What recommendations do you guys have for the greater Minocqua area?
Leaving tomorrow with the kids, have a rental.
What recommendations do you guys have for the greater Minocqua area?
Leaving tomorrow with the kids, have a rental.
thank you Wisconsinites. We got the a few chamber of commerce days up there and was blown away by the place. golf was first class and the people were better!
Minocqua CC if at all possible. If not:
St Germain GC (public)
Oh, I’m not golfing.
Hunting for food and drink spots. Kid stuff to do, preferred hikes, places to see. Never been up there before.
I think Bearskin trail is the most popular trail. You can find the trailhead in the “downtown” area of Minocqua. Can be a bit long tho but you can obviously go as far as you want.
There are tons, tons of lakes so you can easily find kayak and canoe rentals, as well as bigger boat/pontoon/jet ski/seedoo rentals.
We camped out by Clear Lake, which is NE of Minocqua, and that was beautiful. For food, you probably can’t go wrong with one of the supper clubs and their fish fry.
Hi friends & fellow sickos,
Any recommendations for driving range, golf simulators or putting green/practice facilities near Baraboo/Dells?
Headed there this week (two funerals and a water park) and won’t have time to tee it up, but might need to get some swings in. Thanks in advance.
Eagle Springs Fall Meetup (not event, per se) pulse check. Weekend TBD (not weekend of Bent at the Crook in Zion, IL). Seeing if we can get 3-4 foursomes.
Thinking play the course twice, followed by fire pit, brats, beers, that sort of thing.
Persimmon and blade day?
Every day is a blade day Klebs, but as long as I can find my old persimmons I’m in for the rest.
Mine are laminated maple. Hope that counts.
Lake placid inn for breakfast.
PJs for burgers
Oakfire for pizza
Norwood Pines for a supper club.
Otherwise, just go to triggs, get what you need and enjoy the time with the fam. TJs has good steaks for the most part too.
Dude- Cale at Sand Valley was an absolute gem. Couldn’t have imagined a better caddie. He looped for me at SV and Mammoth, then played the sandbox with us. Really good kid.
Thanks for the recommendation.
My dad had a caddie named faith who was pretty good too. Cale matched my intensity and got into “the grind “ and we talked through all the lines and angles. Faith matched my dad’s energy and helped him with reads in greens and gave him the lines without all of the strategy (she could have but he just isn’t a golf sicko like us). I’d recommend them both to anyone reading this in the future.
So, how is it/did it go? The people (me, mostly) need to know
Got here Tuesday was raining and had a hell of a thunderstorm midnight to daybreak.
Dock fishing has been very good. Lake Placid Inn is 5 minutes away, so that’s nice. Love the vibe at Black Bear, probably going back there tonight. Norwood Pines has been booked up, went to Minocqua Prime last night and it was not good.
Did some hiking today. Went back into town for lunch. Min-Aqua Bats are a fun show for the kids, overall good trip.
Very, very ready to be done with my children.
Having a bunch of fun. Sand Valley (as a resort) nailed al the details- they’ve got little welcome kits with sunscreen, bug spray, post sun aloe, etc in your room waiting for you. You can’t walk more than two holes without hitting a cooler stocked with ice cold water. The default channel when you turn on your tv is golf channel. The shuttle service was efficient and never had to wait more than about three minutes for one. Usually they have one or two waiting at all the high traffic areas. The sand box is the ultimate buddies trip hang- wild greens and just pure fun on every shot.
I’m a 12 handicap, for reference in the coming paragraphs.
Sand valley is the better course. It’s more strategic than Mammoth and really rewards good shots. I played ok on the front- hit the ball well but had a tough time getting the speed straight on the greens. Out in 44 (+9). On the back nine, I played out of my mind. Birdied all three par 5s, and nearly holed out from the green side bunker for eagle. Had 6 inches for birdie, sealing up my best 9 ever. In in 38 (+1). Total was 82.
Played the sandbox and had two sub-two-footers for birdie. Still no aces for me.
At Mammoth Dunes the next morning, I showed up expecting to go low, riding high off the back 9 at SV, but as we all know- golf is humbling. I smacked it around and managed to go out in 42 (+6), which sounds normal for my handicap, but the scoring was because my wedges and putting were dialed. I never gave my scoring clubs a chance to score, but they held it all together like shapewear. Then I played the first 6 holes of the back 9 at -1, bringing us home at a total of +10 again. Even though the scores to par were the same, the rounds were very different from an “eye test” perspective. This illustrates how much easier MD is than SV.
