About MadisonConsidered one of the country's prettiest capital cities, Madison, Wisconsin weaves around five lakes circled by miles of bike paths, parks and waterfront restaurants. Providing plenty of reasons for a golf trip are the city's four municipal courses and the renown collegiate course, University Ridge, the Robert Trent Jones II design that is home of the University of Wisconsin Badgers.
The terrain lends itself to rolling, tree-lined golf courses with plenty of elevation changes and tricky doglegs, such as Bridges Golf Course or Hawks Landing. The family-built and owned Tumbledown Trails Golf Course doesn't have any development around it and The Meadows of Sixmile Creek north of the city uses ponds and bunkers to challenge your game. Take advantage of a Wisconsin tradition and set your tee times so you finish in time for the ever-frequent fish fries.
While not on the golf course, you'll find Madison to be a textbook case of a sustainable city that encourages transportation by foot or bike with plenty of resting spots at its 15 parks and miles of visible lakefront. If you're there on a Saturday, go to the Dane County Farmers Market on Capitol Square. It's the nation's largest and known for its wide selection of artisan cheeses.
The best part of Madison is it has a little of everything, from young and hip along State Street (try State Street Brats), to pubs and breweries, such as Great Dane or Angelic, to upscale restaurants like Sardine's for French fare, Eno Vino Wine Bar and Bistro, or The Old Fashioned Tavern and Restaurant serving Wisconsin fare. The long-time Mariner's Inn, a waterfront restaurant, serves steaks and seafood and The Stone House at Quivey's Grove is known for its for lamb, duck and beef tenderloin. To sort it all out, there's a food explorers tour. If on campus, try the famous Babcock Ice Cream at Memorial Union or Babcock Hall.
Other Madison highlights include the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, or on campus, the Arboretum or Chazen Museum. The Wisconsin state capitol, the largest capitol building outside of Washington, D.C., is the only seat of government in the country with a granite dome. Madison is often named one of the best places in the country to live. You'll also see it's a great place to visit, too.
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Matt Ginella ventures to the Cradle of American Golf in the North Carolina Sandhills to experience the infamous U.S. Open venue Pinehurst No. 2. He also visits with the architect of The Cradle, Gil Hanse, and tours the home of Donald Ross among other off-course highlights. And no trip is complete without a spin around the new Cradle short course. Watch the full episode of Golf Advisor Round Trip: Pinehurst.