The Golf Courses at Lawsonia (Links Course)
Wisconsin, United States of America

7th hole, 160 yards; With a box car allegedly buried beneath the elevated green, Lawsonia’s most famous hole is truly a well defended Short hole.

This tee ball hit a few feet short of the 7th green’s front edge before rolling down fifteen feet to the mound’s base.

Having seen the ball roll down to the base, another golfer in the group hit an extra club, only to find the five foot deep grassy hollow to the left of the green. From there, a four was a good score as the green slopes away from left to right.

8th hole, 340 yards; Much improved thanks to a recent tree removal program, the golfer is now tempted to drive toward the 8th flag, which is visible from the tee. All that does is put the golfer in the fescue rough with a miserable lie/angle across a moat bunker to the green. The trees that were down the right made the hole easier as they steered the golferalong the correct line from the tee, which is to say straightahead.

The golfer on the 8th tee needs to resist going directly at the green as nothing good will happen.

10th hole, 240 yards; After playing the inspiring front, the golfer might be excused for thinking that the back is bound to be a let down but the tenth dispells that notion.

This bunker 60 yards short of the 10th green makes the golfer want to cheat to the left and as a result…

…the seven foot deep left greenside bunker gets plenty of play.

13th hole, 570 yards; With the natural tilt in the fairway fromright to left, the golfercan play well wide of the staggered diagonal bunkersin theleft of the fairway (to land in them makes reaching the green in three problematic given their tall grass faces). Often into the wind, the golfer really has to bust his second to get past a gully and be on the upslope of the same hill where the green sits. Otherwise, his approach is blind. All in all, a unique hole.

The first task at the 13th is to pass these diagonal bunkers on the right.

When played into the prevailing wind, the third shot into the 13th is often blind from the base of a gully which runs 90 to 120 yards shy of the hilltop green.

14th hole, 155 yards; After transitioning into the evergreens while playing the approach into the 13th green, the one shot 14th stays within the same forest, which gives this one shotter an altogether different feel from the other four par threes. Like the 14th at Pine Valley, these mature trees didn’t exist when the architects were there and if anything, they comfort the golfer into making a better swing, in part at least because the effects of the wind are diminished. Old pictures of the stark 14th green complex are more terrifying but few will deny that today’s hole is visually beautiful.

The inviting one shot 14th – where the architects got the dirt to build up this green is a mystery but where there is a built-up Langford & Moreau green, there is generally a deep bunker. In this case, it’s diagonally across the right of the green.

16th yards, 445 yards; Played up a broad slope, this lengthy hole could feel like a long slog. However, it doesn’t as the golfer never sees more than 170-200 yards up the fairway, first because of a pair of cross bunkers off the tee and then a dominant bunker that juts into the fairway from the right 60 yards shy of the 16th green.

The view from the 16th tee. As with the cross bunkers at the 2nd, the golfer learns to use the grass faces for alignment off the tee, with the ideal line in this case being over the right edge of the left mound.

If the golfer is gummed up off the tee, getting past this bunker 60 yards shy of the 16th green can prove a challenge.

17th hole, 385 yards; Not set over one of themore interesting parts of the property, Langford & Moreau nonetheless created a hole of genuine merit. Their ability to create something from nothing helps make their designs of such high standard.

The pushed up 17th green creates an exacting target, especially when the wind is about.

No easy recovery from the greenside bunkers at the 17th.

18th hole, 505 yards; One of the author’s favorite Home holes in golf, any number of swings of fortune can occur, from an eagle to a triple. As with every tee shot at Lawsonia save for the 5th, the golfer is encouraged to make a big, positive swing off the tee as there is plenty of width in the hitting area. As with almost every Golden Age architect, Langford & Moreau defend par up toward the green and each shot gets progressively trickier.

A draw from 240 yards out that avoids the bunker in the foreground and…

…stays right of these two pits left of the green makes for a thrilling finish.

From a 1930 article that MacWood found written in The National Greenkeeper:

The Lawsonia Country Club at Green Lake, Wisconsin dedicated its new $250,000 golf course on May 30 with a tournament….The eighteen-hole course was laid out in 1928 and completed in the spring of 1929, but it was not played on last year. Langford & Moreau of Chicago, noted golf architects, who have built many of the outstanding courses in this country, designed the Lawsonia course, which is of championship caliber and a real test of golf. The new Lawsonia course is of the most part on high and rolling ground, although in places the high terrain dips into secluded woodland nooks, where the forestation program of the late Victor Lawson, whose country estate Lawsonia was before it became a country club, has come to rich fruition. Thus there was given to the golf architect a perfect combination of open highland and wooded valley to develop into a course, which is not only exacting but an ever present interesting natural beauty. Many delightful views of Green Lake and the other waters of the surrounding countryside are offered to the player as well as glimpses of the club house and gardens of Lawsonia.

The discontinued yardage book modestly notes that the Links Course ‘has reserved a spot on lists of the nation’s top 100 public golf courses.’ Don’t be fooled by that – this course is far and away more engaging to play than most public, private or resort courses.

The End