Best of the Rest
Brown Deer Golf Club (browndeergolfclub.org), the county course that hosts the U.S. Bank Championship, may be best known as the venue where Tiger Woods made his professional debut. Opened in 1929, it’s an old-fashioned parkland design with tree-lined fairways and thick rough. Twenty miles north is The Bog (golfthebog.com), an Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay design that weaves through wetlands and has lightning-fast greens. The massively bunkered and mounded Irish Course at Whistling Straits (destinationkohler.com) rounds out an unbeatable foursome at Kohler. Should your travels take you to the northern half of the state, SentryWorld (sentryworld.com) in Stevens Point, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. for the Sentry Insurance Company, is a must-play. Its par-three sixteenth “flower hole” is festooned with sixty thousand blooming plants. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry’s Wild Rock Golf Club (golfwildernesswoods.com) opened in May in Wisconsin Dells, the water-park mecca, and is expected to garner much acclaim.
Where to Stay
The American Club Once a dormitory for immigrant Kohler employees, the American Club combines old-world charm with contemporary luxury, including the company’s signature whirlpool baths. The hotel sits in the heart of the quaint village of Kohler, just up the road from Blackwolf Run and fifteen minutes from Whistling Straits. The amenities include the Kohler Waters Spa and a five-hundred-acre preserve, not to mention the Kohler Design Center, a showcase of bathroom fixtures and model kitchens.
419 Highland Drive, Kohler. Rooms: $300. Contact: 920-457-8000, destinationkohler.com.
Angel Inn Bed & Breakfast Proprietors Dave and Kathy Greening bought this Greek Revival mansion on Green Lake a decade ago and converted it into a B&B. The ornate pillars and plasterwork on the first floor are original, dating to 1910. Each room has a whirlpool and fireplace, and those on the south side offer great views of the lake. The inn is ideal for small groups of golfers in town to play the Lawsonia courses.
372 South Lawson Drive, Green Lake. Rooms: $145–$195. Contact: 920-294-3087, angelinns.com.
Delafield Hotel If you choose not to stay at Erin Hills (see page 112), this two-year-old boutique hotel, a meticulously converted brick warehouse a half-hour south of the course, is an excellent option. The only Wisconsin lodging certified by the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, it’s owned by Erin Hills developer Bob Lang. No two rooms are alike in dimensions or furnishings, many of which come from Lang’s own antiques collection.
415 Genesee Street, Delafield. Rooms: $225–$450. Contact: 262-646-1600, thedelafieldhotel.com.
The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club The top three floors of this large downtown hotel are set aside for the Governor’s Club, a collection of opulent rooms and suites. The hotel has a full-service restaurant and a bar that offers live jazz three nights a week. There’s also a fitness center, sauna and indoor pool.
One West Dayton Street, Madison. Rooms: $125–$175. Contact: 800-356-8293, concoursehotel.com.
Where to Eat
Andrew’s Bar & Restaurant (Contemporary American) This white-linen restaurant in the Delafield Hotel has acquired a following for its outstanding upscale American fare, attentive service and extensive wine cellar. Diners can choose between floor-to-ceiling private booths, parlor seating and, in warm weather, a veranda.
415 Genesee Street, Delafield; 262-646-1620, thedelafieldhotel.com. $$$
Immigrant Restaurant (Contemporary) The culinary flagship of the American Club, the Immigrant consists of six intimate rooms decorated in the European style of Wisconsin settlers, a tribute to those who worked for the Kohler Company in the early 1900s. The menu, however, is the antithesis of plebeian, hitting such high notes as Hudson Valley foie gras and Tasmanian king salmon.
419 Highland Drive, Kohler; 920-457-8888, destinationkohler.com. $$$$
Leon’s Frozen Custard A Milwaukee institution, this neon-lit drive-in custard stand on the south side is straight out of the 1950s. (In fact, it was the inspiration for Arnold’s Drive-In in Happy Days.) Be prepared to stand in line for ten or fifteen minutes on warm summer nights, but one taste of the cold, rich custard—made fresh each day—and you will be glad you did.
3131 South 27th Street, Milwaukee; 414-383-1784. $
L’Etoile (French) The owners of this celebrated Madison restaurant, whose exposed-brick second-floor dining room overlooks Capital Square, are champions of the farm-to-table movement. They tailor the ever-changing menu around weekly bounty from the city’s bustling farmers’ market.
25 North Pinckney Street, Madison; 608- 251-0500, letoile-restaurant.com. $$$$
Mo’s: A Place for Steaks (Steak house) Not quite a decade after Mo’s opened in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, it’s consistently voted the best steak house in the city. The thick-cut pork and veal chops are the choice on the menu, although that takes nothing away from the bone-in rib eye and the filet mignon. There’s also a long list of single malts, cognacs and vintage ports on offer, perfect for sipping in the cigar lounge.
720 North Plankinton Avenue, Milwaukee; 414-272-0720, mosaplaceforsteaks.com. $$$$
(Regional) This down-home lakefront place is all about tradition. The host of live bands and waterskiing shows, it’s been drawing summer crowds since 1948. Norton’s signature dish is Canadian walleye pike, served deep-fried or broiled. The same chef has run the kitchen for seventeen years.
380 South Lawson Drive, Green Lake; 920-294-6577, nortonsofgreenlake.com. $$$