Key Milwaukee

August 2015

An A-Z visitors guide to Milwaukee Wisconsin. Sponsored by Key Magazine Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Page 37 of 63

It's time to head for the Hills…Erin Hills In a couple of years, the US Open will be played there, so now's the time to play it yourself, particularly if you haven't done so recently, be - cause several changes have made it even more enjoyable and challenging. Moreover, there's nothing better than telling your golfing buddies during the tournament that you played there. And it's fun watching the tournament on TV, if you can't make it to the tournament itself, visualizing holes you've played. Erin Hills is breathtaking in more ways than one. Little earth was moved to create this 650-acre gem, so what you see is what was there for eons, minus, of course, the large, undulating bent grass greens and fescue fairways. Very few trees populate the rolling, prairie-like property and the only structures vis - ible, other than course facili- ties, are the towering spires of The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, better known as Holy Hill, a couple miles away. When you stand on the clubhouse or pub patio and look out at the course, all you see are waving fields of golden fescue, sort of like America the Beautiful's amber waves of grain. It's reverential and patriotic at the same time. Erin Hills also is long, es - pecially between holes, and definitely not flat. The glaciers did a real carving job on this piece of land. Even for the scratch golfer, it takes just un- der five hours to play (about 6.5 miles straight-line dis- tance). There are five sets of tees, but it can be stretched to 8,200 yards (probably will be 7,800 yards for the US Open). Moreover, it's walking only. No carts, but plenty of caddies (many of whom are fine golfers who know their stuff) are available. It's tough to put the excite - ment and challenge of play- ing a great course like Erin Hills into words. So I won't try. I will say it has generous fairways, more than 120 ex - tremely penal bunkers (I don't think there's a level lie in any), no water that really comes into play, a few blind shots; a couple of pedestal greens, lots of wind no matter how calm it might be several miles away and great food in the Irish Pub. This place is more a state of mind. And trust me, after the 2017 US Open the world's best golfers may be questioning their state of mind. If this isn't enough to make you want to play Erin Hills (35-40 miles northwest of Milwaukee), when was the last time a Milwaukee-area or Wisconsin course hosted the grand daddy of all golf tournaments? Prior to 2017, NEVER! As a tune up or cool down to Erin Hills, you might want to play nearby Washington County Golf Course. Some would call it a mini-Erin Hills. While Erin Hills is ranked by Golf Digest as the 42nd best course and 8th best public course in the US, Washington County Golf Course is ranked by Golfweek as the country's 24th best mu - nicipal course. Another dynamic duo, I'd say. Heavenly Hills US Open coming in 2017 38 by By Jerry Slaske, KEY Milwaukee Golf Editor Photo by Paul Hundley Photo by Paul Hundley

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