ave., 266-4736

Nakoma Golf Club
Nakoma Golf Club is another scenic course — it borders the UW–Madison Arboretum. The 18-hole golf course is spread over 105-acres of land and hosts numerous club tournaments and leagues throughout the year. Among Nakoma’s members are PGA and LPGA Major Champions Andy North and Sherri Steinhauer, who both went through the club’s junior golf program. 4145 Country Club Road, 238-3141

Pleasant View Golf Course
Named after its panoramic view of the city of Madison, Pleasant View Golf Course sits about 300 feet above Lake Mendota and offers three 27 championship holes plus a short course. The Woods Course, the Prairie Course and the Lakes Course — each nine holes — have a mix of challenging lies and shots. As a popular public course, tee times need to be booked two weeks in advance. 1322 Pleasant View Road, Middleton, 831-6666

University Ridge Golf CoursePHOTOS: American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge

Rated No. 2 in the 2021 Golfers’ Choice list of “Top 25 College Golf Courses,” University Ridge is a local favorite. The 18 holes that make up this 7,286-yard, par-72 course have names like “Drumlin” and “Floodplain,” acknowledging geological traces of a glacier that shaped the landscape. Golfers get a taste of a grassy, open front nine, then clustered trees after the turn before an uphill 18th hole, “Capitol Climb.” Home to the Wisconsin Badgers, the annual American Family Insurance Championship and several NCAA competitive events, University Ridge is a must-play public course. There’s also discount for University of Wisconsin–Madison students. 9002 County Road PD, 845-7700

Yahara Hills Golf Course
Spread out over 400 acres of hilly land, Yahara Hills Golf Course is Madison’s largest course. It boasts two 18-hole championship courses, East and West, and has a history of hosting national and state tournaments. Neither course is particularly long, but golfers on both courses will encounter strategically-placed hazards like water and sand bunkers. If you’re looking to get in some putting practice, Yahara Hills has a 40,000-square-foot putting green. 6701 Highway 12 and 18 East, 229-8250

Worth the trip

Augusta National, where the 2021 Masters takes place, is in a league of its own when it comes to model golf courses, but there’s no denying that our state is home to some impressive tracks. These nationally-recognized Wisconsin destinations are well worth the weekend drive.

Blackwolf Run in Kohler
The second half of The American Club’s golf complex and a Pete Dye design, Blackwolf Run’s River course took spot 97 in Golf Digest’s Top 100. It also ranked No. 4 for best courses in Wisconsin, and Blackwolf Run’s other 18-hole Meadow Valleys course filled spot No. 10.

Erin Hills in Erin
Rated No. 2 in Wisconsin and No. 42 in Golf Digest’s list of 100 of the nation’s best courses, Erin Hills is 7,800 yards and is about 66 miles east of Madison. This course has cracked the top 100 since 2015, and was the host of the 2017 U.S. Open.

Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa
In addition to its No. 5 ranking in Wisconsin’s best courses, Sand Valley was also Golf Digest’s Best New Course of 2017. It is one of three courses that make up the Sand Valley Golf Resort, the other two being Mammoth Dunes and The Sandbox short course.

Whistling Straits in Sheboygan
Host of the 2015 PGA Championship and the upcoming 2021 Ryder Cup, this Irish links-style track by architect Pete Dye is Golf Digest’s No. 21 best course in the nation. It’s also the longstanding No.1-rated course in Wisconsin. Tune into the Ryder Cup in September to watch Madison’s own Steve Stricker — this year’s U.S. captain — as he leads some of the best players in the world against the European Tour.

Hannah Twietmeyer is a contributor to Madison Magazine. Magazine footer that says "Like this article, get so much more by subscribing"