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I've followed this thread while looking out my SE Wisconsin window. The ground is frozen, there is a skiff of new snow on the ground and in the north country the lakes are freezing over and 10" of power is in the woods.

 

Wisconsin, despite a 5-6 month golf season is blessed with some fine golf venues. Those you've mentioned above and a multitude of others from border to border. Pretty amazing. We have a rust belt industrial economy in parts of the state, lots of family dairy farms, but tourism is the life blood for much of the state. To date opinions on the OP's question have come in from Canada, WA, FL, MS, IL VA, TX, MN and AZ. Keep coming to visit! EH, SV and Kohler are the calling cards everyone seems to respond to, but I like to think we are a pretty friendly place and welcome your sense of adventure.

 

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Just do them all! Here was our itinerary.

Day 1: Fly to ORD early, drive to SV, play 36, drive to Whistling

Day 2: 36 at Whistling Straits

Day 3: 36 at Whistling Straits

Day 4: Drive to Erin Hills, play 18, drive to ORD

Good bit of driving but we weren't sure if or when our next trip up there would be!

 

Yikes. I've done some crazy days of driving/golf, but that would be brutal. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive from O'Hare to SV. Assuming it takes an hour to claim luggage, take the people mover to the rental center, grab a car, and hit the road, you wouldn't be teeing off until 11 am if your flight pulled to the gate at 6 am. With 5 hour rounds not uncommon in mid-season, you'd be hard pressed to play 36. I assume it was near sundown when you finished?

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Just do them all! Here was our itinerary.

Day 1: Fly to ORD early, drive to SV, play 36, drive to Whistling

Day 2: 36 at Whistling Straits

Day 3: 36 at Whistling Straits

Day 4: Drive to Erin Hills, play 18, drive to ORD

Good bit of driving but we weren't sure if or when our next trip up there would be!

 

Yikes. I've done some crazy days of driving/golf, but that would be brutal. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive from O'Hare to SV. Assuming it takes an hour to claim luggage, take the people mover to the rental center, grab a car, and hit the road, you wouldn't be teeing off until 11 am if your flight pulled to the gate at 6 am. With 5 hour rounds not uncommon in mid-season, you'd be hard pressed to play 36. I assume it was near sundown when you finished?

 

My thoughts exactly. That first day is a huge stretch. 11am if you don't stop for breakfast/lunch or hitting the range/putting green. Impressive to get all of that in.

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Just do them all! Here was our itinerary.

Day 1: Fly to ORD early, drive to SV, play 36, drive to Whistling

Day 2: 36 at Whistling Straits

Day 3: 36 at Whistling Straits

Day 4: Drive to Erin Hills, play 18, drive to ORD

Good bit of driving but we weren't sure if or when our next trip up there would be!

 

Yikes. I've done some crazy days of driving/golf, but that would be brutal. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive from O'Hare to SV. Assuming it takes an hour to claim luggage, take the people mover to the rental center, grab a car, and hit the road, you wouldn't be teeing off until 11 am if your flight pulled to the gate at 6 am. With 5 hour rounds not uncommon in mid-season, you'd be hard pressed to play 36. I assume it was near sundown when you finished?

 

My thoughts exactly. That first day is a huge stretch. 11am if you don't stop for breakfast/lunch or hitting the range/putting green. Impressive to get all of that in.

It was a beating of a day. And we cheated a little bit as one member of the group was local to Chicago and picked everyone up so we did not need to deal with the rental car situation. The rest of the group was on a red eye that landed at 5, on the road by 6. Round 2 was pushing it but we got it in, lots of daylight in July.

 

Relaxation and sleep are severely overrated on an epic golf trip.

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I like doing first day at the range then the par three or putting course like the punch bowl at Bandon and finishing in the pub to get the completive juices going for 36 the next day.

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I honestly don't get the hate for Whistling Straits. Like I said before, I prefer Erin Hills, but WS is one of the best public courses in the country. It is overly penal for hackers, with bunkers and trouble in places that will only punish them, I get that. But it is a great walk, and the only hole that i feel doesn't belong is #6. People that hate on it would never turn down a round though.

 

WS is one of my favorite courses. I don't care how it got there or how many loads of dirt were moved. It's world class and hosts world class events. The Ryder Cup will be there in two years and I would love to watch on site.

 

My only issue with WS is the cost.

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Just do them all! Here was our itinerary.

Day 1: Fly to ORD early, drive to SV, play 36, drive to Whistling

Day 2: 36 at Whistling Straits

Day 3: 36 at Whistling Straits

Day 4: Drive to Erin Hills, play 18, drive to ORD

Good bit of driving but we weren't sure if or when our next trip up there would be!

 

That would not be fun for me.

 

My day would be more like 10:00 AM tee time on WS. After playing 18, have a beer and cigar on the patio. Then off to dinner.

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If doing 36/day at Kohler, I like starting with Whistling Straits first thing, usually hitting into some dense Lake Michigan fog on first hole, lunch upstairs, head over to Blackwolf Run for next 18, dinner in the Blackwolf Run clubhouse. Golf and food are excellent.