If given 10 rounds to split, I’d probably play SV 6-7. Mammoth had some really cool shots with slopes to play on, but it never really penalized you for getting out of position because virtually every hole had some punch bowl features. It was fun, but felt less rewarding when the ball ran to the hole, whereas sand valley really made you feel like a boss when you could get it close. That said, I’d love another shot at Mammoth.
Played the sandbox again with our caddie (who was really really great (see above comment). Still no aces. It was cool to see how much they could move the pins and tees to make the holes play drastically different from one day to the next.
Some late night putting and chipping on sandbox after dark by cell phone lights was great.
Food: mammoth bar- can’t miss the cheese curds and wings. Burger was good but nothing to rave about. (Also, you can order Aldo’s food from here because they share a kitchen).
Aldo’s- ribeye was great with a little mushroom sauce and the unsung heroes- the horse radish smashed red potatoes. Also like the spinach and arugula salad.
Craigs porch- don’t sleep on the turn tacos or the whiskey snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches!
Sandbox food truck- honestly I only had an uncrustable and some spotted cows, which are impossible to mess up.
Merch- bought a hoodie and a hat. They had all sorts of gear in all sorts of colors. I still think the rise of $100+ golf shirts is bananas, but that’s not their fault- I guess the market is what it is.
TLDR: I loved it and was sad to leave even though we were going directly to Lawsonia and then Erin Hills. I’d go back tomorrow if I could.
Lawsonia and Erin Hills debrief:
Woke up Saturday morning and packed up the car to head to Green Lake. I found a mammoth logo ball in the parking lot. I think someone hooked it over our. Lodge from 17 tee on the Sandbox.
The drive was an hour and a half to Lawsonia Links, and we got there about 75 minutes before our tee time. We had prepaid our rounds during the promotion at the beginning of summer to get a free $25 voucher per round to the pro shop. We decided to shop later and warm up after checking in.
The driving range was a bit odd- there is a hill about 50 yards in front of the hitting area, so you can’t see the ball land. The practice green was FAST. Way faster than the greens at sand valley, and I was honestly a little intimidated.
The starter was very kind and chatted with us about our trip while we warmed up. We got paired up with a couple guys from Ohio and headed to the first tee.
We played the whites (about 6500 yards), but it felt like it played a little shorter than that. The course was in pretty reasonable shape. I do have two big complaints though: first, the greens in the course were slow- significantly slower than the practice green. I three-putted the first three holes. Second, many of the tee boxes were not flat/level.
The front nine was fun, but didn’t feel particularly special. There wasn’t a bad or dumb hole out there, but it felt like a parkland Course that you could find in most major cities.
Had a hot dog at the turn, but I was a little sticker shocked at the $7 price. The greens fees were perhaps undercosted so I guess it evens out.
The back nine was where the course came alive. As you crest the hill of the 10th tee, you see the entire back nine and all of is rolling glory. I was playing pretty well (+7 through 14) when my wife called and texted about my basement flooding back home. I lost all concentration and shot +7 on the closing four holes for an 86.
After Lawsonia Links, my dad wanted to stop at a Car dealership in the area that his father (my grandfather) owned 50 years ago. We got there about a half hour before closing time and a seaman approached us and my dad explained why we weren’t there to buy a car. When the old guy in the corner heard all of this he stood up and said “Well that must make you a (Last Name)!” He knew my grandfather and went to school with his second wife. No one was more surprised that there was a mutual connection there than I was. He showed us around and then we left and headed for Erin Hills.
The drive into Erin Hills once you’re off the main road is fairly long and the views are pretty great. At the gate, Rick knew who we were before we pulled up and directed us to the valet. The guys working the valet took our bags to our room and our golf bags to the range. They parked the car and check in was a breeze.
