The American Club
Kohler Co is an American manufacturing company best known for it's plumbing products.
The company was founded by John Michael Kohler in 1873.
In 1900 the company set up the village of Kohler as a model company town for employees, many who came from overseas to work.
Central to the town of Kohler was The American Club which opened in 1918 as a showpiece for the immigrants to live, eat, & learn The American way.
Over time these workers assimilated into society and moved out to their own premises.
By 1978 it was time to repurpose the main building and Kohler refurbished the building extensively for 3 years before reopening it as a luxury accommodation provider.
Hence The American Club was reborn as an elegant resort...
With Herb Kohler now in charge golf was introduced to the resort.
In 1988 Blackwolf Run's River course was the first of four Pete Dye courses to open at The American Club, followed by The Meadow Valleys course in 1990.
Whistling Straits and The Irish followed in 1998 and 2000 respectively. The Baths at Blackwolf Run was added in 2021
Blackwolf Run hosted the U.S. Womens Open in 1998 and 2012, and The Andersen Consulting World Championships from 1995-1997.
The Straits course at Whistling Straits hosted the U.S.A PGA championships in 2004, 2010, and 2017 and The Ryder Cup in 2021
When Meadow Valleys was built Pete Dye added 18 holes to the Blackwolf Run project thus creating the River and Meadow Valleys courses at Blackwolf Run.
But the holes were arranged in such a way that the the new holes became holes 5-13 on the River course and holes 1-9 on the Meadow Valleys course
When tournaments are run at Blackwolf Run the original holes are used as the championship course (1-4, and 14-18 on The River Course and the back nine on Meadow Valleys).
Both courses wind through lush vegetation interacting with the Sheyboygan River at every opportunity.
Despite the impressive scenery, The River Course requires your full attention if you expect to score decently
You need to select the appropriate tee to start with because the course can play quite long and will definitely beat you up.
The approach shots can be testing and the shorter the club in hand the more you can play the course as intended
Pete Dye often plays with the angle of the approach to make them feel a little awkward- playing in from deep is not a good idea!
I think The River course is stronger than Meadow Valleys overall- they both have 'all world' holes, but there are less 'quieter' holes on The River.
I was particularly impressed with the short par 4 ninth hole- it should be called Temptation!. Most of us know we can't quite get there and should play left and safe- but take it on anyway..
And the par 3 thirteenth hole just uses the natural terrain beautifully, with river and trees framing what is one hard green to hit!
Notable holes include:
- hole 4 (Swan Lake), a longish par 3 with lake in play right
- hole 5 (Made in Heaven), a strong par 4 from an elevated tee to a gorgeous valley with river and bunkering dominating the visuals before an uphill approach
- hole 9 (Cathedral Spires)- What a choice! You can see the green on this short par 4 from the tee- do you take on the river and the trees or play safe to the left? (see pic mid page)
- hole 11 (Rise and Fall), a long par 5 with river bordering the right side for the length of the hole
- hole 13 (Tall Timber), a long par 3 with the river very definitely in play and in your head!
- hole 14 (Blind), a short par 4 around Swan Lake with only a sliver of fairway to hit off the tee
- hole 16 (Unter der Linden), another long par 5 with the green edging the river and protected by a large Linden tree
- hole 17 (Snapping Turtle), a strong par 3 with river left throughout the journey
- hole 18 (Dyehard), a very long par 4 finish which bends around a waste bunker all the way to the green
There are four championship courses at The American Club, and you really should play all of them- but if you are pushed for time do not miss The River course.
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