By Jerry Huffman
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Okay, Wisconsin golf fans, here’s a trivia question for you. Which Wisconsin golfer has won more British Opens than any other?
Andy North? Nope; the ESPN announcer won two US Opens, but never a British Open.
Steve Stricker? Not yet. The world’s fifth-ranked golfer is getting closer but so far no major titles.
Golfers Jerry Kelly or Mark Wilson? Nope and nope.
With more than $6 million dollars in LPGA earnings, the correct answer is Madison’s native Sherri Steinhauer. With eight career tour wins on her resume, Steinhauer won the women’s British Open in 1998, 1999 and 2006.
Steinhauer retired from active competition in 2011, but she was in the field at the Women’s US Open the first time it was played at Blackwolf Run in 1998 and says it’s a tough course.
“I remember how long the approach shots were in ’98,” says Steinhauer, “and when you combine long approach shots with hitting the ball into small greens it made for some very long days.”
We talked with Sherri from her home in Palm Springs recently and asked her to recommend some of her favorite Wisconsin golf courses.
“I remember playing high school tournaments there and always loved the two courses. Tough courses, beautiful scenery, and some really challenging shots to elevated greens.”
Fact: In most national surveys, The Golf Courses of Lawsonia have always ranked among the top places to play in the state. Golf Week magazine ranks Lawsonia as the number three golf course in Wisconsin.
“I love the uniqueness of the nine hole layouts at University Ridge. The front nine plays as a more wide open feel with almost no trees while the back nine is cut from the woods and places a much higher premium on accuracy. I really like the visual definition of the two nines because they are so distinctly different.”
Fact: University Ridge opened in 1991 and was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. The golf course sits on a terminal moraine where the Wisconsin glaciers stopped, forming a ridge that separates the land into rolling hills and valleys. The Wisconsin State Open will be held at University Ridge in 2015.
“Madison is a special place for golf courses. When I was a kid I always appreciated how great the public golf courses were. Some of my earliest memories are from playing at Yahara and Odana. They were great places to learn how to play the game and I’ve always appreciated that in Madison, public golf courses are so accessible and such fun places to play.”
Fact: Madison actually has four public golf courses. Yahara Hills, Odana Hills, Glenway and Monona. The city offers a discount card for both residents and non-residents, which can lead to significant savings in green fees.