Northwest Wisconsin offers gorgeous views and challenging golf courses. Between shots, you and your group can admire the stunning scenery together. Read on to discover six great golf courses in the St. Croix Falls area.
Bristol Ridge Golf Course
The gently rolling, frequently wooded landscape around St. Croix Falls on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border makes for challenging but accessible golf courses where players of every skill level will get a chance to use every club in their bag.
In fact, that was the focus of the ribbing our golfing group gave Tom in the clubhouse at Bristol Ridge Golf Course, south of St. Croix Falls.
“Did you think about playing the whole course with a seven iron, Tom?” asked Brian, munching on a jalapeño popper in the Bristol Ridge Grill. “Save you a lot of effort carrying all those other clubs around all day.”
“Very funny,” Tom replied.
You couldn’t ask for a nicer course. Its 18 well-maintained holes adjacent to the Apple River just south of St. Croix Falls make their way through a park-like setting. Fairways roll across ground with enough grade to offer plenty of challenging up- and downhill shots.
The long 5th hole doglegs slightly to the right, with shady woods on both sides of the fairway. Cleverly sited water and marshy areas protect several of the greens, but it’s a course that rewards a modest risk-reward attitude.
That was the experience of our group of golfing buddies at Bristol Ridge, but every course we visited had its own unique qualities.
Krooked Kreek Golf Course
At Krooked Kreek Golf Course – surrounded by woods and less hilly but a more open course – clear sightlines made shot-making strategy a fun challenge.
But do not be fooled, extensive wetlands and the wooded and winding flow of Osceola Creek offered surprises on many holes–particularly the 6th, with water endangering slicers on the right and long hitters overshooting the green. Par 5 number 13 offers a dangerous on-the-green-in-two over water or a safer layup around a hard left-hand dog leg. It had us scratching our heads to strategize, but it was a fun puzzle to solve.
Less than an hour from Minneapolis and with an onsite Bar and Grill, this was a great place to spend time together.
Five Flags Golf Course
A pleasant little nine-hole course called Five Flags served as a great golf adjunct to a day partly devoted to fishing on nearby Balsam Lake, our version of a surf-n-turf outing. As one would expect from a course so near a prime water-sports venue, woodland views are the highlight. Hilly fairways and true-rolling greens were the draw for the landlubbers in our party, but the truth is we all enjoyed the course.
Luck Municipal Golf Course
Woods and water also add up to good fortune for the Luck Municipal Golf Course, where part of the course borders Big Butternut Lake within Big Butternut Lake Park. The hilliest of our golfing experiences, Luck Municipal is about evenly divided between dramatic, forested hill holes and more gently rolling ground holes closer to the lake.
The flatter, downhill holes reward long, straight shots to the lightly bunkered greens. Up in the hills on the south part of the course, careful shot placement is the key if you want to avoid hiking the pretty woods in search of lost balls.
An unexpected highlight was enjoying our favorite evening beverages as we watched the sun set over Big Butternut Lake from our cabin along the shore. The family-owned Riepenhoff's Butternut Lake Cabins date back to the era of remote fishing camps, but are updated, comfortable, and make a great launching platform to explore the rest of the area.
Amery Golf Club
Amery Golf Club in the “City of Lakes,” Amery, Wisconsin, of course offered plenty of water challenges in its 18 well-designed holes, including five separate tees providing enjoyable play for golfers of all ages and skill levels. Laid out around a centerpiece lake, the course was more town-oriented than others in the area, giving easy access to dining and recreation like state parks and bike trails.
On the course, holes 6, 7, 8 and 9 circle the central lake, putting water in play from every direction, and letting players test their mettle in taking it on or discreetly playing around it.
Frederic Golf Course
Allen, our straightest driver, saw us through a round at Frederic Golf Course, where challenging fairways called for crisp shot placement, and we decided to make it a “best ball” outing.
Far from treeless, Frederic is still one of the more open courses we encountered. Well-placed shots on the open fairways can add a long roll to your distance. For the same reason, the more open parts of the course put the wind in play, making a low, flatter shot shape a real plus.
The Frederic track may have the most interesting history of the St. Croix Falls area courses, being founded in 1956 as a village group-effort with volunteers cutting trees and shaping the course in their free time and on weekends. It is the kind of friendly and helpful mood we found everywhere in the St. Croix Falls region, from dining to fishing to our main pursuit, golf.
From course pros who were generous with tips and hints about the best way to approach their courses to clubhouse dining, cart- bag- and course-maintenance staff, excellence was par for the course in the St. Croix Falls area.
Discover more great places to golf with this insider’s guide to Wisconsin’s golf resorts.