View from the 5th on the River Course at Blackwolf Run
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4.8
17 Reviews (17)
5 Stars
14
4 Stars
3
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.8
Value
4.2
Layout
4.8
Friendliness
5.0
Pace
4.0
Amenities
4.6
100.0%
Recommend this course
17 out of 17 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.5
2 Reviews (2)
5 Stars
1
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.5
Value
4.0
Layout
4.5
Pace
3.5
Amenities
4.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
2 out of 2 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.7
3 Reviews (3)
5 Stars
2
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.7
Value
4.5
Layout
4.7
Pace
4.0
Amenities
4.3
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
3 out of 3 reviews
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About

Holes 18
Type Resort
Par 72
Length 7404 yards
Slope 151
Rating 76.2

Course Details

Year Built 1990
Fairways Bluegrass
Greens Bent Grass
Golf Season Open: 4/01 Closed: 11/01
Architect Pete Dye (1990)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes
Clubs Yes
Pull-carts Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Caddies Yes
Golf School Academy Yes - Kohler Golf Academy
Teaching Pro Yes
Pitching/Chipping Area Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted VISA, MasterCard, Amex, Discover Welcomed
Metal Spikes Allowed No
Walking Allowed Yes
Dress code Appropriate golf attire includes a collared shirt and no jeans.

Food & Beverage

Restaurant

Available Facilities

Banquet Facilities, Spa

Accolades

Reviews

4.8
17 Reviews (17)

What Golfers Are Saying

The 19th Hole is Great For:
Drinks 6
Course Challenges Include:
Forced Carries 6
Water Hazards 6
This course/club is great for:
A Bucket list/Top 100 Pick 6
Wildlife/ Scenic Views 6

Numbers based on reviews tagged with attribute.

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Recommended
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Played On
Reviews 234
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Used cart

Fun but extremely punishing golf

The recent evolution of golf course design - especially at high-profile resorts - has somewhat retreated from the "hard is best" philosophy that guided most traveling golfers' choices of venue in the latter half of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st. The River Course at Blackwolf Run epitomizes that philosophy. Demanding from the opening tee shot to the final approach, it is Pete Dye at his most diabolical. It also offers great forest and river scenery to help pick you up off the canvas, especially holes like the short par-4 9th and the famous par-3 13th, which plays over a bend in the Sheboygan River.

My favorite holes, though, are the nine that the River Course uses from Blackwolf Run's original 18: the opening four and the final five. The short par-4 14th is exceptional in its strategic demands and the par-5 16th, with a tree complicating both the layup and the approach, help the course finish strong.

Overall, I found myself feeling a bit beat up by the River Course. Which is definitely fun sometimes, and definitely to be expected when playing golf at Kohler. Just prepare yourself for battle and you'll have a good time.

Conditions Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 14
I Recommend This Course
5.0

Blackwolf run River is a really fun course that is completely opposite of the straits. This course has a lot of water and rivers, trees, and narrow tee shots. The course feels like a southern course with a lot of trees and rivers. Definitely take a cart because it would be difficult to walk. I did not get to spend much time in the clubhouse but it looked cool and the pro shop had better selections than the straits one. Greens were faster than straits because of the wind. My favorite holes were 1,2,3,8,9

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

The River: A Dream 18

Introduction
The River course at Blackwolf Run is my absolute favorite of every golf course I've ever played. The extremely demanding course layout, the visually pleasing aspects of the course, and other challenges that are brought forth on this track are the driving factors to what makes this course stand above any other. I shot an 80 from the blue tees when I played this course during the summer of 2019 when it was in peak condition. The experience definitely met the high standards I had set for this course prior to my round. I have played both courses at Whistling Straits and the Meadow Valleys at Blackwolf Run, but The River has such a unique look and feel to it that it easily stands as my favorite of the four Kohler courses.

The Course
The River course at Blackwolf Run favors lower handicappers and highly skilled players, as it demands precise shotmaking on just about every hole. The River tips out at over 7,400 yards with a course rating of 76.2 from the black tees, which obviously makes this course that much more difficult. The extremely penalizing layout of this course commands that you keep the ball in play, especially with your approach shots. Not a single hole on The River will show you mercy from a poorly struck shot, as there are hazards all throughout the course. Each and every hole features some combination of bunkers, fescue, gorges, trees, ravines, and water. The undulating greens make for difficult putts no matter where you are, and also very challenging up-and-downs when missing a green. The River's unique aspects make it such a beautiful course that is also very fun to play despite its difficulty.

