Last month I had the opportunity to revisit a course I haven’t played in a really long time: Tuckaway Country Club. Following my first round there in 2013, I remember liking the course but not being wowed. It was a long time ago, though, and a lot has changed since then.
Tuckaway’s done an incredible job over the past five to ten years of creating a niche in the south Milwaukee suburb of Franklin that’s otherwise barren of private club golf. They’ve not only modernized their facilities but also their golf experience, especially since reopening in August, 2019 following a $3 million renovation by Jeffrey Brauer (link to article from ASGCA).
Brauer’s work added extra length (now over 7,200 yards tipped out) and teeing options, replaced aging irrigation systems, drainage and bunkers, added continuous cart paths, practice ranges, expanded their practice green and cut back the overgrowth of tree lines..
One section of the course that stood out to me as really nicely redone is the southeast corner, near the 12th green and 13th tee. The new bridge from the green to tee, as well as the thinning of trees from the pond area was beautifully done. Of course, it also helps that the surrounding homes are so well appointed, especially the backyard adjacent to the tee box – what a dream yard!
All these recent updates have resulted in an awesome member and guest experience. The food is absolutely top-notch; the bar area was bustling on a Wednesday afternoon in May, and later that evening for ladies’ night, yet our round was quick and with good flow at right around four hours.
If there is any private club in the Milwaukee area tailormade for tournament play, it’s Tuckaway.
They’re no strangers to hosting professional events, too, having held the Greater Milwaukee Open annually between 1973-1993.
Their website calls it a PGA Tour caliber course, and I agree. Especially following renovations, TCC can present a massive challenge for elite players with its distance (rare for the Milwaukee area), large elevated greens and dramatic hazards.
The finishing holes, especially, are as challenging as they come. The ninth, for example, is a long par four tipping out at 442 yards. The tee shot is simple enough: Keep it near a wide open fairway or ideally close to the right side for a good look. The approach, though, is likely to be really long and uphill. Everyone in our group hit good tee shots here and no one was closer than 175 out, which played more like 200. Nobody got on in regulation.
The end of the back nine isn’t much easier, finishing with a 220-yard downhill par three and another incredibly challenging, 490-yard par four. Even after my best drive of the day, I was still hitting 5-iron in from over 180 yards with 20-25 feet of uphill elevation. I managed to hit my approach shot pin-high, but still failed to qualify my prox bet after three-putting for bogey on a big left-to-right sweeper. Par on eighteen at Tuckaway is an impressive score.
The front and back nines at Tuckaway are both set up amiably with highly elevated tee shots to wide, treelined fairways, making for early scoring opportunities. From the very first green complex, players get a good sense of the size and undulations of the putting surfaces. Tuckaway’s greens were designed for maximum pinnability, allowing the course to change significantly from day to day.
One of my favorite par threes at Tuckaway is the over-water fifth, which has one of the most heavily contoured greens on the entire course. A middle-right pin location here is as slippery as they come, but it works as the tee shot puts a short iron in players’ hands.
I was really impressed with my return visit to Tuckaway. I thought the conditions were phenomenal (as it was the first time I played it 8-9 years ago), loved the playability and aesthetics of the course following its renovation and was really impressed by the club’s overall ambience.
Tuckaway is the kind of place members must love to hang out around, and it comes as no surprise to me they’re thriving. Their spacious back patio is luxurious and features wide-angled views of the course, the men’s locker room (adjacent to the bar) has a pool table and cards setup (which I hear hosts some big-money games), the pool and tennis/pickleball courts are amenities I wish my home club offered, and their championship golf course should give South Milwaukee area golf enthusiasts everything they can ask for – and they’re eating it up.
Tuckaway is one of the Milwaukee area’s elite private golf clubs.
Location: Franklin, WI
Yardages: V-7218, IV-6699, III-6398
Slope/Rating: V-137/74.7, IV-131/72.2, III-127-70.3