Geneva National ups ante in deep Lake Geneva golf scene

Geneva National's 54-hole complex nestles up to Lake Como, just west of Lake Geneva.

Geneva National’s 54-hole complex nestles up to Lake Como, just west of Lake Geneva.

It’s a shame Wisconsin doesn’t have a longer golf season. It certainly has a long list of options for golfers.

With Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run hosting PGAs, Ryder Cups and U.S. Opens, the Kohler area is the unquestioned No. 1 destination. But Madison and the Wisconsin Dells areas both have a wealth of quality layouts. The Lawsonia tandem in Green Lake is renowned. And Milwaukee golf, anchored by 2017 U.S. Open site Erin Hills and longtime PGA stop Brown Deer, is no slouch. The list could go on and on.

For serious recreational golfers and travelers looking for a variety of golf courses and amenities, though, the Lake Geneva area ought to be an awfully tempting place to tee it up for a weekend—or longer. That’s especially true with the changes coming at Geneva National, a complex of three (Palmer, Trevino, Player) worthy courses.

Initially oriented toward property owners when it opened in 1991, Geneva National continues to make itself more tempting to families, golf-buddy trips, business meetings—even weddings—with new lodging improvements.

A resort that has received a fistful of accolades from publications such as Golfweek, Golf and Golf Digest is not resting on those laurels. The 146-room Interlaken Resort, which is just across Lake Como from the golf-course clubhouse, has been acquired, renovated and renamed Geneva Ridge.

Geneva National's Player course does not lack for sand.

Geneva National’s Player course does not lack for sand.

The new Geneva National Resort also has added the Inns of Geneva National, a collection of 36 condo-style guest rooms near the Gary Player course that would be ideal for a serious golf trip. A 6,000-square-foot putting green will open this spring at the Inns, where guests will be offered a variety of other benefits.

The three Geneva National layouts provide an excellent mix of tree-lined, bunker-laden challenges, accented by some beautiful holes that track down and run alongside Lake Como.

Paloma Management, which owns and operates Geneva National, also has taken over management of the Cove of Lake Geneva, a 222-unit condominium resort in downtown Lake Geneva. When this is added to a mix that includes the Hunt Club Steakhouse, idyllically set on the Player course, and some dramatic improvements to the former Interlaken property, Geneva National seems ready to embark on a new era in its golf and tourism life.

Lake Geneva’s golf and lodging opportunities hardly stop there, though. East of downtown Lake Geneva, the sprawling and venerable Grand Geneva Resort, which debuted at a Playboy Club in 1968, is an enticing golf destination that regularly garners golf & travel awards.

No. 18 at Grand Geneva's Brute is glistening brute.

No. 18 at Grand Geneva’s Brute is a glistening brute.

Grand Geneva has two golf courses, the Brute and the Highlands, that complement one another well. The Brute is simply a Midwestern classic, like an old-fashioned country club layout. Meanwhile, the Highlands might be more demanding. A Nicklaus-Pete Dye design when it originally opened, it has undergone a couple of renovations.

The resort itself does not lack for amenities. A spa, three-chair ski area, an indoor water park/lodge and conference center keep the property bustling. Between Grand Geneva and Geneva National, that’s five fun and challenging layouts, if you’re keeping score at home.

Oak Grove, across the Illinois stateline south of Grand Geneva, has a back-to-nature feel.

Oak Grove, across the Illinois stateline south of Grand Geneva, has a back-to-nature feel.

But the Lake Geneva area’s golf potential doesn’t stop there. Hawk’s View, just north of town, is a beautiful modern layout that takes advantage of gorgeous rolling terrain. Nestled on the south end of Lake Geneva, Abbey Springs provides a snug shotmaking test, and has a variety of stay-and-play package options, notably with the Abbey Resort, yet another of the area’s upscale inns.

Among the other Lake Geneva area courses that should not be overlooked is Oak Grove, a 20-minute drive south of downtown Lake Geneva, just across the state line in Harvard, Illinois. With all of those choices available, it’s no wonder that Geneva National is upping the ante by expanding and upgrading what was already an attractive 54-hole golf resorts experience.

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