My Favorite Holes (Most Fun)

Hole 3: A fairly long par 4 that will likely play as one of the most difficult holes on the course. Your tee shot must stay left of the huge bunker guarding the majority of the right side of the hole. The approach plays slightly downhill and leaves little room for error in any direction, as you will find bushes/fescue surrounding much of the green along with the big bunker short-right. Par is never a bad score here.

Hole 4: A very intimidating par 3 especially for it being a lengthy one. Water tightly guards the right side for the entire length of this hole, including the right side of the green. From the black tees, the tee shot is a 219 yard forced carry all the way over the beautiful, yet, treacherous pond. The only bailout on this hole is missing the green a little bit short or left. Any tee shot that ends up playable here should be considered just fine.

Hole 5: The fifth is by far the most majestic hole on the course, which is why this hole's name is "Made in Heaven". It is also the last of a difficult three hole stretch. The tee shot is a fun one that plays from a very elevated tee box hidden in the trees at the top of the hill. Bunkers and the Sheboygan River guard both sides of this hole requiring you to hit a fairly straight ball off the tee. The approach plays back up the hill to a somewhat flat green (for Pete Dye's standards). A miss short or right on your second shot will lead you to an almost guaranteed bogey or worse, as you will be chipping from an awkward area at the bottom of a hill to a green that is way above your head.

Hole 9: A unique short par 4 that presents a few options off the tee. The conventional way to play this strategic hole is to aim left towards the main part of the fairway and hid a wedge over the bunkers for your approach. To take a more aggressive line off the tee (which is far too difficult for it to be worth it) aim right of the trees towards the small strip of fairway just short right of the green. This will present you with just a short pitch shot for your approach. Although, this play requires you to thread the needle between the trees on the left and the river on the right, and also demands about 300 yards of carry.

Hole 11: A long par 5 that begins another difficult stretch of holes. The tee shot provides you with a fairly wide fairway and generous landing area. For the rest of the hole, the Sheboygan River runs the entire length of the right side up against the fairway and green. This hole plays downhill bending to the right while wrapping around the river, making the option of going for the green in two a fading fantasy. Layup shots are also required to carry a piece of the river in order to set up a shorter wedge for your third shot. This is probably the most difficult par 5 on the course, and often times isn't looked at as a birdie hole.

Hole 12: A long par 4 that is extremely difficult for all 486 yards of it. The more relaxing tee shot is played out to the right, avoiding the huge pond left and the small bunker in the middle of the fairway. If you are eager to have a shorter and easier look on your second shot, take dead aim over the pond which requires a long and straight tee shot to avoid the trees left, bunker right, and water short. Your work is not done after the tee shot though, as the approach is also demanding with bunkers left and long. Also, any miss to the right of the green is no good as your ball will find fescue or the Sheboygan River. Par is always a well deserved score on this punishing par 4.

Hole 13: A very long intimidating par 3 that forces you to carry the length of the river all the way to the green. The river is also tucked up against the right side of the green and the bunkers left are more than willing to catch any pulled tee shot. This par 3 is by far the most difficult on the course, and is easily in contention for the most difficult par 3 I've ever seen. Playing at a brutal 231 yards from the tips, this hole will test the nerves of any golfer no matter how skilled they are.

Hole 14: A fairly short par 4 that is much easier than it looks. The tee shot looks intimidating, as the big pond guards the entire right side of this slight right to left hole, but carrying the water on your tee shot shouldn't be as difficult as it looks. The approach will be some sort of wedge even if you take less than driver off the tee. When in doubt, favor the left side on your tee shot and approach shot.

Hole 18: An awesome finish to one of the greatest rounds of golf you will ever play. This monster par 4 bends slightly to the left and plays 510 yards from the black tees, making it a great finish coming down the stretch. A huge 500 yard long bunker runs along the entire length of the left side of this hole, which means you should probably favor the right side. The green also slopes left towards the river, which proves that every aspect of this final hole is challenging. A great view from below of Blackwolf Run's beautiful clubhouse welcomes you back as you close out your round.

Final Thoughts
The River at Blackwolf Run is an absolute beauty, and anyone who ever has the chance to play here should make the most of it. This course is a 10/10. From Pete Dye's amazing architecture, to the views presented in front of you throughout the round, this course is the real deal of real deals.

-Mack George

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
Incentivized Review
5.0
Previously Played

Kohler Rocks

Beautiful course. Would play it every day if I could

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 11
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Hard, but so cool

Making the trip to Kohler, this course is an absolute must.

We played the tips and it was arguably the most challenging course I have ever played next to Pound Ridge (another Pete Dye in Pound Ridge, NY). A ton of forced carries over water, elevated greens and well positioned bunkers.

