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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Breezy Point

Fairways & Greens
August 17, 2017

Lake Wissota Golf & Events - Just A Chippewa Putt Away
E. Nolan

There is a unique golf course 90 minutes east of St. Paul, in Chippewa Falls, with EIGHTEEN island greens. I'll give you a minute to clean up the coffee you just spit across the room. Before you start Snap-Facing your Insta-Twit friends allow me to explain. Lake Wissota Golf Course is completely surrounded by water. The entire course is basically an island, which is where I liberally stole the notion of eighteen/island/greens from. But... in all fairness... I had to get your undivided attention, because I want you to go to LakeWissotaGolf.com and take a look at the next course you're going to add to your area "bucket list."

I love playing golf on the water - Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, Whistling Straits - and when there's water all around you, the course just gets that much more beautiful. And typically more difficult. Which is why I love Lake Wissota Golf Course. And was surprised I hadn't heard about it until a couple years ago. All the extra aquatic interruptions at Lake Wissota - the rivers, ponds, lake and streams - don't add to the challenge. They are the challenge. If you can hit accurate shots for eighteen consecutive holes you'll score rather well here. There are no tricks. Just treats. Elevation changes exist but they are super-subtle and (more often than not) mostly found on the greens. There is nothing to block the gorgeous lake views but trees and a few houses. The drama is more peripheral and ever-present than it is random and distracting. You can get used to this course quickly - easily play it every day. Maybe even take it for granted. But you shouldn't. We take far too much for granted in this life.

Like the overall beauty of the Chippewa Valley. Tourists tend to rush through Wisconsin to get to Door County or the Apostle Islands. Don't be one of "those people." Slow down. Especially passing through the central part of the state. Stop by Carson Park in Eau Claire to get your picture taken with Hank Aaron. (Dang it, I did it again.) Get your picture taken with Hammering Hank's statue. Or spend an afternoon sampling the splendor-ful flavors at the historic Jacob Leinenkugel Brewery in Chippewa Falls. (The tour with beer and a souvenir is only $5!) Take time to smell the flowers in Lake Wissota State Park and, above all, if you golf, circle this city on the map. The Internet makes imagining the beauty unnecessary, but we all know, no matter how many words a picture is worth, the greatest of photographs never tell it all.

The former 9-hole Elks Country Club, now the 18-hole Lake Wissota Golf Course, is four fast hours of fun. Don Stepanik's Par 71 championship course, with a full driving range and practice facility, kicks off from the Augusta-style Clubhouse and provides a level playing field for all ages and skill levels. The high value (at a low altitude) becomes even more valuable on Dollar Tuesdays and even Fridays (in July), when Unlimited Fridays bring everyone in from all over (golf, cart and a range bucket) for the sweet-steal-deal of $39.75.

Given its luxurious lake proximity, Lake Wissota Golf & Events is equally popular for weddings, and an assortment of other signature experiences. With a Lakeview Ballroom that can house up to 300 guests and a versatile property (and staff) to meet your occasional and memorable needs, it only makes sense to consider the bountiful benefits of bringing your big party here. Schedule a tour and let their phenomenal event planners reveal what makes the once-a-year, or once-in-a-lifetime, dates at Lake Wissota a little more permanently etched in the hearts and minds of all.

Lake Wissota is on the radar for my next cross-Wisconsin drive, if for no other reason than to take more pictures and post them online for everyone to see. The course deserves a broader audience!

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