Erin Hills Golf Resort, Wisconsin
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 8,000 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.
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.