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There is too much good golf in Wisconsin to make an easy call on only two courses.

 

I think if you're doing Sand Valley you should do 36 there and then Sentry World. If you're doing Kohler do Straits, River Course and The Bull.

 

Erin Hills actually loses out in that deal but I think those 6 courses are better but EH obviously gets higher marks for hosting a US Open.

 

The Milwaukee airport is so easy to get in and out of so I'm not sure why you'd fly into O'Hare as someone else suggested.

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Relaxation and sleep are severely overrated on an epic golf trip.

 

Given how hectic my normal life is, relaxation and sleep are exactly whey I go on epic golf trips lol.

 

At EH I enjoyed one (cough really just one cough) more scotch than I normally would by the firepits after dinner, slept later than I usually would, had coffee outside watching people tee off the first hole, lazily enjoyed breakfast, sauntered over to the range and short game area - then played.

 

BTW we flew in and out of MKE, so much easier getting to WS than dealing with Chicago.

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Relaxation and sleep are severely overrated on an epic golf trip.

 

Given how hectic my normal life is, relaxation and sleep are exactly whey I go on epic golf trips lol.

 

At EH I enjoyed one (cough really just one cough) more scotch than I normally would by the firepits after dinner, slept later than I usually would, had coffee outside watching people tee off the first hole, lazily enjoyed breakfast, sauntered over to the range and short game area - then played.

 

BTW we flew in and out of MKE, so much easier getting to WS than dealing with Chicago.

 

+1. I used to fly a lot and MKE is one of the nicest airports that still has a lot of routes you'll ever go through.

 

From MKE you're on 94 within 2 minutes and you're an hour from Whistling, 30 minutes from EH and probably 2:15 from SV. Add about an hour and a half onto all those times from O'Hare because you'll drive right past MKE on your way.

 

Sand Valley is also starting to build homes so if you've got $900K burning a hole in your pocket and you want a small little two bedroom home get on the list.

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+1. I used to fly a lot and MKE is one of the nicest airports that still has a lot of routes you'll ever go through.

 

Really good airport, definitely will fly through there again when we go back.

 

I'm sure its an easy quick shot to WS but last year someone insisted we go to Lakefront Brewery on the way north. Good stop. Excellent beers, fried cheese curds and sandwiches were delicious and you can sit outside right on the water watching people pull up in their kayaks or SUPs. Its a must stop IMO.

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+1. I used to fly a lot and MKE is one of the nicest airports that still has a lot of routes you'll ever go through.

 

Really good airport, definitely will fly through there again when we go back.

 

I'm sure its an easy quick shot to WS but last year someone insisted we go to Lakefront Brewery on the way north. Good stop. Excellent beers, fried cheese curds and sandwiches were delicious and you can sit outside right on the water watching people pull up in their kayaks or SUPs. Its a must stop IMO.

 

Next time stop at the Rock Bottom Brewery. It's on the river and they brew their own beers for the bar and not distribution.

 

If you can extend the trip by a day I really encourage you to play The Bull. It's a couple minutes from Kohler and I think it may be the best challenge in Wisconsin. It's got a lot of similarities to the River Course but it's a Nicklaus design with a little more variety.

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+1. I used to fly a lot and MKE is one of the nicest airports that still has a lot of routes you'll ever go through.

 

From MKE you're on 94 within 2 minutes and you're an hour from Whistling, 30 minutes from EH and probably 2:15 from SV. Add about an hour and a half onto all those times from O'Hare because you'll drive right past MKE on your way.

 

That assumes you have a non stop flight into MKE. If not, it's easier to fly to ORD and drive than take another flight to MKE with connection times.

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+1. I used to fly a lot and MKE is one of the nicest airports that still has a lot of routes you'll ever go through.

 

Really good airport, definitely will fly through there again when we go back.

 

I'm sure its an easy quick shot to WS but last year someone insisted we go to Lakefront Brewery on the way north. Good stop. Excellent beers, fried cheese curds and sandwiches were delicious and you can sit outside right on the water watching people pull up in their kayaks or SUPs. Its a must stop IMO.

 

Next time stop at the Rock Bottom Brewery. It's on the river and they brew their own beers for the bar and not distribution.

 

If you can extend the trip by a day I really encourage you to play The Bull. It's a couple minutes from Kohler and I think it may be the best challenge in Wisconsin. It's got a lot of similarities to the River Course but it's a Nicklaus design with a little more variety.

 

I agree. We played The Bull in August and it was spectacular. Every hole required strategic thinking.

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+1. I used to fly a lot and MKE is one of the nicest airports that still has a lot of routes you'll ever go through.

 

From MKE you're on 94 within 2 minutes and you're an hour from Whistling, 30 minutes from EH and probably 2:15 from SV. Add about an hour and a half onto all those times from O'Hare because you'll drive right past MKE on your way.

