Tucked in the rolling hills of Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine region is where you’ll find Erin Hills, home of the best 24 hours in golf. This gem of a golf destination, one of only six public-access courses to host the prestigious U.S. Open, delivers one of the most enjoyable golf experiences to be found anywhere.
Picture yourself and your golf mates arriving for an afternoon round, then enjoying a pan-seared steak dinner at the Clubhouse, scotch at the Irish Pub, and finishing your day settling bets on the illuminated putting course before getting a great night’s sleep in a cottage that looks plucked straight from Portrush, Ireland. After a hearty Irish breakfast in the morning, you hit the links again on a course ranked the #9 public course by Golf Digest and a Top 25 Buddies’ Trip by Golf Magazine. It’s an experience like no other.
Located 35 miles northwest of downtown Milwaukee and 110 miles from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Erin Hills occupies a stunning swath of rolling land left by the collision of receding lobes of the Green Bay and Lake Michigan glaciers 10,000 years ago. On this glacier-scraped terrain, the holes of his championship test seem to have emerged naturally from the landscape. Erin Hills' mix of traditional and modern elements leaves many golfers feeling that they’ve never played anywhere like it.
Course architects Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry, and Ron Whitten took a minimalist and sustainable approach to design that respects the course’s place in this incredible location. They needed to move only a few shovels of dirt to reveal the rare landscape that can test the game’s best in a major championship but is playable for golfers of every level.
The 2017 U.S. Open introduced Erin Hills to the greater golf world, but the destination’s renown has only grown in the ensuing years. Never settling for anything less than a spectacular experience for the public golfer, they have continued to add layers of excellence. They carved five holes from the existing course to create the Kettle Loop, a fun late-afternoon option for extending your golf day. They added the lit-for-night-play Drumlin putting course and a Toptracer Range to their extensive practice facility. And they opened up the Caddie Barn for overnight guests to enjoy after the caddies have left for the day. Here you can hang where the caddies hang, enjoy drinks, ping pong, shuffleboard, and darts, and admire the golf memorabilia gracing the walls.
Staying overnight makes for the best possible experience. With only 37 beds for lodging, there are no crowds. You can opt for the rustic appeal of The Lodge (If you can score a course-facing room, grab it!) or the luxurious charm of the comfortable four-bedroom, four-bath cottages (absolutely perfect for buddy trips). Either way, you’ll discover that while the lodging and amenities are upscale, each is unique. In fact, nothing is cookie-cutter here in any way. Even the chocolate chip cookies are made from scratch.
Naturally, accommodations and tee times fill up fast, especially with the U.S. Women’s Open Championship arriving in 2025. Now is the time to think about securing your trip in 2024. To get first dibs on preferred tee times and rooms (and preview a major championship course), you need to book a year in advance. Their preferred booking method is still the old-fashioned phone call to reservations (866-772-4769), where the highly trained staff will help you with tee times and lodging. (But it doesn’t hurt to scroll their website at erinhills.com to get the lay of the land before you call.) They won’t announce 2024 rates and Stay & Plays until this fall, but you’ll be tempting fate to wait until then.
Head to the Lodge’s patio to take in the epic sunsets (the colors are amazing!). Once the sun drops below the horizon, pop down to the Drumlin Putting Course to settle the day’s bets on the illuminated, one-of-a-kind putting surface under the Wisconsin night sky.