The Bull golf course at Pinehurst Farms in Sheboygan Falls is a Jack Nicklaus layout, the first that the Golden Bear designed in the Badger State. It’s laid out around a residential development where water comes into play a couple of times on each nine.
The club got into financial difficulty and closed in October 2019, owing its primary creditor (the bank) $4.2 million.
“After two cancelled sheriff’s sales and three failed offers The Bull at Pinehurst Farms has new owners,” the Sheboygan Press reported. “John Dunfee and Randy Groth, both of Cedarburg, Wis., purchased The Bull, which includes the only Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course in Wisconsin, for $2.4 million at the end of June 2020.”
The bank maintained the course throughout the bankruptcy and the new owners hope to return the facility back to "shiny and new" as soon as possible.
I really like playing the Bull, but you have to go in knowing that it is both a gorgeous layout and stupidly difficult. Nicklaus designed the course at a time, in the early 2000s, when making the hardest, longest, meanest course possible was all the rage. Well, he succeeded to a fault.
The first three holes start you off nice and easy and are pretty nondescript. The real action starts at the great fourth hole. It's a dogleg left that runs down a ridge that you will want to get close to off the tee. The fifth isI think the prettiest hole on the course--a really tough par four that winds from right to left around the rim of a deep pit. It's a very intimidating tee shot with the pit on one side and a tight tree line on the other, and getting to the green in 2 requires you to again brave the dreaded pit. Six is a nice par three along a ridge that again requires you to cross a pretty deep chasm. Four through six are tough holes, but they are playable and beautiful. Seven and eight are another story.
Seven is a very attractive hole, starting on an elevated tee. It's a short par four and you'll want to lay off the driver. The green is highly elevated as well--sitting atop a ridge covered with think long grass. If you are in front of this ridge in the fairway, you likely can't see the green. Stupidly, the whole green slopes front to back, making it very hard to actually keep your ball on it. Hole eight is a beastly, long par 4 with a fairway split by the Onion River, which also cuts the green off from both sides of the fairway. The left side is quite wide, but makes the hole much longer. The right side is very right between a stream and the main branch of the river itself on the right.
The back nine is where the toughest holes on the course lay waiting. Eleven wraps around a lake, and a brave, long-hitter might try to go for the bit of fairway way out on the left that is near the green from the tee. 15-18 are beautiful but punishing holes, especially sixteen, which requires you hit a near perfect tee shot to have any hope of reaching the green, which by the way lies across yet another deep chasm giving you almost no room for error.
That's the general theme here. If you make a mistake--even just a slightly poor shot, this course will punish you. I'm a very average golfer. I love the layout, hate the stupidly penal side of the course, but really feel great when I play well on any given hole here. Getting a birdie once on 7 was probably as good as I've ever felt about my play on any single hole.
So, if you are an average golfer like me, just go in knowing what you are in for. It's going to frustrate you. You are going to lose golf balls. You are going to probably not shoot your best score. But you will have fun all the same, and it's absolutely one of the best layouts in Wisconsin--certainly a superior course to the Meadow Valleys.