Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:21 pm
Hawk’s View Golf Club fun, challenging and beautiful
As promised in the first column of the year, I have finally gotten out to review an area golf course. I don’t know if it’s beginner’s luck or what, but I picked a winner right out of the chute.
Hawk’s View Golf Club in Lake Geneva opened for play Memorial Day weekend and will soon become a course of choice for golfers throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Why? Let me count the ways.
First on my list is cost. Hawk’s View has two courses to choose from: a regulation 18-hole course, Como Crossings, and an 18-hole Par 3 course, Barn Hollow. The rates for Barn Hollow are $20 Monday through Friday and $25 on weekends and holidays. The rates for Como Crossings, which includes an electric cart, are $60 Monday – Friday and $65 on weekends and holidays. In addition, frequent-player discounts are available in five-, 10-, 15- and 20-round increments.
The low rates for a first-year course are not unusual to establish its clientele, but Hawk’s View general manager Dave Hills says the rates are part of the regular game plan.
“Our whole philosophy is to bring an affordable golf option to this area,” Hills says. With the space available, two regulation golf courses could have been developed, but owners Dan and Sue Daniels wanted to open up the golf market to as many people as possible, including children, beginners and golfers trying to sneak 18 in before or after work, Hills said.
The location makes Hawk’s View an attractive option as well, although golfers are known to travel great lengths for a good course. It took less than 45 minutes to get to the course from the west side of Milwaukee County, and since the course is just off of State Highway 120 (11 miles south of Interstate 43), and state highways 11 and 36 and U.S. Highway 12 surround it, golfers from every direction will find the course with ease.
The surroundings, including rolling hills and farmlands, wouldn’t be out of place on a postcard. The course itself was built on what was originally farmland, which was later transformed into Mount Fuji Ski Hill, and most recently into a Country and Western bar called the Longhorn Ranch. The Danielses purchased the property along with adjacent parcels totaling 314 acres to develop the two courses.
Architect Craig Schreiner of Kansas City tried to use the land’s natural amenities — prairie grass, trees, Como Creek — in the layout of the courses. I was fortunate to find mostly flat lies during my round, but most of the holes had undulating fairways, and with few exceptions, the fairways are tight and fraught with peril if you miss hit into the rough. (OK, that may be a slight exaggeration; it’s not like there are lions, tigers and bears waiting to devour you if you hit one in the rough.)
The owners wisely decided to put their money in the right places, including a state-of-the art irrigation system, more than 40 miles of drain tile and grass seed and sod that require minimal pesticide and fertilizer use and that are disease resistant. The clubhouse features a nice-sized pro shop, bar, meeting rooms and also features timber taken from the surrounding land while holes were developed. And it has shower facilities — something many public courses skip.
With the exception of the first hole, which was seeded last and has been seeded six times due to the monsoon-like weather this spring, the course was in excellent condition. I have seen mature courses this spring in much worse shape — a testament to the drainage system at Hawk’s View — and there was very little, if any, standing water on or near the course. A few greens had some seed washout, too, but operations manager Richard Duesing assured me the greens would be looking great in a few weeks.
The hole markers, tee markers and most of the signage were made from rocks/boulders taken from the land. Hills said he came up with the idea after talking with a friend in the monument business. The raw rocks were shipped to St. Cloud, Minn. for sawing and sandblasting and the artwork was applied in Watertown.
Here are some of the “hole highlights”from Como Crossings:
No. 2 – Position, position, position! This Par 4 is a dogleg right where I sprayed my tee shot right. Huge oak trees guard both sides of the fairway. Approach shots must carry Como Creek.
No. 4 – Downhill par 4 with a narrow landing area was deceptively long. Approach shots have to carry the creek and land on the left side of the green because everything tends to filter right.
No. 6 – Cool Water. There’s bailout room on the right for the faint of heart, but the most noticeable thing about this Par 3 is the man-made pond guarding the front and left side of the hole. Hole location will be crucial, too, as the green is slanted toward the water. The two forward tees have a straight shot to the green via land (with water on the left), while the back two tees must carry the water.
No. 7 – Big hitters may choose to carry the water, which runs along the left side of this Par 5, and traps are on the right waiting for bail-out shots. The fairway splits near the green, so depending on hole position, you may choose to go right or left on your second shot. The green is surrounded by bunkers and is rather small.
No. 10 – Ouch! This Par 5 is a tough first hole on the back nine (ranked as the No. 1-handicap hole). The back tees have to carry wetlands, and it takes a great second shot to be in position to carry the creek that runs in front of the green.
No. 12 – One of the shorter Par 4s, this hole requires accuracy and nerves of steel. The green sits like a peninsula waiting for you to hit one long. The green feeds to the back right, toward the water, so it’s better to be short than wet.
No. 14 – Solid tee shots land near the man-made waterfall on the left of this Par 5. Placement of the second shot is key as the fairway forks at a gathering of four bunkers in front of the green. The easier of the two routes is up the left side; the right side requires a deft pitch to an undulating green that severely slopes toward you. Watch out for the pot bunker behind the green.
No. 17 – Mount Fuji. The tees for this Par 3 are located on the backside of the former Mount Fuji ski hill with spectacular results. Even if you’re not playing from the black tees, climb to the top tee level and take in the panoramic view of the area, which includes a glimpse of Lake Geneva. Once you’ve soaked in the view, the task at hand will be to drop your tee shot onto a green guarded by several traps. [Note: The electric carts have been modified to slow down after reaching a maximum speed, so you won’t be able to set any speed records descending the hill.]
In the three-and-a-half weeks since Memorial Day, Como Crossings had 1,100 rounds played, and that includes weeks with rains that forced some courses to close. My recommendation would be to get out there now because it will be tough to get a tee time after this year.
Hawk’s View Golf Club, 7377 Krueger Rd., Lake Geneva, 1-877-429-5788, www.hawksviewgolfclub.com.
July 6, 2001 Small Business Times, Milwaukee