Whistling Straits is set on the western edge of Lake Michigan, simply head for Destination Kohler. If you didn’t know the history behind Whistling Straits, you’d believe that the 560-acres of land had been shaped by the hands of time. But you’d be wrong. Whistling Straits was the vision of Herbert V. Kohler, Jnr. who transformed a former airfield into one of the most dramatic courses on the planet. Naturally, Pete Dye and his team of bulldozers were involved. The earth certainly moved here at Whistling Straits.
In 1998, the course opened for play and even Pete Dye felt that building Whistling Straits was a “once in a lifetime thing”. Architects are generally presented with uninspiring land and a tight budget; this was not the case at Destination Kohler. It took a few million dollars and a Herculean effort to build the incredible Straits course, which is sculpted for two miles alongside the Lake Michigan shoreline.
After the 2004 PGA Championship, the field were united in their view that this is one of the best golf courses in the world and it’s surely one of Vijay Singh’s favourites, especially after his play-off win. The PGA Championship returned to Whistling Straits in 2010 and it was Germany’s Martin Kaymer who lifted the title after a play-off win against Bubba Watson, claiming his first major and becoming only the second German major winner after Bernhard Langer. Dustin Johnson should have been the third man in that play-off but incurred a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker.
Jason Day bagged his first major title in 2015 winning the PGA title by three shots from Jordan Speith after carding a record score of 20 under par. We think the Straits course will only get better and by the time it plays host to the Ryder Cup in 2021 it will be considered a modern classic.
With an interesting figure of eight routing for both outward and inward nines, the layout is extremely well-balanced and utilises the natural elements to full effect There are far too many good and interesting holes to mention here. We’ll just close by saying that Whistling Straits is an architectural engineering work of art and it’s and absolute must-play course.
January 10, 2009