The 2017 U.S. Open highlighted the roller coaster glacial landforms of this central Wisconsin layout, but as the course was soft and the wind was not blowing, the scores went low, with Brooks Koepka tying the tournament scoring record when all was said and done. With a little wind and some firmness to the greens, Erin Hills is an entirely different animal. The hole corridors are pretty wide and forgiving, and the tall fescue rough is a welcome relief compared to most unmowed areas, as it’s sparse enough to find many a ball that would otherwise be lost, but it’s a tough test nonetheless under those conditions. Even small misses are severely punished by the slopes leading up to many of the greens. The sheer magnitude of the rolling hills on many holes you just have to see to believe; it’s a much more difficult course to walk than you might think.
Memorable holes include: #2, a spectacular short par four with fantastic options: attack off the tee to a blind fairway, or lay up short of the mound and leave a blind approach, #8, a very difficult long par four that plays over not one but two enormous valleys, #9, a testy short downhill par three, #12, a par four that threads the player between two large mounds on both the drive and the approach to the saddle-shaped green, #14, a reachable par five with a massive false front on both the front and right of the green, and #15, a fun short par four that requires precision with every shot from tee to cup. There isn’t a bad hole on the golf course, and with the wind up and a light rain falling over the last few holes, it was definitely a challenge.
We played this course as the first round on a trip to Wisconsin that included later stops at Lawsonia Links; I had expected Erin Hills to be the star of the trip and I’m glad we played it because it really is a great course, but for the money I’d play Lawsonia any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Played July 16, 2015
Date: December 05, 2018