Dubuque River Road Golf Courses

In July 2010 we had a chance to visit and play three golf courses in the Dubuque, Iowa area: Bunker Hill, Lacoma, & The Meadows. My goal is to play all of the 18 hole public golf courses along the Upper Mississippi Great River Road from Fulton, Illinois to Taylor Falls, Minnesota.

Bunker Hill Golf Club

We found the Bunker Hill Golf Course within the Dubuque city limits off Grandview Avenue up on the hill. It is a municipal golf course with good maintenance and quite reasonable prices, including a senior rate. It cost me $27.25 to play 18 holes with a cart (weekday rate). It’s a scenic course, largely open except for a few more heavily wooded holes, and quite playable. Low handicap golfers will find the course too short and thus not challenging enough, but I enjoyed the opportunity to reach the greens in regulation more often!

Lacoma Golf Club

Lacoma Golf Course Red Nine

The next day, Friday July 2nd, we traveled across the river to East Dubuque to play the Lacoma Golf Course. A huge golfing facility. One 18 hole course, two 9 holes courses, and a 9 hole Par 3 course. We played the 9 hole Red Course and the 9 hole Gold Course. The Red was Lacoma’s first course. It is similar to Bunker Hill’s layout. Open fairways, semi-wooded, and shorter than average length even from the back tees. However the greens were a little trickier; I had a few three putts. The Gold Course was a quite different experience. It was longer by 250 yards, but the more significant differences are narrower fairways, more heavily wooded, and dramatic terrain changes. Several scenic vistas. Some of the holes reminded me of Marquette’s Greywalls Course – teeing off a hundred feet above the fairway with woods below and on both sides, then once in the fairway the green is a hundred feet above you. No flat greens either and the pin placement wasn’t kind to a putt that went wide. But for all the challenges I’d say the Gold Course was fair and playable (if you don’t mind losing a few golf balls :-)). The only downside of my Lacoma experience was I strained or pulled something in my pelvis. I popped 4 Ibuprofen’s and another pain pill I had with me so I was able to finish the round. Later it was evident the pain and discomfort were getting worse and we decided better pack up and head for home.

Later on another trip, I had a chance to play the Blue Course at Lacoma Golf Club, which is across the river from Dubuque in East Dubuque, IL. It is a mature, scenic tree lined course with some degree of elevation change. The rough under the trees was mowed so balls hit outside of the fairway were fairly easy to find. Only a few holes had woods so thick and tight to fairway that an errant ball was “goodbye.” The greens were in good condition and easy to read. Overall the course was quite playable and a decent value for your golfing dollar. Reminded me of the Portage Lake Golf Course in Houghton, Michigan.

The Meadows Golf Course

The Meadows Golf Course Dubuque Iowa

The next day on this second trip, I got in another golfing fix this time golfing The Meadows a course in the Dubuque western suburb of Asbury. Not very many trees in this course since not too many years ago it was a field of corn and grains. But the rolling hills and course landscaping presented an attractive picture. Every hole on the course had a unique visual character to it. The fairways were close cut bent grass giving you the feeling of playing on a carpet. Every time I took a divot I felt I was committing a misdemeanor. While the fairways always had elevation changes, a few water and sand trap hazards, and many with doglegs left or right or left and right, the challenge at The Meadows is the greens. All of them are elevated so a ball rolling off the edge of the frog hair would end up rolling several feet downhill into the longer grass. The greens themselves were often domed and had undulations with pin placements to challenge your ability to read the terrain. Combined with fast greens the challenge to your putting skills was enthusiastic! Result. I had many more 3 putts than I can recall having in recent outings. Despite the 3 putts and fairly good shots rolling off the green into the steep long grass I enjoyed the outing. A very good quality course with a reasonable green and cart fee structure. Thus an excellent golfing value. Oh and the club house was decent – had one of our favorite beers – Michelob Amber Bock – on tap.

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