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Door Creek Golf Course in Madison WI - Scenic & Challenging Public Golf

Door Creek Golf Course in Madison WI is one of the top public golf courses in Wisconsin. Learn about the scenic layout, amenities, events, instruction, and more.

Door Creek Golf Course in Madison WI - Scenic & Challenging Public Golf

Table of Contents

An Overview of Door Creek Golf Course

Door Creek Golf Course is an 18-hole public golf course located just outside the city of Madison, Wisconsin. Known for its beautiful scenery and challenging layout, Door Creek has become one of the most popular public courses in the state since opening in 1991.

The course was designed by renowned golf course architects Rick Phelps and Ken Lester, who took advantage of the natural terrain and landscape to create an engaging and scenic course. Spanning over 200 acres, Door Creek meanders through woodlands, wetlands, and prairie grasslands, presenting golfers with a diverse range of holes and memorable visuals.

The Course Layout and Design

Door Creek Golf Course was crafted to take full advantage of the land's natural features. The routing flows seamlessly through marshes, ponds, and native wildflower areas. Strategically placed bunkers and water hazards demand accuracy off the tee. The greens are subtly contoured and run fast due to the fine fescue grass. Together, these elements make for a balanced, strategic, and fun test of golf.

The front nine holes offer more open looks and allow golfers to ease into the round. The back nine tightens up and features more wooded holes, wetlands, and elevation changes to dial up the challenge. Signature holes include the risk-reward 5th hole, the scenic par-3 8th hole, and the tough finishing stretch on holes 15 through 18.

Front Nine Highlights

The front nine at Door Creek starts with a straightforward par 4 and par 5, giving golfers a chance to get warmed up. The 3rd hole is the first par 3, played uphill to an angled green protected by bunkers. The challenges build at the 4th hole, a dogleg left par 4 that demands an accurate tee shot. The 5th hole is one of the course's highlights - this short par 4 plays downhill and turns left, with a pond waiting for longer drives along the right side. It's a thrilling risk-reward hole early in the round.

After the tough 6th and 7th holes, golfers get a chance to catch their breath at the picturesque 8th. This longer par 3 plays across wetlands to an island green, one of the prettiest spots on the course. The front nine finishes with the rolling 9th hole, where placement off the tee is key.

Back Nine Highlights

The back nine at Door Creek starts with one of the course's toughest holes. The 10th is a long, uphill par 4 with a narrow driving zone and a well-bunkered green. The challenge continues at the 11th, a tight driving hole that doglegs right around a marsh. After the scenic par-3 12th, golfers face the tribulations of "Death Valley" - the tough 13th and 14th holes that determine the course's overall difficulty.

The 15th offers a little reprieve as a shorter par 4, but the closing stretch is demanding. Long, accurate drives are required at the 16th and 17th holes, while the 18th is a strong par 5 with bunkers left and a wetland to the right. The small, well-protected green demands an accurate approach to finish the round in style.

Practice Facilities and Amenities

Door Creek Golf Course has extensive practice facilities to help golfers prepare for their round. The driving range has designated target greens and distance markers to practice every type of shot. There is also a short game area to dial in your chipping, pitching, and bunker play.

Before your round, be sure to take advantage of the large putting and chipping green to get your short game ready for the quick, undulating greens. Inside the clubhouse, you'll find a golf shop stocked with equipment and apparel. The River Birch Grill offers sandwiches, snacks, and beverages to enjoy post-round.

Awards and Accolades

Since opening for play in 1991, Door Creek has earned many honors and accolades:

  • Voted #8 Best Public Golf Course in Wisconsin by Golf Digest (2021).
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars from Golf Advisor, with over 275 reviews.
  • Top 50 Standout Public Golf Venues - Golf Range Association of America (2020)
  • Top 5 Public-Access Courses in Wisconsin - Golfweek (2019)

The consistent high rankings are thanks to Door Creek's excellent course conditioning, smooth pace of play, and welcoming staff. The scenic beauty and diverse variety of holes also make it a favorite among visiting golfers.

