Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
About Lake GenevaLake Geneva is less than 90 minutes from Chicago and even closer to Milwaukee, but it's a world away. The 9-mile-long lake is surrounded by a historic town, some of the best golf courses in Wisconsin, a four-star resort that began as a Playboy Club resort, and a string of enormous summer mansions built ín the 1800s by Americas most famous industrialists.
Lake Geneva's roots as a playground for the rich began after the Civil War with such illustrious visitors as Mary Todd Lincoln and Generals Sherman and Sheridan. The area's influx of the wealthy accelerated after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when the Windy City's barons stayed at their summer homes in Lake Geneva while Chicago was rebuilt. Some never left and the area became known as the Newport, R.I., of the West.
Today, you can gawk at those mansions to your heart's content, thanks to the Geneva Lake Shore Path, a 20-plus-mile public access footpath that runs between the lake and the front lawns of those over-the-top mansions. Wherever you stay, you're never far from some of Wisconsin's best golf courses. The Grand Geneva Resort has two 18-hole courses, including the Brute Course known for its overabundance of bunkers and enormous greens, and the Highland Course, which has been perfected over the years by Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, Bob Cupp and Bob Lohmann. The Geneva National Golf Club at Geneva Ridge Resort offers a trifecta of designer courses, with one each from Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino. The Como Crossings course at Hawks View Golf Club is frequently mentioned as "must-play" Wisconsin course and Abbey Springs Golf Course tosses in gorgeous views of the lake. If you're looking for a little adventure after golf, try the water park at Timber Ridge Lodge or Lake Geneva Canopy Tours for a dose of zip lines, sky bridges and crows nests. The Dancing Horses Theater and Animal Gardens features farm animals, wildlife and exotic creatures. To make your golf trip complete, enjoy a meal at least a couple of these places: Popeyes on Lake Geneva for seafood and steaks (no, its not the chicken chain), Egg Harbor Cafe for breakfast, or Medusas Grill & Bistro for creative cuisine. Also plan to spend some time wandering through some of the 100 shops in Lake Geneva, especially if you like antiques, art or one-of-a-kind apparel. If you can, spend some time on the lake itself, either on a tour cruise, fishing, sailing or windsurfing. As they say, Lake Geneva "has always been the place," especially for a luxurious golf trip.
Courses with the highest golfer ratings (minimum 10 reviews to qualify)
Top Rated Golf Courses in Lake Geneva AreaMore Offers from Golf Advisor
Articles about this destination from our expert editorial staff
The Lake Geneva, Wisconsin area is known as Chicago's playground, although it's actually closer to Milwaukee. About an hour and a half north of the Windy City, Lake Geneva was founded by Chicago's wealthy families around 100 years ago. Narrowing down the best golf isn't easy, but here are five golf courses that won't do you wrong.
A picturesque setting unfolds at Geneva National Golf Club in Lake Geneva. With courses designed by Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer, Geneva National is the second-largest golf facility in the state. The Player Course is the most fun to play. The Trevino plays tough because of its narrower fairways and hard-to-read greens. While the Palmer takes advantage of its Lake Como setting.
Lake Geneva -- a small lakeside town in southern Wisconsin -- has always been "Chicago's playground." Chicagoans can hop in the car and within two hours be fishing or boating on one of the region's three major lakes or teeing it up on a scenic resort golf course kissing their shores. With top-notch golf -- Grand Geneva Resort & Spa and Geneva National, to name two -- resorts and restaurants, it's easy to see why Lake Geneva is a popular destination.
Full episodes of Golf Advisor Round Trip
Ewan Porter travels down under to visit some of the best golfing destinations in Australia. Porter visits Moonah Links to play a round with 2018 Australian Senior Amateur Champion Sue Wooster. Along the way, Porter spends time meeting koala bears at the Moonlit Sanctuary and diving alongside sharks in a Melbourne aquarium. A visit to King Island leads to a tour of Cape Wickham and an Australian cheese tasting. The round trip ends with an excursion to Tanzania that includes golfing at Barnbougle and mountain biking in Derby. (2019).
Matt Ginella travels to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to visit the “seaside golf capital of the world.” During a visit to Pine Lakes Country Club, Ginella spends time with Brandon Canesi, the founder of the Hole High Foundation. Along the way, he tees it up with junior golfer Jackson Cole and hits the water at Shark Wake Park with Greg Norman Jr. Between rounds, Ginella goes fishing at Paradise Reef and enjoys some delicious tacos from Bubba’s Love Shak. The round trip ends with a visit to Pawley’s Plantation Golf and Country Club to talk music and golf with Mark Bryan. (Original air date 2018)
Matt Ginella ventures across the pond to explore the culture of golf in Ireland. After discussing the updated Adare Manor Golf Club with Andy McMahon, Ginella heads to town to listen to some traditional Irish music at Aunty Lena’s. The tour of Ireland continues with a visit to Waterville Golf Links and Ardglass Golf Club. Amidst teeing it up along the coast, Ginella makes time to try Bushmills Whiskey and visit Lahinch Golf Club, home of the 2019 Irish Open. The round trip ends with a visit to Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland to play a round with John Bamber. (Originally aired 2018)
Join Matt Ginella as he travels to Big Cedar Lodge on Golf Advisor Round Trip. Overlooking Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains, Big Cedar Lodge is a golf resort founded by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, boasting four courses designed by legends including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tom Fazio. Watch Matt play with Morris’ nephew Hudson at Top of the Rock, get adventurous at Fun Mountain, go bass fishing with hall-of-famer Stacey King at Bent Hook Marina, and play Buffalo Ridge with Les Garland, the founder of MTV. Get a sneak peek at Ozarks National, designed by Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw, and even go bow fishing with Johnny’s son, John Paul. (Originally aired 2018)
Valid dates: Apr 30, 2019 - Nov 01, 2019
Are you anxious to get out on the course? Experience Geneva Golf Courses like The Brute, a stunning 7,300-yard American classic or The Highlands, a picturesque landscape of scenic hills, trickling creeks and lush foliage.
Valid dates: Apr 30, 2019 - Nov 01, 2019
Bring your game and Make it Grand when you stay on the Stay and Play Golf package. Experience The Brute, a stunning 7,300-yard American classic or The Highlands, a picturesque landscape of scenic hills, trickling creeks and lush foliage.