We warmed up on the nicest range I’ve ever seen and teed off on the kettle loop at 5:30 pm. The Kettle Loop is a five hole loop played around the front nine from alternate tees than the main course routing. The first hole is played across the hazard area that’s normally on the left of the fairway- instead, you tee off across the fescue with a forced carry. The second hole is played from the front tee, and if you drive it over the hill (which was very doable from the front), the ball wild feed down the backside of the hill and could reach the green. The third hole (normally played as a par 4) was from the otherwise-rarely-used US Open tees. It played as a short par 5 (they card it as a par 4.5). The fourth hole is actually from an alternate tee to the 5th green and plays pretty short. The last hole plays from the pro tees on the 6th hole. It was a fun routing, but we were very hot- it was very humid and in the 90s. We had a caddie named John, who left a bit to be desired. He was very kind, but on the 5 greens, he gave me four reads that wee just wrong. I’m not blaming the guy for missing putts, but four times in five holes, he had the putt breaking a foot or more in the wrong direction. He also made a phone call to the clubhouse while my dad was teeing off and my dad had to back off in the middle of a swing because of the chatting. We still tipped him out well at the end because he did carry the bags in extreme heat and humidity after he had already looped a full 18 earlier. Everybody can have an off day and it didn’t run our fun, because as I said, he was a personable guy.
We had dinner in the clubhouse and the steaks were excellent. I’d also recommend the s’mores tartlet- it was a cross between crème brûlée and a s’more. I also had a couple Fescue Rescues (the course’s signature cocktail of Jameson, ginger beer, and lemonade) before heading down to the Drumlin for some late night putting. Similar to the Himalayas at St. Andrews, Thistle Due at Pinehurst, et al, the Drumlin has some crazy slopes, cup holders, and lights. Had a blast out there. One recommendation is to wear big spray. We played barefoot (as did many others) and got eaten alive out there.
We went to bed with a forecast that showed a 70-90% chance of thunderstorms all day long. We expected to get totally washed out and have to reschedule with a rain check, but against all odds, we woke up after a night of heavy rain to a cloudy but dry sky with more predictions of t-storms later.
This time our caddie Julius met us at the range 45 minutes before showtime, and man, did he bring the energy. He was interested in our distances and play styles and it felt like he was really there to help us get dialed in to play our best. We learned that he was a caddie for 10 years at a little club in Georgia that happens to host a major every year and that he’s Erin Hills’ owner’s preferred caddy. He has some great stories and was an absolute joy to be around all day. Hood reads were spot on (just wait until I tell you about my putt on 15!)
We played the White tees (6206 yards). I would have played the green white combo if I wasn’t with my dad, but I like playing from the same tees when we play together, plus I figured the course would play longer since there was less roll due to rain. Now if you’ll oblige me, I’d love to tell you about the best round I’ve ever played.
Hole 1: I drove it into the fairway bunker on the right, but hit it solid. I laid up to 125 yards, hit a wedge to about 30 feet and two putt.
2: I pushed a hard-hit drive into the top bunker on the face of the hill but was fortunate that it didn’t plug. I hit a wedge that held the green and two putt for a sandy par. My dad birdied it.
3: Fairway and green in regulation. Left the birdie putt just a touch short and in the heart. Tap in par.
Sprayed my drive to the right into the fescue, but took my medicine and punched out. Hit the green and nearly holed the par putt. Bogey.
Fairway, green, two putt par.
Pushed an 8-iron right and caught the downslope kicking it into the back right collection area. Made a really nice pitch to about 4 feet and made the par.
Hit a drive to the left side of the fairway. Tried to draw a hybrid into the green but hit the straight ball into the collection area on the right. The pitch was about two feet short of catching the slope to get me close but I made the two putt for par, after a pretty scary comebacker after I blew it 7 feet by the hole.
This was my one bad decision of the day. I should have hit a drawing 5 iron around the hill and hit 9 iron or wedge in to make par or bogey. Instead, I tried to hit driver over the hill (I’d been feeling it, so I was confident). I caught it really then and hit it into the face of the hill, leaving myself a horrendous stance and lie. It took three tries to get it off the hill and I still failed to get it back in the fairway. I pitched on from the fescue about 70 yards out and two putt for a triple. Hindsight is 20/20, but had I realized how short (and how set up for my big right to left shot) the hole was, I should have never even thought about driver.
Still annoyed on the 9th tee, I took a photo with my dad (below) and hit a fat iron to about 25 feet short of the green on the short grass. I chili-dipped a wedge due to lack of focus and then bladed the next shot from the rough to the back of the green (pin was in front). Two putt for double.
Had a pretzel-bunned turn dog and tried to forget the last two holes.
