"I'm very proud of Glen Erin. It has a simple beauty to it that resonates beyond golf-specific issues. This is a project that again illustrates my commitment to fun, enjoyable golf for a reasonable expense."
-Greg Martin , Golf Course Architect
The course at Glen Erin Golf Club harkens back to the earliest days of golf with a links-style layout inspired by traditional courses in Ireland. Though it opened in 2003, the course pays homage to yesteryear with rolling fairways, oversize greens, and deep pot bunkers. Native fescues ensnare wayward shots that venture outside the first cut of rough, forcin
g players to chop through dense grasses with scythe clubs just to get the ball back onto shorter grass. The back nine is bookended by par-5s on holes 10 and 18, each more than 575 yards in length and unreachable in two strokes for all but the longest hitters or golfers who have wired their golf ball with hummingbird wings.
The golf course rolls through a natural valley, making beautiful rolling uphill and downhill golf holes.
The front nine is a more coastal Irish experience, with an open layout of bunkers and fescue grass lining almost every hole. Wind is always a factor on this nine. The back nine is a more inland Irish style, with holes cut out of the native forestry that covers half of the property. Most greens are three-tiered and vastly bigger than anything in the area, making ball placement with respect to the pin very important.
Glen Erin literally means "Ireland's Valley", reflecting the unique rolling terrain and the prominent vale that runs through the site.
The name is also a tribute to the proud Irish heritage of the Janesville community and an affirmation of the "little bit o Irish" in all of us.
This 6,806 yard golf course has a distinct Old Irish flavor with wide firm undulating fairways, immense greens, pot bunkers, sandy waste areas and native fescues in the outer rough. Prominent stone walls framing the entranceway speak to a simpler time, and an ancient game with a rich history and tradition.
Sitting atop the promontory of a majestic ridge, the clubhouse offers spectacular views of the golf course and the 18th green. Inside, you’ll find an intimate Irish pub atmosphere where golfers eat, relax and even enjoy a pint of Guinness by the fireplace.
We are sand based, so moisture goes right through the course. In the spring the golf course seems to take a few weeks to get going, but we hold our conditions well late in the year. We aerate the course, with little to no interruption to your enjoyment of the course.
Green 72.7/124 Burgundy 68.9/116
Tees: Providence Bent Grass
Fairways: Low mow Bluegrass
Greens: Providence Bent Grass
A Glen Erin primer: Get the lay of the land from us.
Who better to ask how to play Glen Erin than the folks who run the course?
How should the first hole be played?
The first hole is a short, uphill par-4 of just 349 yards from the orange tees. The temptation exists to go for the green, carrying a bunker at the dogleg at about 240 yards off the tee — but this is the only real way to get in trouble. A safe fairway wood or low iron to the right/center of the fairway leaves you with a short iron to the green, and also a good chance to inspect the pin placement on this sloping, three-tiered green. A great way to start out with a quick par or birdie with the right game plan.
What is the best par-5 on the course?
The 18th hole, Faith and Hope, is our premiere Par-5 and one of our signature holes. It’s perfectly designed to separate the winners and the losers of the match as it is 600 yards in total length! The slightly uphill landing area is littered with five bunkers and a ton of native fescue grass to catch any mistake a golfer makes. The second shot is a perfect risk/reward situation. Hit a fairway wood as hard as you can over a tree-lined fairway edge and downhill into a blind area where, you could get to the green. Or you could never find your ball again!
Slightly to the right of this line and about 180 yards is the 150 yard marked perched on a shelf. A conservative shot into this area gives you a perfect view downhill into this massive green. Getting to this green is half the battle, as this is the biggest green on the course and harbors many difficult pin positions.
What is the best Par-3 on the course?
Hole #16, Ballyglen, is the best par-3 on the course. This short, downhill Par 3 is only 155 yards from the Orange tees, but hosts a green that is nearly 40 yards long. The tee is slightly sheltered by the surrounding trees, masking the heavy winds blowing over the tree line ready to affect your tee shot. There is a moment while watching your shot where the ball seems to be suspended in the air, and there is no way to tell if you are short, in good shape, or over the green, down a cliff and into a place where bogey is almost impossible. The green has some of the most subtle breaks of all of the course, constantly tricking golfers that swear it should have gone the other way.
What is the toughest hole on the golf course?
The toughest hole by far is #17, Glen Downs. This difficult Par-4 plays 438 yards and begins downhill into a blind collection area. From there the second shot is straight uphill toward a huge turtleback green that is slightly obscured by the bunkering and trees around it. The pin is almost hard to judge as the flag may just peek over the horizon. Golfers are unable to see if it’s in front or back. That can be the difference of three to four clubs, depending on the wind. A false front and four distinct tiers make putting on this green an additional challenge. Golfers describe conquering this hole as “mentally draining”.
A close second place is hole #12, Temple Gate. This 424 yard Par-4 presents two ways of playing it. A straight shot to a subtle peninsula about 225 yards leaves you a difficult-yet-manageable long iron to an acceptable green through a tree-lined opening. Pulling out the driver will put into play the deep downslope and fairway trench that awaits players that hit it this length.
In addition, this area goosenecks into a collection area no more than 15 yards wide. Although your second shot is shorter, it’s a blind shot with no view of the green. Pick a tree in the horizon, trust your line and length, and hit it! Get ready to run up the hill for a view of your ball, because if your line or length is off, you may never find your ball around the small, bunker and tree lined green area!
What is the most difficult green on the golf course?
The most difficult green on the course is hole #2, Tara. This green is as big as any at Glen Erin. It boasts five distinct tiers, three bunkers narrowing the green in the middle, and an overall elevation change of over 30 feet. A front pin from the Orange tees can play 170 yards, while a back pin can be over 250 yards from the tee! Almost any day at Glen Erin you can hear people talk about their good three-putt on hole number 2!
Any other featured holes I need to know about beforehand?
Hole #15, Ryan’s Wrath, is named after the company that sculpted the 165 acres Glen Erin sits on, Ryan Incorporated. This hole is appropriately named because the total elevation change from tee to the lowest point of the hole is over 75 feet! The window between trees off of the Orange tee for the ball to travel is no wider than 50 feet. Straight is the only option here!
Tree lined all the way through, the second shot is uphill toward an accepting green. The native oak tree just short and left of the green, as well as bunkering long, makes this approach shot test all of your ability.
Hole #5, Blackbush, comes early in the round and can be a make or break hole in your round. The gently sloping dogleg right is 408 yards from the Orange tee. To the naked eye a straight shot to the 150 marker looks like the play. However anything right of the centerline of the fairway will bounce right, off the green into a collection area defined by long rough and fescue grass.
The better play is left/center of the fairway, however there’s a fairway bunker to negotiate. From this position, the second shot should be focused on the center of the green. DO NOT GET GREEDY and chase the pin if it’s on the edge to the right- or front-left. Both of these pins are suckers, as the ball will bounce off the green and off the near bank.
Oh, and by the way, if the pin is back middle, good luck! Being close to this pin in two is impossible, and be ready to make a five footer that turns into a 15 footer if you miss…
Course at a Glance: