Luxury on the Links

World-class golf, decadent dining, spas and more


Windswept and rugged, set along two miles of Lake Michgan shoreline, Whistling Straits’ flagship Straits Course holds a revered spot on many golfers’ bucket lists. It’s the second-best public course in the country, according to Golf Digest, and one of four championship courses at Kohler. Whistling Straits, which also includes the dunes- and streams-infused Irish Course, has hosted the PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open and Palmer Cup. Inspired by the dramatic seaside courses of Ireland and the United Kingdom, it’s as beautiful to see as it is challenging to play. After a game, recap the memorable eighteen holes over a drink in the stone and wood Irish Barn.


While technically a cabin, Sandhill is the opposite of roughing it. Just-opened in early 2012 and set on 350 acres of prairie and forest, the luxe cabin is made of wood reclaimed from six different Wisconsin barns and topped with a red metal roof. Wide-plank wood floors, a tufted-leather sofa and a stone fireplace lend an earthy atmosphere in the open living and dining area, while the kitchen is outfitted with stainless steel appliances, a gas range and hanging pots and pans. (You can order groceries and have the fridge stocked before you arrive.) A wooden staircase leads upstairs to a cozy sleeping loft with a king-size bed, while the lower level features a two-bed suite. Outside, hop on a bike and traverse six miles of trails, or take a seat on the wraparound porch or the nearby fire pit and enjoy the scenic surroundings.


A perk of staying at Sandhill is complimentary access to River Wildlife, Kohler’s private recreational club and five-hundred-acre wilderness preserve. Whatever your preferred outdoors activity—from hiking, horseback riding and birding to canoeing, kayaking and fishing to trapshooting, hunting and archery— you’ll find it here on five miles of the Sheboygan River and eighteen miles of wooded trails. After your adventure, enjoy a hearty lunch at the Lodge Restaurant, set in a rustic log cabin on the property.


Today the American Club is one of the most celebrated hotels in the Midwest, but back in 1918 it housed immigrant employees of the Kohler bath products company. The hotel’s venerable Immigrant Restaurant is a testament to that history, with six intimate dining rooms decorated in the styles of Wisconsin’s early European settlers. Contemporary cuisine and a wine list boasting nearly five hundred bottles set the scene for a leisurely paced, multi-course dining experience. For an especially romantic meal, request a table tucked in one of the alcoves of the Holland Room or in the Normandy Room, where all of the restaurant’s red wine is stored.


Whether you come after or instead of playing golf, you won’t regret spending time at the Kohler Waters Spa. Try the Complete Harmony, featuring a hydro-therapy exfoliation, a soak in a jetted tub, facial massage and full-body moisturizing. Couples treatments are also offered, as is a wide range of services for golfers, from pre- and post-round massages to a pedicure. No matter the treatment you choose, don’t miss wading in the indoor pool and lounging on the rooftop deck.

Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine.

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