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 it’s an easy 1 to 1 1/2 hour drive for many golfers from Chicago or Milwaukee. Although it’s four miles west of Lake Geneva, it’s actually near the shores of Lake Como.
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 also available. The atmosphere is welcoming, and the pro-shop staff is friendly. Starting at the range, breathtaking views of Lake Como in the background are commonplace. 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 memorable and challenging, while the Trevino course is more straightforward. 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 #15 in the state.
Gary Player Signature Course
The Player course opened as a 9-hole course in 1995. Gary Player returned to complete the 18-holes in 2000. It is the most challenging of the three courses. The tee shots usually have ample landing areas, but the challenge is in the approach. Risk/reward scenarios are frequent despite only five holes having a water hazard. A myriad of trees combined with the natural wetlands generates a bucolic feeling. The course offers fabulous views of nearby Lake Como on many holes. Unusual with five Par5s and five Par3s (two of them very short), the course still checks in at 6417 yards from Gold and 7008 yards from the Black.
The Par4 Hole #1 provides a view of Lake Como in the distance. After a downhill tee shot, the approach needs to carry a chasm immediately in front of the green. We wish more courses would adopt short Par 4s with a good risk/reward. Par4 Hole #5 is precisely that. Aim directly at the green with a 173-yard carry from the White, a 195-yard carry from the Gold or a 240-yard carry from the Black teeing grounds. Beware, that landing area is tiny and surrounded by bunkers. Otherwise, play right and have a 100 yard shot to a large multi-tiered green. Another different but classic risk/reward is evident on the tee shot at the dogleg left Par4 Hole #7. The distance to clear the marsh increases the further left you aim. Then the corner is guarded by a large tree and bunker. The Par5 tenth hole presents another risk/reward scenario. After a tee shot that should favor the left side, the opportunity to get home in two is daunting. A lake and a massive bunker guard the green on the right. The tee shot on the Par5 Hole #14 is the narrowest of the course. If you keep it away from the trees and stay in the fairway, you should have an opportunity for a good score. It’s only 444 yards from the White, 468 yards from the Gold, and 526 yards from the Black.
The Player course is not tricky. The many risk/reward scenarios make it fun. You can score here if you are swinging well and are thinking well. It’s the favorite of the three Geneva National Golf Courses for me.