Most American golf courses attempting to add a whiff of the UK to their property cite a signature piece of terrain; “dunes,” “highlands,” and “heathland” are popular. The town of Saukville opted for another quintessentially British term in its title, albeit not one typically associated with golf: “The Bog.”
Arnold Palmer was in no way trying to create a faux links experience at this public-access course, however. He happily worked the native marshland into his route as both a hazard and as pleasant scenery. Those comfortable coming off the tee will enjoy many heroic carries, stretching up to 200 yards before you reach the fairway from the back tees.
Those traveling north from Milwaukee to play Whistling Straits or Blackwolf Run may find a much-needed warm up at The Bog, which sits in-between the city and the Kohler Resort. Although not quite baring its teeth quite like those major hosts, Palmer stretches this course to more than 7,200 yards, and the back tees provide more than just extra distance on several holes; occasionally, they provide tougher angles against fairway bunkers as well.
The Bog is one of my favorite Wisconsin courses. It's fun, challenging, has a great natural setting, and a lot of variety among the wholes.
The course is built on the edge of the Cedarburg Bog (hence the name). The front nine starts out (a bit annoyingly) with a blind tee shot as you make your way to the bog itself, which comes into play on the right side of holes 3-5. You get a feeling of really being out in nature--in the middle of nowhere--on these holes. Despite the name, The Bog is not a flat swamp. There are some dramatic elevation changes and a number of forced carries over gorges, starting with holes 6 and 7. Eight is a tough par three with a long forced carry over swamp land. Nine is one of the course's best holes, sweeping you back down toward the clubhouse.
The back nine has, I think, the most interesting holes on the course. 10 is another blind tee shot, followed by a short part three 11. Twelve is a fun hole with another semi-blind tee shot that plunges you down and to the right toward a very tight green separated from the fairway by a narrow creek. Thirteen and fourteen are I think the best holes on the course. Thirteen is a gorgeous par three--the highest point on the course--which forces you to hit over a deep ravine to a generous green. 14 is a crazy but short par 5 with some major risk-reward choices, starting way on top near the 13 green and going back down to a narrow valley before climbing another hill to a very broad fairway.
For me at least, holes 15-17 are the weakest on the course ranging from simply dull (15 and 16) to stupidly difficult (17). Eighteen is a great finisher, starting from a very elevated green with a great view.
The Bog is again a fun course and has always been in great shape when I have played. It has a spectacular practice area and great facilities in general. If you are on your way to Kohler or just in Milwaukee visiting, give the Bog a try and I'm sure you'll enjoy this great Arnold Palmer course (the best Palmer design I think I've ever played).