GREEN LAKE, Wis. - While the Straits course at Whistling Straits and Erin Hills Golf Course, two modern major championship venues, hog the headlines in Wisconsin, Lawsonia Links continues to tug at the heartstrings of every golfer who ventures off-the-beaten path to find it.
Lawsonia Links is a charmer. The classic William Langford and Theodore J. Moreau design, which dates to 1930, is ranked on the top 100 public lists of every major golf magazine.
There are only a handful of public courses in the country with its unique qualities, which have been restored by Ron Forse, one of the experts of Golden Age golf course architecture. The random berms and dramatic greenside walls of Lawsonia Links are similar to the idiosyncrasies found at the nine-hole Wawashkamo Golf Club on Mackinac Island in Michigan and the Old course at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania. It's throwback architecture at its best. Classics kept in such pristine shape tend to be private clubs today.
It's not really links golf as the name suggests, but it has some of its elements: Knee-high golden grasses waving in the wind, few trees in play and blind tee shots on three holes (nos. 1-2-18). The magic moment comes at the 161-yard seventh hole, the par-3 known as the "Box Car Hole". Legend has it that a railroad car was buried under the green to create such an extreme 20-foot drop-off on the right. Missing at the bottom is worse than being buried in a pot bunker.
Golf packages are available by renting any of the three houses on the property or by staying at the nearby Heidel House Resort & Spa, a lakeside retreat on Green Lake home to fantastic indoor and outdoor pool complexes. The 6,514-yard Tuscumbia Country Club, the oldest course in the state (dating to 1896), resides across the street. Tuscumbia might have more history on its side, but like so many classics that have fallen out of style, it can't compete with the legendary Lawsonia Links.