We partied till 3am the night prior and teed off at 7.30am - would not suggest doing that. Get your rest before this course or it will eat you up.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 18
Handicap 15-19
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Nice course, but not worth the high green fee

Buddy and I took a Wisconsin golf trip and played River, Sand Valley, Mammoth Dunes and University Ridge. The River is a pretty course, but was our least favorite and $250 to $300 would be a more on-target green fee. Definitely not worth the $500 we paid. We also used a forecaddy who was not very knowledgeable about the greens, etc. and turned out to be a waste of money.

Conditions Good
Value Fair
Layout Good
Friendliness Average
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 123
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Texas Advisor
Top 50 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Blackwolf Run - River

This was our final round of our Wisconsin adventure, following Erin Hills, both courses at Whistling Straits, and Meadow Valleys. This course was right at home in that lofty company. In some ways, it may have been my favorite.

As with all of those courses, the facilities were superb and welcoming. The restaurant was good. The staff was friendly. There was even a nice shower so that we could all clean up before heading to the airport. My only criticism is about the constant marshalling about pace of play even though we weren't really out of position and the group behind us was even further behind. I get it's important to keep things moving, but it's a tough course and a bad hole can kill you. Not a huge issue.

This course is pretty similar to Meadow Valleys, but a little more dramatic. More split fairways, more forced carries, and (as you might expect) more water.

Knowing where to place your tee shot is a key skill on this course. You need to be in position to have a chance of hitting good approaches. Hole 8 is a really cool drive through a chute that then leaves you with a tough call on how much to challenge the green on your second shot, but if you hit a bad drive it's a lot tougher. #11 is similarly beguiling in that a misplaced tee shot will force you into a longer third than you'd expect or want. Hole 12 is a highlight both for the tee shot and the second shot.

My least favorite hole on the course is #13. Much like #17 on Meadow Valley, the tee shot is obstructed by a huge tree. Being a long par 3, with the river to the right, it's a lot to ask to hit a 4i over that tree or to expect someone to start a draw over the water and let it come back. I did not care for the hole.

However, 14-18 is one of the strongest stretches of holes in the Destination Kohler package. I'd nearly put it up there with 14-18 on the Straits course. You get some good scoring opportunities on 14, 15, and 16 and then some tough closers in 17 and 18.

This is a super course, well worth the praise it receives. The conditions are ideal, with greens that are speedy, but true. Get yourself to Wisconsin and check it out.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 262
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Birmingham Advisor
Top 10 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

The River course was the most enjoyable course of the four Straits/Blackwolf offerings in my opinion.

The absence of knee high rough beyond the first cut this early in the playing season no doubt relegates this track less toothy than it can be. But I found the course to be extremely playable provided you find the fairway off the tee.

The course isn’t very long from the green tees, but this is offset by the quirkiness that lie in many of the holes. The first example is the par-5 eighth that offers a terrific risk/reward option off the elevated tee, followed by a split fairway. Another, the short par-4 ninth is one of my favorite holes at the resort.

This is a course that I would not tire of playing. I can’t say the same about the Straits, although it is a superior test of golf.

I would summarize my Straits/Blackwolf experience as this:

Most playable course: River
Toughest course: Straits
Most fun course: back nine of the Meadow Valleys
For whatever reason, other than a great collection of par 3s, the Irish was the least memorable course in the rotation for me.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 15
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Challenging but still had fun

Again, played as part of Dye-abolical package.

Greens were very tough but immaculate. Had to be very creative in some spots. The forecaddie was great and had lots of knowledge to help you save strokes. No layups. But lots of fun. :)

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 38
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Arizona Advisor
Top 1000 Contributor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

One of the truly great Dye Designs... EVER

The River Course at Blackwolf Run. Man, that's a heck of a moniker - and this course lives up to every word. The holes are named: Burial Mounds; Made in Heaven (which is); Cathedral Spires and Unter Der Linden are but a few. Great golf courses have seemingly unforgettable golf holes that indelibly etch themselves into one's mind after they've been played. The River Course legitimately has 5 or 6 such holes. And every aspect of the experience (The American Club or Inn at Woodlake), the food, the staff, the surrounding Kohler/Sheboygan area has a similar effect. While there will always be Pinehurst, Pebble Beach, Bandon Dunes, Streamsong and others, a trip to Wisconsin and a sampling of the symphony that is Herb Kohler and Pete Dye's Ode to the Love of Golf should be on your bucket list

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 89
Handicap 5-9
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 250 Contributor
Chicago Milwaukee Advisor
First Time Playing

