By Brian E. Clark
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
There are plenty of unusual and even quirky holes scattered around golf courses in the Badger State.
But Jeff Mayers, who has been playing golf in Wisconsin for 30 years, says the "weirdest" one is the par-three, second hole at Eagle Springs Golf Resort outside Eagle, located 40 miles southwest of Milwaukee, because duffers must tee off on top of one glacial drumlin or hill and then land their ball on the green of another drumlin 134 yards away.
"They call it the volcano hole," said Mayers, co-author with Jerry Poling of "Golf Wisconsin – The Official Guide to the State's Top 25 Public Courses."
"You either hit the green or you're in trouble in heavy grass on the side of the hill or rolling down the side of the steep hill," he said, noting that the green on the drum sits around 75 feet above the middle section of the hole.
Bill Linnemann, an official with the Wisconsin State Golf Association, said he thinks one of the odder holes in the state is No. 8 on the Peninsula State Park Golf Course outside Ephraim in Door County. It's only 69 yards long, but it drops an intimidating 50 feet over a cliff down to the green.
When you tee off, you're hitting toward a 40-foot-tall totem pole that marks the burial spot of Potawatomi chief Simon Kahquados. Linnemann said the precipitous drop can psyche out some first-timers, but after playing the hole a time or two, it becomes easier.
"It's all downhill, so your ball will eventually land on the green if you don't over hit," he quipped. "And it's got to be one of the prettiest holes in the state, what with its incredible view of Lake Michigan's Green Bay in the distance and the surrounding park."
Here are some more unusual holes around Wisconsin.
The par-three, No. 16 at the SentryWorld Golf Course in Stevens Point has been described as the most beautiful hole in the state. That's because it has as many as 45,000 blooming plants in its fairway. So as not to mess up the colorful foliage, golfers are allowed a drop if they land amidst the flowers. The course recently was redesigned, but they kept this signature hole.
In Madison, the ninth hole on the municipal Glenway Golf Course features a stoplight at the start and it has nothing to do with nearby traffic. The tee is blind, so the stoplight is there to let you know it's safe to swing away.
The Irish course, part of the Whistling Straits complex north of Kohler, has a blind par-three hole. While blind par-fours aren't unusual, it's somewhat rare in the U.S. to find a par-three where you can't see the green from the tee. No. 13, dubbed "Blind Man's Bluff," was a nod by the designers to similar holes in the British Isles.
The Badger State has at least two greens shaped like the state of Wisconsin. One of them is the first hole at the Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne, southwest of Appleton. The other No. 17 at the Christmas Mountain Village Golf Course in the Wisconsin Dells.
Golfers can't see the green from the tee of the 150-yard, par-three fourth hole at the Plum Lake Golf Course in Sayner near the border of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. However, a 15-foot-tall flagstick helps them find their way to what some call the "sugar bowl" green.
Way up in Danbury, not too far from the banks of the St. Croix River, the Voyager Village Country Club has 17 holes that wind through the picturesque Northwoods. But on the 505-yard sixth hole, it runs along a cement airstrip. If your ball lands there, Mayers says it will cost you a stroke, distance "and your frequent flyer miles."
At the Apostle Highlands Golf Course in Bayfield, you might hear golfers talk about having to hit a shot that must carry Lake Superior. But it's not that Lake Superior, which boasts a maximum width of 160 miles. They're discussing a large pond shaped like Lake Superior that you must hit over to reach the fairway on the other side.
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