Beginning with last month’s WGC Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club, the PGA Tour will play four Pete Dye-designed golf courses over an eight-week period.
While his work at Destination Kohler isn’t included in this annual homage to his architectural genius, it’s no stranger to major championships and media accolades as one of the world’s finest golf collections. Four Dye-designed courses – The River and Meadow Valleys at Blackwolf Run, and The Irish and The Straits at Whistling Straits – place plumbing magnate Herb Kohler’s labor of love in rarified air.
This year is one of milestones for the Wisconsin properties. The American Club, recently selected by Condé Nast Traveler as the No. 1 resort in the Midwest, will celebrate its 100th birthday. Additionally, Blackwolf Run will commence its 30th season of operations since opening in 1988. Whistling Straits, site of the 2020 Ryder Cup, celebrates its 20th birthday this year.
Stretching over two miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline, The Straits course at Whistling Straits features some of golf’s most recognizable vistas.
Ranked No. 4 in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses,” Dye’s time-honored trademark of visual intimidation keeps golfers on their toes. Players will need to bring their A-game to tackle the track that’s seen Vijay Singh, Martin Kaymer and Jason Day crowned PGA Champions and will host the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Just inland of The Straits sits The Irish. By masterfully routing the course through large dunes, Dye sculpted a little piece of Ireland in the Badger State. Hole 13 is named “Blind Man’s Bluff” and features a sunken green obscured by a large dune like the famous “Dell Hole” at Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare. Both memorable and traditional, The Irish proves there is no need to purchase a plane ticket to the Emerald Isle to experience golf in the Old World.
Set in a river basin formed by glacial runoff a short drive from the charming town of Kohler sit The River and The Meadow Valleys courses at Blackwolf Run.
The Meadow Valleys flows along the natural features of the surrounding terrain, winding through pastures and ravines. The par-4 10th is a hole like no other at Blackwolf Run, requiring a daunting tee shot through a narrow alley of trees to successfully approach the smallest green on the course.
Measuring 7,404 yards from the back tees, The River course is characterized by small landing areas, strategic bunkering and large undulating greens. It’s a classic risk-reward Dye design which GOLF Magazine has called “the nation's finest public-access course of modern times."
The par 4s, like the signature short ninth “Cathedral Spires” and its putting surface that slopes hard toward the Sheboygan River, are standouts. The course finishes on a tough par-4 (aptly named “Dyehard”) with a fairway bunker running the entire left side of the hole.
Complementing The American Club, the Inn on Woodlake is a charming three-diamond hotel featuring traditional and unique room types and suites, and incredible showering experiences. In January 2018, the Inn unveiled new multibedroom suites that can accommodate up to eight guests, pairing wonderfully for family or buddies golf trips.
The Golf Kohler package features three 18-hole rounds of golf (including applicable cart and caddie fees) and two nights at The American Club or Inn on Woodlake, plus a 30-minute golf lesson at the Kohler Golf Academy, 20-percent off Kohler Waters Spa services, and more.
Another memorable option is the Dye-Abolical package. In a place where Pete Dye’s imaginative legacy is on full display, guests can stay for three nights at The American Club or Inn on Woodlake while playing all four of his signature designs. Inclusive of cart and caddie fees, unlimited use of practice facilities, a pouch of logoed keepsakes and more, it’s a must for all students of golf course architecture.
Destination Kohler is only one hour north of Milwaukee (MKE), one hour south of Green Bay (GRB), and two hours north of Chicago (ORD or MDW). For more information or reservations, call 866-466-5170 or visit DestinationKohler.com.