Wow is all I can say about The River course

The river is fantastic. Definitely deserving of one of the top 20 courses in the country. With so many holes cut along the sheboygan river it makes for great sites on 3/4th of the holes. The front side plays a bit tougher as it is a par 37. The back is no slouch, it may be a par 35 but wit par 3 like #10 and # 14 where you have to fly the ball over the river and around trees it is nowhere near easy. The finishing hole is awesome with the giant club house in the back. Had lunch after which was delicious with terrific service. This is a place you must visit.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 10-14
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Excellent weather
Used cart

A Great Track

With no disrespect to the Straits, the River is the best course at the American Club. The reason I say this is because it is a much more playable and fair course. And while the Sheboygan River is no Lake Michigan, it still offers scenic views throughout the course, especially on the tee box of Hole 5, arguably Kohler's signature hole. The first two holes (opening par 5 and a short par 4) allow you to get off to a good start, but then the challenge begins. Other great holes include Holes 4 (beautiful par 3), 8 (reachable par 5), 9 (par 4 with plenty of options), 11 (long par 5 along the river), 13 (long, difficult par 3 on the river), and 14 (short par 4). And the closing three hole stretch of Holes 16 (long double dogleg downhill par 5 with the green perched on the river), 17 (tough par 3), and 18 (long dogleg left par 4) are among the best in golf. If you find yourself in the Sheboygan area on a golf trip, do not forget to play this outstanding course.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 22
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
Previously Played
Excellent weather
Used cart

Toughest course at The American Club

To my mind - -and my game -- this is the toughest of the 4 courses at The American Club. Brilliant routing through the woods and down into and back out of the river valley. Lots of options off the tee on many holes, including the option of losing your ball in the river, the woods, the rough, etc. Love the 8th, 9th, and 10th holes, as long as you pick the right tees. The 13th--long par 3 over the river and with tall trees between tee and green--is one of the toughest 1-shotters you'll ever play.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Poor weather
Used cart

golf channel am tour

the river course was in excellent condition considering the poor weather, but it is extremely challenging-can't wait to go back and play it again now that I know where NOT to hit it.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 3
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Fair weather
Used cart

Tough in the Wind

The River Course at Blackwolf run is far more challenging and scenic than it's sister course the Meadow Valley course. You could still see some signs of aeration on the fairways and greens but this had no impact on the playability of the course; everything else on the course was in immaculate condition. The day I played it was cool, foggy, and windy and this made the River course a bit of a beast even though the long grass was thinner than it would be later in the season. I would highly recommend playing this course as part of one of the packages, otherwise it is quite expensive.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 375
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 10 Contributor
First Time Playing
Excellent weather
Walked

Like Straits, Blackwolf Run no less impressive

After playing the Straits Course at Whistling Straits, you'd think it would be difficult to be impressed. And it is. But the River Course at Blackwolf Run more than lived up to the challenge. Of course, it's completely different than the Straits, and it actually looks a bit more natural (because it is). The holes around the river valley may be the most scenic, but the course features on imaginative hole after another. I particularly like the options off the tee with bailout areas and more aggressive risk-reward plays. Greens are also outstanding, tricky and fast.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 324
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Good weather
Used cart

My favorite Pete Dye design

I'm tempted to proclaim the River Course as my favorite Pete Dye Course among the dozen-plus of his I've played (and I know Dye also did the Straits course). The setting is surreal, set along a river and playing through gorgeous woodlands and hills. I adore short, drivable par 4s and I think the par-4 9th hole is my favorite: 3 options off the tee and as many pitfalls if you miss your shot. Dye courses leave you nowhere to hide, which sometimes makes me not enjoy them, but he's struck a pretty good balance on the River.

Conditions Excellent
Value Fair
Friendliness Good
Pace Fair
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
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Golf Packages
FROM $617 (USD)
KOHLER, WI | Enjoy 2 nights’ accommodations at The American Club or Inn at Woodlake, and 3 rounds of golf at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits courses.
FROM $557 (USD)
KOHLER, WI | Enjoy 3 nights’ accommodations at The American Club or Inn at Woodlake, and 4 rounds of golf at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits courses.
FROM $597 (USD)
LAKE GENEVA, WI | Discover Lake Geneva’s premier must-visit destination at Geneva National Resort & Club. Located off the wooded slopes and shores of Lake Como, the semi-private Geneva National presents 54 holes of legendary golf designed by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino, along with on-course lodging at the Cottages & Suites at Geneva National.
FROM $327 (USD)
STEVENS POINT, WI | Enjoy 1 nights' accommodation at Holiday Inn Express and 2 rounds of golf at SentryWorld Golf Course.
FROM $167 (USD)
Savor the marvelous destination that is Northern Michigan and enjoy up to 36 holes a day during the long summer days! Our Boyne golf package features exceptional flexibility and selection thanks to two of the state's finest multi-course golf resorts.
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