This Top 100 steal (and late-night silliness) was my favorite course I played in 2022
At GOLF.com, our hobby is also our job. That means, just like you, we spend much of the year teeing it up high, swinging hard and trying to avoid double bogeys. But some courses we stumble upon are simply more memorable than others. Here, in a breakdown of the best public courses our staff played over the past 12 months, are those spots.
ICYMI: Why this rural 9-hole course was my favorite I played in 2022
ICYMI: Why this simple Scottish course was my favorite I played in 2022
ICYMI: In the Vermont mountains, an island-green par-3?! Yep, and damn good pizza, too
We had clubs. We had golf balls. We had a course about a par-5 away. We had about a half-hour of sunlight. We had cold beer. We had a thought.
But let’s back up a sec. We’ll need to do this in parts. The headline is promising you a “favorite course played in 2022,” and we need to deliver the golf. Give us a few paragraphs, and we’ll get back to the frivolity. There’s a point to it, promise.
In a word, the golf at Lawsonia is great. GOLF’s wonderful course raters have deemed it as such — the Links at Lawsonia sit at No. 79 on the list of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S., and an impressive No. 2 (!!) in the rankings of the Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S. (it’s less than $100 with a cart) — and I wanted to see for myself this year. My Milwaukee golf gang — Matt, Matt, Ethan and Todd — were in too. We would play the Links on Wednesday right after the 90-minute drive north; play Tuscumbia Country Club, also in Green Lake, on Thursday, and finish things with another 18 at the Links. [Lawsonia has two 18-hole tracks — the Woodlands is the other — but one of the Matts couldn’t make day one, Todd was in only for the first day, and Ethan, the other Matt and I had no problem with the Links double up. We’re nice. Let’s continue.]
From tee one at the Links, you can spot the appeal. Dogleg right. Longer — 407 from the whites. Green that sits atop a mound. Deep bunker to the right. All of that’s defense, yet, if you hit your golf ball, you can score, and that was the theme throughout. Two and three are also doglegs right, and both play with an old barn in the background. Seven is one of the cooler par-3s you’ll see — the word is, to create the mound that that green is placed atop there, an old boxcar was buried and covered up. Or put another way, you don’t want to miss on the 146-yarder. No. 8’s a short par-4 that I actually enjoyed more than the signature 7 — the tee shot is blind, the green is on another mound, easy birdie is in play and so is easy double. The back nine starts par-3, 5, 3, 5, 3, then ends into a skyline that stretches for miles. Lawsonia is fantastically pretty too.
And delicious. I know my golf somewhat, but I have no doubt on my ability to judge a burger — my dad was a meat cutter for longer than I’ve been alive — and the grill at both the clubhouse and in a shack at the turn was A1. [A quick word on the turn grill: If you want to be noted in this space by me in the future, get yourself one — it speeds up play, and the smell alone on 9 green drives business; win, win. Also the griller on our second go-around at the Links was kind enough to make one of the Matts a double burger; our guy was hungry.]
And that is a nice segue into the “thought” of paragraph one.
We were staying at an four-bedroom AirBNB in Green Lake, and we ate, drank and fire-pitted every night. Wonderful. Lawsonia was about a mile or so away. Tuscumbia was a block. And yeah, we had clubs. We had golf balls. We had a course down the street. We had about a half-hour of sunlight. We had cold beer. We had the thought.
“Bring some beers?”
“Bring some beers!”
And at about 8:15 at night on a late July Thursday, me and some of my best buds chipped balls from crazy angles and lies to one of the Tuscumbia greens. We played music. We drank those beers. We trash-talked. We played until we couldn’t see. [Yes, yes, I know this is technically not nice, but everything was properly repaired, and everything was properly picked up.]
So yeah. You get where I’m going here.
Great golf — really great golf — is more than a course, right? And while I could wax poetic here about friendship and shared experiences and vibes and bratwurst, I can actually describe all that is Lawsonia pretty quickly in that regard.
Damn, it was fun.
And we’ll be back in 2023.