Hudson Golf Club – One Wild Ride

By Steve Manthis

With all the courses in the area to choose from, it’s not easy to pick some place new. We’ve all got our regulars, places that we return to often. If you’ll take one golf guy’s suggestion, take a short drive into Wisconsin and play Hudson Golf Club. Measuring 6,049 yards from the white tees and 6,435 from the blues, it’s not a long course by any means. But it’s not the yardage that makes Hudson GC a challenge; it’s the changes in elevation that make the course what it is.

Located just across the border and right off Interstate 94, Hudson GC sits atop the bluffs that welcome you to Wisconsin after you cross the St. Croix River. All golf courses have a slope rating, which measures the difficulty of a course for bogey golfers, between 55 and 155, and an average golf course has a slope rating of 113. Hudson’s white tees have a rating of 127 and it earns every bit of that number. Of its 18 holes, there are only 2 or 3 that don’t have you doing some calculations; I wasn’t a math major in college, but I was dabbling in calculus trying to figure out how many clubs to add or subtract on just about every hole.

The first hole shows you right off the bat what you’re in for. This par five moves a little from left to right, but drops quite a bit (I estimate 50 feet) down to the green. After the relatively flat 2nd hole, the 3rd, an uphill par three, challenges you to hit the right club. I figured it was at least one club more than the yardage. Holes 4 through 6 are all short par fours, but none of them are easy. I suggest using a 3 wood off the tee on all of them – you’ll still have a short iron into the green – as it’s essential to keep the ball in play and away from the water on #5 and#6.

The 8th hole, the number 1 handicap, demands a tee shot to the right side of the fairway as a large cottonwood tree guards the left side of the green. I snuck my approach shot around that tree, but my buddy Danny had no shot at the flag from the left rough. The front nine ends with a tough, long par three. If you can keep it below the hole here, then do it.

The back nine begins and ends with par fives that showcase the view from the clubhouse. Both feature elevated tees and both greens sit atop hills; getting off the tee isn’t too tough, but climbing the hill to both greens will certainly test your mettle. In between these two holes is more of what you’ve come to expect after playing the front nine. Number 12 has a difficult approach shot up an Everest-sized hill, and the short par four 14th is a good birdie opportunity – if you can keep your tee shot (probably a long iron or hybrid) on the left side of the fairway. Hole #16 has a great view from the tee and the 17th hole is another uphill par three.

You’ll definitely get a workout if you were to walk the course. Luckily, there’s a halfway house that you encounter so often that it should be called a sixth-way house. There you can find nourishment to help you get through the round. Danny suggests the Zing Zang Bloody Mary, served with a pickle and a beef stick, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not much of a Bloody Mary fan, but I’ll admit the sides that came with the drink looked pretty good.

With all the changes in elevation and enough little water holes to catch wayward shots, it’s easy to see why the course clocks in at a slope of 127. It’s a fun and unique round of golf, and you really can’t beat the $39 (any time, any day) green fee. Hudson GC is a must play course, and even more so this year. Rumor has it that this might be Hudson GC’s last year. So head to Hudson for a great round of golf; just be sure to bring your distance-measuring device so you can be sure you’ve got the right club in your hand.