 

That assumes you have a non stop flight into MKE. If not, it's easier to fly to ORD and drive than take another flight to MKE with connection times.

 

I make the flight to Austin a handful of times a year and there's no problem flying direct from there.

 

You can also look forward to an I94 renovation project for the next couple years so ORD to the MKE airport can take several hours nowadays.

 

I honestly would much rather make a connection than fly into O'Hare direct. I travel with clubs about 20 flights per year and I've learned to not be afraid of the connection anymore.

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i always thought the best trip would be to fly into Milwaukee, drive to the Straits and stay and play. Go back to Milwaukee, catch a Brewers game and then drive to Erin Hills the next day and play. I have been to Sand Valley and Lawsonia and they are great tracks and worth the trip.

 

I've been to over a dozen MLB ballparks and Miller Park is a really cool experience the holds up with the best of them. A better trip would either be to Lambeau or Camp Randall for a football game and then some fall golf but call to make sure the greens aren't punched.

 

I've played a lot of golf at Lawsonia and it's good but I think it's just gotten a lot of hype due to its age and history and not really its merit as a course. I would recommend Sentry World and The Bull before I would have someone go play Lawsonia.

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We did the Miller tour in Milwaukee since we didnt do a Brewers game. I have done a bunch of brewery tours and this one was pretty exceptional - lots of cool stuff to see.

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+1. I used to fly a lot and MKE is one of the nicest airports that still has a lot of routes you'll ever go through.

 

From MKE you're on 94 within 2 minutes and you're an hour from Whistling, 30 minutes from EH and probably 2:15 from SV. Add about an hour and a half onto all those times from O'Hare because you'll drive right past MKE on your way.

 

That assumes you have a non stop flight into MKE. If not, it's easier to fly to ORD and drive than take another flight to MKE with connection times.

 

I make the flight to Austin a handful of times a year and there's no problem flying direct from there.

 

I was not aware of a non stop flight from AUS to MKE. What airline does that?

 

I honestly would much rather make a connection than fly into O'Hare direct. I travel with clubs about 20 flights per year and I've learned to not be afraid of the connection anymore.

 

Not worried about connections. It's just faster to fly from AUS to ORD and drive rather than Fly to MKE and drive. The drive from MKE is about 45 minutes shorter but the flight is almost two hours longer.

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I did

 

lawsonia links and Erin hills Wednesday

Whistling straits and sandbox Thursday

Sand valley and mammoth Friday

 

There was some driving but it wasn't too bad. Watch out for cops in small towns from Erin hills to Koehler. They pulled me over for being lost.

 

If you have IL plates the WI police will pull over for being a FIB. Last year going to EH I got pulled over for doing 71 in a 70.

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I did

 

lawsonia links and Erin hills Wednesday

Whistling straits and sandbox Thursday

Sand valley and mammoth Friday

 

There was some driving but it wasn't too bad. Watch out for cops in small towns from Erin hills to Koehler. They pulled me over for being lost.

 

If you have IL plates the WI police will pull over for being a FIB. Last year going to EH I got pulled over for doing 71 in a 70.

 

Well, we have to finance our road repairs somehow! JK...but to answer the OP's question, I would personally go with Erin and SV, but as others have mentioned if you have the time you would be doing yourself a disservice by skipping Kohler, especially WS. It might not be a course that I'm dying to play all the time, what with it's long grinding 5hr plus rounds and very penal nature, but it is truly a spectacle and one that I think every golf nut should knock off their list.

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Ha yes I did have an Illinois plate!

 

The cop was exaggerating and saying I was swirling and nearly running over a biker and crap. Load of crap.

 

When you get off the highway and start heading towards Lawsonia there is a little town that will write you a ticket for 2 over no matter what plates you have on your car. It's a little stretch in Ripon and they do something about it on the news every year because they write more tickets than any other place in Wisconsin. They write like 2,000 speeding tickets per year and only 500 people live in the city. The gas station there even sells souvenir T shirts about their speed trap.

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Ha yes I did have an Illinois plate!

 

The cop was exaggerating and saying I was swirling and nearly running over a biker and crap. Load of crap.

 

When you get off the highway and start heading towards Lawsonia there is a little town that will write you a ticket for 2 over no matter what plates you have on your car. It's a little stretch in Ripon and they do something about it on the news every year because they write more tickets than any other place in Wisconsin. They write like 2,000 speeding tickets per year and only 500 people live in the city. The gas station there even sells souvenir T shirts about their speed trap.

 

My buddy got a verbal warning.....traveling east on 23 coming into town where it slows to 35, he did not slow fast enough and the officer pulled him over saying he clocked him at 55. Officer was super cool about it, ran his I'd and said if he didn't have anything in the last year he would cut him loose! Its rare, but occasionally they cut you some slack. That's the only time I can remember seeing a cop in town, other than passing by the cop shop. I'm sure they are strategically placed and I just don't see em, but this time he was in the median and easy to see. Those transition areas from 55 to 45 to 35 are an easy mark for the cops to nab people.

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