Share

Pleasant Prairie’s Big Oaks Golf Course

While the golf history of Wisconsin and Illinois often focuses on storied private clubs and championship PGA events, the region is also home to some of the best public courses in the country. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the finest municipal courses — combining affordable greens fees, a fast pace of play, and excellent amenities—is smack dab on the border between the two states. Pleasant Prairie’s Big Oaks Golf Course, with its 27-hole layout and central location on the Wisconsin state line, halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago, is a can’t-miss attraction for golfers across the Midwest and beyond.

Full-Service Facilities 

The winding road that leads on to the Big Oaks property passes lakefront on the right and a full-service practice facility on the left, with a driving range that tops out at 300 yards and features both exposed grass and covered mat hitting areas. Farther on is the red brick clubhouse with a covered patio out front, a fully stocked bar and grill, and a banquet room capable of seating up to 80. The uncovered patio on the east side of the clubhouse can seat still more and looks out on the practice green and the impressive ninth hole of the North Course, which features a difficult carry over water to the green. 

Great Golf in Every Direction 

The 27-hole course is divided into three 9-hole courses: the North Course, East Course, and South Course. Three first-hole tee boxes within 50 yards of the clubhouse mean the starter can always get a foursome going without a wait and the different character of each course produces challenging variations in the span of an 18-hole round.  

The East Course 

The East Course was Pleasant Prairie’s first to be opened and features generous fairways. An excellent course for beginners, it’s also a route that allows experienced players to shoot low, if they can avoid the well-placed fairway bunkers. Like the rolling prairie that surrounds the course, the greens on the East Course slope gently and evenly, making putts straightforward to read and giving up birdie chances even to golfers who miss their spots on approach shots. 

The North Course 

The North Course at Big Oaks Golf Course features some of the most compelling topography on the property. A creek that bisects the length of the second fairway and demands precise shotmaking from the tee and the fairway to reach the par-5 green with a dry ball. The dramatic bluffs and dells of Wisconsin are still farther north and west — a relief for walking golfers who visit Big Oaks. The roll of the countryside around Pleasant Prairie does produce the occasional partially blind fairway, adding challenge and rewarding returning golfers who have learned where to place their drives for extra roll and the best angles onto the greens. 

The South Course 

The South Course, opened in 2001, is the newest addition to Big Oaks Golf Course. It was designed by Dick Nugent, a golf architect responsible for more than 60 courses in the Midwest, including renovations and expansions at famous Medinah No. 3, Exmoor, and Onwentsia. One of America’s best 9-hole designers, Nugent’s South Course has long, tree-lined fairways to challenge big hitters and turtleback greens that demand precise approach shots to hold the putting surface.

Big Oaks Golf Course is open year-round, seven days a week, from sunrise and sunset. Snowy or rainy weather conditions may result in temporary closures, however. Call the Big Oaks Golf Course clubhouse for current conditions and wait times. Book a nearby hotel for a fully relaxing golf getaway with multiple days of play!

More information: