Home to the University of Wisconsin golf teams, the University Ridge Golf Course get’s its name from the glacial ridges that covered the region. A pronounced ridge separates peaks and valleys making it an ideal site for a championship golf course.
Prominent architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed the course in 1991 letting the ridge dictate many of the contours of the golf holes. The result was a course with remarkable hole variety and significant elevation changes among wide open terrain and dense woodlands. They completed a major renovation of the practice facilities in 2008 to better support the golf teams. The result is a 33-acre space with two 9,000 square foot hitting areas, an excellent short game area with a bunker, and an extensive undulating practice green to better simulate course conditions. They offer a price ($25) for an all-day pass to this range. A cozy Frank Lloyd Wright designed clubhouse tops it off. Since 2016 it’s been home to the PGA TOUR Champions American Family Championship. We played on the last open day before the tournament. What a treat to experience the perfect conditioning and tournament grandstands.
Golf Magazine’s 2016/17 ranking places University Ridge golf course #7 in the state.
University Ridge Golf Course
Opening the round with a straightforward Par4 on Hole #1 provides an uninspiring start. But a remarkable hole #2 starts the first of many excellent Par5s on the University Ridge Golf Course. An intimidating tee shot would navigate over a creek 200 yards out, or cut it tight by launching over an oak tree to get home in two on this dogleg right. After a wide-open front nine holes, the back nine cuts through thick Wisconsin woodlands. Trees on both sides of Hole #10 make this long Par4 one of the most challenging holes on the course.
Mr. Jones designed four outstanding holes to finish the round. The Par4 Hole #15 is a short Par4 (321 yards from Blue) that doglegs right with multiple risk/reward options. Navigate the fairway bunkers in the center or go for it over the trees on the right. Hole #16 is a dual fairway long Par5 (533 yards from the Blue). The Par3 Hole #17 is a signature hole. It’s 192 yards from the blue tees over water to a firm green. There is no bailout. The dogleg left Par4 closing hole presents a risk/reward decision. Cut the corner on your tee shot as much as you dare since the carry over the marsh lengthens as you aim further left, and three bunkers protect the fairway. Conservative play down the center leaves a mid-iron uphill to a fast green with a false front.
The University Ridge Golf Course is a magnificent golf course open to the public. It’s as good a natural golf setting as you will find with excellent variety, conditioning, layout, and service. With bent grass fairways and greens, it’s also fairly priced at $90-$110.