10: I hit the rare (for me) slice at the power boxes on the left. Had to punch back out into the fairway. Hit a nice wedge to about 10 feet but couldn’t convert the par save.
Short wide open hole- tried to kill it and dribbled one out about 150 yards. Luckily the hole was short so it was a 7 iron and two putts for par. Got away with one and managed to escape, which really helped the confidence rebound.
My personal favorite hole on the course with the skateboard downhill looking slopes after a partially bling tee shot. Smoked a drive to the garden spot and hit the green with about 15 feet for birdie. Misjudged the speed and left 5 feet for par and burned the edge. Bogey that stung because I should have made that putt.
Hit a 7 iron pin high but failed, yet again to hole the birdie from about 20 feet. Tap in par.
Hit my drive into the fescue left. I had a good swing, but not a great lie so I laid up. Hit another green, left the birdie putt way short but made a 10-footer for par.
Laid up with a 6 iron to about 110 yards. Needed to hit it about 95 to catch the slope to the right pin and I hit it about 94. I had a massive downhill putt that was probably about 30 feet. Julius had me sim left by about 90 degrees and hit it to the edge of the green makes a corner with the spine that splits the green down the middle- the ball nearly died right at the corner and took probably 20 seconds to trickle down to the hole and stopped about one and a half rotations from the craziest birdie putt ever. The putt left to my own devices would have been just tapped with about a foot of left to right break, but Julius knows that course like the back of his hand and took me to the funnel that I had no idea existed. Tap in par.
Spun my pitching wedge back down the slope to 10 feet. Putt right through the break but made the come backer.
Hit my drive over the slope on the left, and must have caught fescue because I still had 210 left in. I hit a nice drawing hybrid but I couldn’t stop it in the wind which had picked up during the only rain (sprinkles) that we had the entire round. Had a long putt that didn’t lag well enough and I three putt for the first time all day. Bogey.
Knew that if I could get a birdie putt to drop I’d shoot 80 despite the brain fart before the turn. Laid into a drive and absolutely piped it, but it wasn’t enough to get me in range to go for the green in two. Hit my lay up a touch thin and put it into the pot bunker about 110 out. From the bottom of the bunker I could t see the flag and lost my line while taking my stance. Thought I hit it great but blew it way right due to bad alignment. It was long and I deep heather but I couldn’t find it. I looked for a couple minutes and found some balls that weren’t mine. I was ready to give up when a random hospitality employee of the course (Mike) walked by and from about 30 yards away said “is it a Titleist 12?!” You bet your bottom bogey it was. The lie was awful but I didn’t have to go back and drop in the bunker. I hacked it up short of the green from the heather between the hole and the club house, the chipped it to about 7 feet. I walked that putt in for a 10-over 82.
I had shot +7 twice before and had a couple 80s and 81s, but I’ve never hit 11 greens and 8 fairways before, let alone on a US Open course with my dad on a day we weren’t supposed to even have golf-able weather. +10 with a triple, a double, and no birdies just felt incredible, and oh boy if I could have made some more putts….
It was a dream of a time and a great wrap on our trip to Wisconsin. I felt blessed to get the time with my dad and I’ll remember the trip, but especially the day at Erin Hills, forever.
Heading up to Dells to do some hiking at Devils Lake and also giving my wife a spa day which should give me time for a round. Havent played Wild Rock. Is it worth it or should I drive to SV, Lawsonia or elsewhere?
I have played SV and Lawsonia multiple times.
Wild Rock is a great track. By far the best one around the Dells. I think you’d enjoy it, and you’ll be paying less than Lawsonia and certainly SV. Sundara Inn and Spa is right by it and has amazing facilities for an R&R.
I’d put WR on par with Lawsonia. Hayden and Fry did good work at Wild Rock. Lawsonia has the history and well, you’ve already played it.
SV courses are on a different level, which you already know.
If you can pass on the hour hike to play SV and Lawsonia, I’d say give it a go. If you just have an aching to go back to SV or Lawsonia, go launch ‘em.
Devils Lake is awesome! You’ll have a great time there.
Perfect Ill go with Wild Rock. Sundara spa is where I booked my wife so that makes sense. Been a couple years since Ive been back to Devils Lake. Went 22 straight years as a kid. Going to take our new bany girl up for her inagural trip.
Also as an Iowa Alum I like the Hayden Fry slip.
Hurdzan and Fry. Sorry, I’ve got CFB on my brain