Geneva National includes fifty-four holes designed by three legends of the game, Palmer, Player, and Trevino. Carved out of the rolling countryside of Southeastern Wisconsin four miles west of Lake Geneva, it’s near the shores of Lake Como. It’s an easy 1 to 1 1/2 hour drive for many golfers from Chicago or Milwaukee. The club is semi-private with a variety of membership opportunities. Outside events use a large 60,000 square foot clubhouse. Stay and play packages are available. The atmosphere is welcoming; the pro-shop staff is friendly. It’s a fun place to spend a few days golfing. An array of shot-making skills are required due to the differences between the courses. The Palmer and Player courses are most memorable and more challenging, while the Trevino course is somewhat easier. The tees, fairways, and greens are all bentgrass. Five sets of teeing grounds on all courses enable proper length choices.
Golf Magazine’s 2016/17 ranking places the Player course #14 in the state.
Geneva National Arnold Palmer Signature Course
The Palmer Course is the longest of the three championship venues. From 2006-2008 it hosted an LPGA Futures Tour Event. It’s usually the favorite of the three courses for most golfers. Continuous elevation changes and tree-lined fairways provide both pastoral beauty and shot-making challenge. Arnie shaped the wetlands in a very active way. Each hole is different, and he offers different feels as you move around the course. The front nine is open, and the back nine is wooded, ending with three marvelous holes along the lake. The medium-sized greens are the toughest of the three tracks with some severe front-to-back slopes along with subtle breaks.
Starting at the range, breathtaking views of Lake Como in the background are commonplace. The course opens with a splendid Par4. A creek winds through the fairway at the corner of the sharply right dogleg presenting danger for golfers who push it down the right side. The creek then runs toward the green protecting it short and left on the approach shot. The Par4 sixth hole presents a downhill tee shot on a sharply left dogleg that tempts the golfer to cut the corner. The shortest Par5 on the course is Hole #7 at 450-500 yards. But any chance of getting home in two requires an accurate tee shot on this narrow wooded hole. With a water hazard that protects the right and front of the green, the eighth hole is a solid medium length Par3.
The Palmer course finishes with three marvelous holes along Lake Como. A striking contrast to the rest of the heavily wooded holes, these closing holes feel like a different course. Enjoy the scenery. The sixteenth is a long Par3 protected nicely protected by bunkers in the front and water in the back. The seventeenth is a medium length dogleg left Par5 entirely along Lake Como. Approach shots left of the green will be wet, there is no room for error. The eighteenth hole turns back to the clubhouse. It’s a problematic uphill Par4.
This course can be tough if you’re not striking it well and especially if played from the wrong set of tees for your ability. The varied course architecture at the Palmer course at Geneva National is simply enjoyable and represents Arnold Palmer at his best.