The Ozaukee Golf Club was the first course in Wisconsin to merit certification from the Audubon Society for its service as a preservation for wildlife. For that preservation, however, the club is proud of its evolution from the time of its original open, links-like design from Langford and Moreau, stating that it now has evolved and grown into a mature, traditional-style course.”
The property is bordered on its west end by the Milwaukee River, which provides a pleasant distraction for players late in a round. Water with more strategic consideration comes into place at Nos. 15 and 16, however: The former is a very reachable par five for those playing from the tips (just a hair under 500 yards), with an angled moat cutting across the fairway about 80 yards out, and bunkers pinching everything else on the way in. Laying up will certainly be a tempting option, even after a good drive.
There won’t be a lay-up option for those playing the next hole, an 190-yard par three that requires a carry across a pond to a green surrounded by large sand hazards.
A parkland style layout in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee, Ozaukee is a more subtle Langford & Moreau creation in terms of severity of the green complexes and surrounding areas than others I’ve played such as Lawsonia Links or Harrison Hills. The routing is great – very few holes are aligned the same direction, and the gently rolling terrain is used extremely well with a few interesting blind shots and green locations. The green complexes are probably not as large as they were originally built, but still varied in size with ample contouring. It’s not a large property as far as golf courses go, so with only three par fives and five par threes, it plays only to a par of 70. The outward nine sits on the higher portion of the property and features more frequent elevation changes and open holes, while the back nine plays into the flatter Milwaukee River valley and is longer and more narrow (which means it can be prone to flooding).
Memorable holes include: #2, a short dogleg left par five with a semi-blind second shot over a gentle rise, #7, a medium length uphill par four with a massive elevated green, #8, a massive par four over a creek and uphill to a green tightly guarded by trees, #12, a long, sweeping dowhill dogleg left par four that features a smallish green tucked in a valley, #14, a semi-blind par three to the largest and one of the most contoured greens on the course, and #18, a very long, narrow, and uphill par four to finish the round.
I’ve played this course several times with a good friend who is a member and look forward to playing it again someday – hopefully in firm conditions, as I’ve been unlucky enough to play it when wet each time previously. That said, the condition is top notch and the walkability of the layout is a superb feature. The fact that this excellent course doesn’t rank higher in Wisconsin speaks to the quality of golf in this state; it’s one of the best (and definitely the most underrated) regions for golf in the entire United States.
Played June 8, 2003, May 29, 2004, November 2, 2010, & October 20, 2013