Tips for Playing Door Creek Golf Course

Door Creek Golf Course offers a fair but demanding test for golfers of all skill levels. Here are some tips to help you score better and fully enjoy your round:

Watch the Water and Avoid the Sand

With its plentiful water hazards, marshlands, and bunkers, Door Creek punishes wayward shots. Be conservative off the tee and favor the side of the fairway that avoids the biggest trouble. When attacking pins, beware of the closely mown collection areas and pot bunkers ready to swallow tee shots.

Manage the Difficult Par 3s

The par 3s at Door Creek are scenic but tricky, especially holes 3, 8, 12, and 17. Make sure you have the right club for the yardage and pin position. Favor the center of the green and avoid the bunkers and water hazards at all costs - getting up-and-down is very tough.

Stay Below the Hole

The greens at Door Creek Golf Course have plenty of subtle movement and slope. Leaving uphill putts results in lots of three-putts. When approaching greens, it's better to land below the hole and work the ball onto the putting surface. This allows for easier putts and more scoring opportunities.

Bring Your "A" Game in Death Valley

The name says it all - holes 13 and 14 make up the toughest stretch at Door Creek. Tight driving zones, hazards, and tough greens require accuracy and course management. Par is a great score here. Keep focused and don't let big numbers ruin your round.

Finish Strong

The closing holes present plenty of scoring chances for those striking the ball well. The short par-4 15th is reachable in two for longer hitters. Stay poised on the finishing par-5 18th - this hole is reachable if you avoid the fairway bunker and lay up smartly. Take advantage of late birdie opportunities.

Scenery and Wildlife at Door Creek

Beyond the fantastic golf course, players will also enjoy gorgeous scenery and diverse wildlife at Door Creek. Each hole offers panoramic views across woodlands, prairies, and wetland environments. Native wildflowers and plants thrive in the maintained native areas between holes.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like sandhill cranes, blue herons, hawks, ducks, geese, songbirds, deer, foxes, and more. The wetlands and neighboring Door Creek provide excellent habitat for these species. It's not uncommon to spot animals while playing a round of golf.

Getting the Most out of Your Round

To make the most out of your round at Door Creek, keep these tips in mind:

  • Book early - as one of the top public courses in Wisconsin, tee times fill up fast during peak season.
  • Take lessons - the pro staff at Door Creek are excellent teachers to help develop your skills.
  • Bring proper attire - collared shirts and soft spikes are required.
  • Rent a cart - the hilly terrain means riding can save your legs over 18 holes.
  • Grab a bite - refuel with delicious offerings at the River Birch Grill.
  • Stay until sunset - the views at dusk are stunning.

With beautiful scenery, great amenities, and exciting golf, Door Creek has something for everyone. It's no wonder Golf Digest calls it one of the "Best Places You Can Play" in Wisconsin.

Planning a Golf Outing at Door Creek

With its engaging course layout, fantastic facilities, and welcoming staff, Door Creek Golf Course is a premier destination for golf events and outings. The course can accommodate groups ranging from a dozen golfers up to 200+ for tournaments and charity fundraisers.

Outing organizers will work directly with the professional staff at Door Creek to handle all the details. The team will arrange everything from helping design a format, organizing contests and comps, handling registration, tallying scores, and providing dining and beverage options. Golf carts, range access, and other amenities are included to make sure your event is seamless.

Door Creek offers a convenient online portal to manage outing details, registration, and payment. The clubhouse and adjoining outdoor space also provide ideal venues for hosting post-golf award ceremonies, drinks receptions, and meal functions.

Beyond the fantastic course, groups will enjoy Door Creek's friendly atmosphere and expertise running events. Outings run smoothly and on-time so participants can simply focus on enjoying their round. With world-class service and amenities, Door Creek is Madison's premier choice for unforgettable golf events.

