Updated June 2023 Golf’s handicap system is the great equalizer in the game, but when…
Minnesota and Wisconsin have long shared a contentious border thanks to pro football and the close proximity of the Twin Cities. But in golf, it becomes an advantageous border, as so many great golf courses are a close drive for Wisconsinites or those out-of-staters visiting nearby Wisconsin Lake Country. No matter where you are near the Wisconsin border – north, south, or central – you can find a top-drawer course to your liking easily within driving distance. If you have time to venture further west into the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, there are plenty more, but here’s a quick list of top Minnesota golf courses close to Wisconsin that won’t take a big bite out of your gasoline budget.
Prestwick Golf Club – Woodbury
Located just 12.5 miles from downtown Hudson, Wisc., Prestwick is too close not to be on your list of courses near western Wisconsin. With water, woods and huge elevation changes, Prestwick is finely conditioned and holds a challenge for every golfer. Winner of several honors (rated 4.5 stars and Best Place to Play by Golf Digest), Prestwick also has the Osteria restaurant at Prestwick, a great spot to eat and relax after your round.
StoneRidge Golf Club – Stillwater
There is no reason to miss out playing StoneRidge GC – especially because of drive time – since it is only 8.5 miles from downtown Hudson. Rated the top public course in the Twin Cities, StoneRidge was designed by Bobby Weed in classic links style with rolling bentgrass fairways that are framed by native fescue grass. The large undulating greens and rustic bunkering might make you feel as though you are playing across the ocean, but Hole No. 11, the famous Barn Hole, will bring you right back home to Wisconsin.
Black Bear Golf Course – Carleton
If you like to make a little wager when you are on the golf course – or after the round is over – Black Bear is just the spot. Located 27 miles from Superior, Wisc., Black Bear is the place to stay, play and just be outside, as its par 72, championship track winds through the northern Minnesota woods. Had enough of the solitude? Head inside to the casino and you will hear plenty of ringing bells and rolling slot machines—where you win back whatever you lost on the links and more.
The Jewel Golf Club – Lake City
As the crow flies, The Jewel is not far from the Wisconsin border, which down south is in the middle of Lake Pepin, but it is 27 miles from the city of Pepin, Wisc., and well worth the drive. Nestled below the gorgeous Mississippi River Bluffs, The Jewel, designed by Hale Irwin, provides a unique golf experience. The golf course offers plenty of challenge, but the real reward is golfing in the river valley amidst the towering bluffs with the occasional views of wildlife.
It’s a little farther drive to reach the “Minnesota Golf Trilogy,” but these courses are really not to be missed if you are next door in northern Wisconsin. Texas golf architect Jeffrey Brauer fashioned three great courses in the quiet beauty of the northern Minnesota woods. The first, the Legend at Giants Ridge is imminently playable and has one of more photographed holes in the state. The Quarry at Giants Ridge offers a stiffer test and is carved from the rugged remains of an old iron ore quarry. And the third, The Wilderness at Fortune Bay is a quintessential north woods course with beauty and challenge around every turn. Play one or make a weekend of it—and you will be back for more.