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
Pete Dye took a pancake flat piece of land and imported enough sand and soil to fill an ocean.
His aim was to create a championship links course reminscent of the famous courses on the west coast of Ireland
The finished product is a topsy turvy journey through an endless dunescape littered with bunkers
It is thought there are over a thousand bunkers on the course, but no one really knows..
The bunkering ranges from deep pot bunkers to wider waste bunkers- some are groomed, some are left to the vagaries of the ever present wind
The overall effect is a little untidy, and decidedly unique
It doesn't look natural to me or particularly like Ireland- I know of nothing else quite like it
Herb Kohler wanted a course that would attract the punters, yet challenge the professionals to the limit
The course has up to seven tee options, and off the championship tees is it one of the hardest courses in professional golf- yet it is still playable for the punter off the appropriate tee
But players at any level are constantly challenged
Dye is a strategic designer and perhaps the most challenging aspect is that the greens often lie at an awkward angle to the approach
I have encountered this on other Dye courses- where the approach angles just don't quite look right to my eye
And if you are not quite comfortable it is harder to play a quality shot
I think this is one of Dye's trademarks...
Having said that, I really enjoyed the challenge of playing The Straits course
Notable holes include:
- hole 3 (O'man), a par 3 with Lake Michigan left
- hole 4 (Glory), a strong par 4 with Lake left- the hardest hole on the course
- hole 7 (Shipwreck), a long par 3, all carry to a angled green with lake right
- hole 8 (On The Rocks), another long par 4 along the cliifs with water right- thi hole is home to 102 bunkers! (see pic mid page)
- hole 12 (Pop Up), a shorter par 3 with lake right
- hole 17 (Pinched Nerve), a real championship finishing hole par 3 with water and bunkers everywhere (see pic mid page)
The Straits course is unique.
It is also spectacular
It should be on every golfers bucket list
We rate it a Travelling Golfer must play!
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