Golf & Travel
Opinions by Bill Hogan
The golf course is well known, having already hosted the
2011 US Amateur Championship, and the upcoming host of the 2017 US Open Championship.
Surrounded by beautiful Wisconsin farm country, Erin Hills is located about 45
minutes’ drive from Milwaukee Airport. It’s also a 1 hour and 20 minute drive
from the American Club at Kohler which would be a great addition to any golf
trip. If you are looking for a tough golf challenge with great old fashioned
American quality, Erin Hills may be your place!
Erin Hills GC is a big
golf course and plays difficult for the average player. Most golfers play the
3rd and 4th sets of tees from 6425-6750 yards, but those still have slopes of
over 131-135. In total there are 7 sets of tees and
the course can stretch from 5889 yards for the forward tees to over 8000 yards. The entire course is fescue grass, with wavy rough framing
the holes so that every tee box appears to have a “signature hole” appearance.
In fact, we found that almost any hole at Erin Hills could be considered the
“signature hole”, because quite frankly there are no weak ones! You can expect
that The USGA will, for at least one day of the 2017 US Open, make it the
longest course in the history of major golf championships. Golfers liken Erin
Hills to Bethpage Black in New York, or Shinnecock GC, with long undulating
fairways, penal fairway bunkers, well protected greens and high rough just off
the fairways. “Hit the ball straight today” is what the course starter states
on the first tee, and it rings true perhaps here more than most other courses.
Having said that, after one round on Erin Hills, you get the feel for the
layout, and the second round and thereafter become much more score-able.
|Erin Hills Lodge|
|Erin Hills GC|
There are no carts, so players are highly encouraged to take a caddie. Rest assured, the caddie program is among the nation’s best and the well qualified “loopers” are all seasoned professionals, some working winters at Augusta and other prestigious sun belt clubs.
The rooms are
beautifully decorated with luxurious, period style antique furniture,
ultra-comfortable beds, large flat screen TV’s, and large well-appointed
bathrooms with powerful rain showers. You can choose from individual rooms and
suites, or opt for a 2, 3 or 4 bedroom suite with a luxurious living area,
kitchenette and card table, among other amenities. The 4 bedroom cottages,
named Ballybunion, Royal Portrush and Royal County Down, are as good as it gets
and are comfortable beyond belief. The Irish Pub is a warm, welcoming place for
post golf cocktails, and the outdoor patio with the gas fire pits are a great
way to enjoy après golf cocktails. The Clubhouse Dining Room is excellent, with
a fantastic chef, high quality food, and a nice wine list. You can even dine
outside on the porch overlooking the golf course, for alfresco style evenings.
A few small breakout rooms are available for a private dinner or meeting,
making Erin Hills a perfect small group venue.
Unlike many “Gold
Medal Golf Resorts” there is no price gouging at Erin Hills, because everything
is fairly priced and yet very high quality. The service personnel are excellent
and they always have a “can I help you” attitude complimented by a genuine,
Midwestern smile. Obviously being in Wisconsin there is not a long golf season,
but guests can reasonably expect to play May through October, with the most
comfortable times being June through September. Not all senior players will
find this course enjoyable, as the walk and golf challenge can be difficult.
Therefore, we highly recommend Erin Hills as a perfect buddy trip for guys and
gals who like to walk and play tough courses.
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