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The Highlands Course at Grand Geneva Resort

A Golf Resort To Dye For

By Brian Weis

The Highlands Course at Grand Geneva was formerly known as the Briar Patch at The Playboy Club. In 1968, Hugh Hefner commissioned Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye to design a Scottish-style course. Over the years, the storied resort changed ownership and names a few times. In 1996, architect Bob Cupp redesigned the course, making it more resort friendly. Most recently, Bob Lohmann completed major renovations on holes 9, 12, and 15. Today, the Highlands course provides an outstanding golf experience, weaving and rolling through the glacier-formed terrain of Southwestern Wisconsin yet transporting golfers to Scotland, without them having to own a passport or "hop the pond."

From the tips, the par 71 course plays to 6660 yards, not long by today's standards. Do not let the scorecard fool you, however, since the course plays longer than the yardage indicates. The Highlands is a tight, shot-makers' course, forcing golfers to think and play strategic golf. Long ball hitters may need to leave the driver in the bag on several holes so that they can safely play to landing areas, avoiding bunkers and other hazards.

Notable Holes

Hole six, the No. 1 handicapper, is appropriately named Devil's Elbow. The sharp dogleg left par 5 is reachable in two if you dare to cut the forest-guarded corner. If you do not have a high power draw off the tee, however, place three shots strategically down the fairway. Accurate wedge play is needed to stick the small green. All told, it's a devil of a hole.

As tough as the sixth is, however, Jason Boaz, PGA Golf Professional, loves the par-4 ninth. When asked why, he sadistically chuckled, "My favorite hole is the one everyone hates. For most, the ninth is the hardest hole on the property. Simply put, it requires two long and perfect shots."

Standing on the tee, I was haunted by Jason's words. I was in shock at the length, since the two back tees measure 461 and 450 yards. While the distance had me doing a double take at the hole sign, the real intimidation set in when I studied the hole. The narrow fairway rolls and snakes and eventually climbs to an elevated green. Jason was not kidding: Two long precise shots are needed for a par. If you card a 5, smile, since the hole is dubbed "bogey's delight."

The Skinny

4 Tees: 6659, 6207, 5675 and 5011 yards
Slope/Rating: 125/71.5
Par 71
Weekend Rate: $130

Stay And Play Packages

The Grand Geneva Resort and Spa offers several stay and play golf packages with world class lodging accommodations. Bargain hunters will love the midweek golf package that includes two free rounds of golf, at either the Brute or Highlands, with a night stay in a deluxe room. Package rates start as low as $199 per couple. View this and other packages.

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa
7036 Grand Geneva Way
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Resort: 800-558-3417
Tee Times: 262-248-2556

Hole By Hole Photo Gallery


Article Tags: The Highlands Course, Grand Geneva Resort and Spa, Briar Patch

Revised: 06/28/2011 - Article Viewed 25,028 Times - View Golf Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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