Annual Golf Events at Door Creek

Door Creek hosts a full calendar of annual golf events open to individual participants and groups. Here are some of the most popular tournaments and outings for 2024:

  • Door Creek Two-Man Best Ball - March 30, 2024. 2-person scramble format.
  • Door Creek Ladies Invitational - June 8, 2024. 18-hole tournament and luncheon.
  • Door Creek Men's Invitational - July 13, 2024. 18-hole tournament with contests and reception.
  • Door Creek Club Championship - August 3-4, 2024. 36-hole stroke play tournament.
  • Door Creek Fall Scramble - October 19, 2024. 4-person scramble format.

These annual favorites book up fast, so interested golfers are encouraged to register early. Door Creek also has dates available for partial or full-course buyouts for new events. Contact the golf shop if you are interested in hosting an outing.

Family-Friendly Golf and Instruction at Door Creek

Door Creek Golf Course offers fantastic amenities and programs to help juniors and families learn and enjoy the game together. Kids get their own tees on several holes, allowing them to learn while keeping pace of play fun for everyone.

The professional staff provides private and group lessons for juniors and beginners of all ages. Summer camps help young players build skills through instruction, games, and on-course play. Equipment fitting and club rentals ensure kids have proper clubs to learn with.

Families will love playing quick 9-hole rounds in the early evenings. Multi-generational groups can take part in weekly family "scrambles" with fun contests to keep the action engaging. With welcoming facilities and an emphasis on fun, Door Creek makes it easy for the whole family to enjoy golf together.

Growing the Game through The First Tee

Door Creek Golf Course partners with The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin to help grow youth involvement in golf. This national non-profit promotes character education and leadership skills through golf instruction and course play. Door Creek hosts First Tee programming and events to make the game accessible.

Young participants learn The First Tee's core values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment. With coaches to mentor them on and off the course, The First Tee helps develop skilled young golfers as well as outstanding leaders and citizens.

Quick Facts About Door Creek Golf Course

  • Year Opened: 1991
  • Course Architects: Rick Phelps, Ken Lester
  • Holes: 18 holes, par 72
  • Yardage: Black Tees - 7,036 yards; Blue Tees - 6,643 yards; White Tees - 6,118 yards; Gold Tees - 5,484 yards; Red Tees - 4,975 yards
  • Slope/Rating: Black - 127/73.5; Blue - 122/70.7; White - 117/68.0; Gold - 111/68.7; Red - 96/67.1
  • Green Fees: Rates vary by day; see website for details.
  • Awards: Top 10 public Wisconsin course (Golf Digest), 4.5/5 stars on Golf Advisor
  • Address: 4330 Libby Road, Madison, WI 53711
  • Website:
  • Phone: (608) 221-0021

Experience the Beauty and Challenge of Door Creek Golf Course

Door Creek Golf Course deserves its reputation as one of the top public plays in Wisconsin. With plentiful water hazards, strategic bunkering, and undulating greens, it tests the shot-making abilities of all golfers. The prairie setting and abundant wildlife create a peaceful backdrop as you take on the diverse course challenges.

From seasoned players to beginners, Door Creek's welcoming staff and amenities make it easy to have an enjoyable round. Families will find plenty of ways to get involved with lessons, junior tees, and fun weekly formats. The course conditions are always pristine, and the River Birch Grill provides tasty food and beverages.

Plan your visit to Door Creek Golf Course for your next memorable round. Tee times fill up quickly, especially on weekends and peak season, so book early to experience one of Wisconsin's premier public golf destinations.


What are the green fees at Door Creek?

Green fees vary based on day of week, time of day, and season. Check the Door Creek website for the most up-to-date rates.

Is a golf cart included with my round?

Yes, golf cart fees are included with paid green fees at Door Creek.

Are tee times required at Door Creek?

Yes, tee times are required and can be booked online up to 5 days in advance.

What types of events does Door Creek host?

Door Creek hosts tournaments, member events, charity fundraisers, corporate golf outings, and more throughout the season.

Is there a driving range available?

Yes, Door Creek has a large driving range with target greens and distance markers to warm up before your round.

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