Wilderness Territory Resort and Wild Rock Golf Club: The best of the Wisconsin Dells

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. - The Wisconsin Dells area has been known to the residents of the upper Midwest as a great summer vacation destination for about 150 years. Since 1979, when the first water park opened here, The Dells has been known for both outdoor and indoor aquatic fun.

Oddly, The Dells does not have much of a golfing tradition, despite the bucolic natural surroundings replete with limestone bluffs, plentiful water and rolling hills.

But Wilderness Territory Resort, the newest water park resort hotel in The Dells, is out to change that. With the 2008 unveiling of Wild Rock Golf Club, Wilderness offers vacationers all the best that The Dells has to offer. Whether it's water slides or water hazards you're after, Wilderness Territory has something for absolutely everyone.

Amenities at Wilderness Territory Resort

The 600-acre Wilderness Territory complex actually comprises several interconnected but distinct properties: Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort (444 rooms), Glacier Canyon Lodge (448 condominium units), Wilderness on the Lake (108 condo units overlooking Lake Delton), Vacation Villas (40 units), cabins (35) and New Frontier Condos (76).

Almost as numerous as the accommodation options are the water parks, of which there are seven - three indoor, three outdoor and one indoor/outdoor - for a grand total of over 35,000 sq. ft. of watery wonderment. The parks feature lazy rivers, waterslides and kiddie coves where the hours literally fly by.

The sprawling resort is knitted together by an efficient, extensive shuttle system that ferries guests to and from any of the buildings, restaurants, water parks and other attractions.

The "other attractions" are so numerous that it is no overstatement to say visitors would never have to leave the resort: laser tag, Northern Lights Arcade (with a three-story climber), sauna and fitness center, Sundara Spa, rock wall, over a half-dozen dining options (from steak house to snack shack), gift shops, coffee shops, bars, WildKids' Club, miniature golf, magic shows and miles of hiking trails.

For a long weekend or quick family getaway, the Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort is excellent; however, for extended stays or a great golf trip, the condos at Glacier Canyon Lodge are ideal. Each unit includes a fully equipped kitchen, luxurious baths and multiple bedrooms. The two-bedroom unit I stayed in had a large master suite, a kids' room with a bunk bed and a Murphy bed that folded down from the wall in the living room. Counting the sofa, I think two foursomes could have fit into the room and still maintained a modicum of comfort.

Golf at Wild Rock Golf Club

Wild Rock Golf Club is a 7,414-yard Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry design. It was laid out to take advantage of the area's rolling hills, plentiful water and limestone bluffs and outcroppings. The layout was recognized by several national golf publications as one of the top five new courses in 2008 and skillfully blends challenging holes and resort-style features.

Fairways are generous, but a multitude of fairway bunkers and ever-present woods, grasslands and water hazards also require accuracy to score well. The greens are large and undulating, but eminently readable. With at least five tee boxes on every hole, golfers of all skill levels can be assured of an enjoyable yet memorable round.

The Woods Family Course at Wild Rock Golf Club offers nine player-friendly holes perfect for golfers of all ages.

The verdict on Wilderness Territory Resort

Wilderness Territory Resort boasts everything that makes The Dells the premier vacation destination of the upper Midwest. It's quite simply the largest water park resort in the world, and the addition of the excellent Wild Rock Golf Club makes it appealing to even the most land-loving duffer.

As I have said, you could spend a two-week vacation at the Wilderness and never have to leaveā€¦but don't do it. Wilderness is located just a couple minutes away from literally every one of the multitudinous attractions that The Dells has become famous for. In fact, The Dells, once a sleepy town catering to hikers and anglers, is now reminiscent of family fun spots like Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Niagara Falls, N.Y. You won't want to miss the world-famous Duck Boat tours and Tommy Bartlett waterskiing show on Lake Delton, or the impressive new Mt. Olympus Theme Park, with its dozen waterslides, four roller coasters and other rides.

So whether you come to The Dells for water parks, golf or everything else, Wilderness Territory is an ideal resort choice. For more information, visit www.wildernessresort.com.

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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Wilderness Territory Resort and Wild Rock Golf Club: The best of the Wisconsin Dells
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