The Strongest Links: Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits

Golf is a sport with a fundamental paradox. How can such a peaceful and beautiful natural setting challenge a person to the point of questioning why they took up the sport? This paradox may not manifest itself any more distinctly at Whistling Straits, one of America’s finest courses and the home of the always challenging 2015 PGA Championship and will host the Ryder Cup in 2020.

The course, which hugs two miles of Lake Michigan’s shoreline, is a links masterpiece designed by Pete Dye. And the legendary course designer has used this land to create a masterpiece.

Check your ego and your handicap at the clubhouse. You will need your best game to take on Whistling Straits. Your eyes will deceive you frequently on the course. The third hole, aptly named “O’Man” has one of the larger greens on the front nine. But the adventure is only beginning when your ball reaches the green. Even the gentlest contours on the putting surface can wreck your scorecard.

You best be accurate on the Par 5 fifth hole named Snake. Water on both sides of the fairway can challenge the decision making of even the most confident golfer.

Approach carefully on the 15th, known as Cliff Hanger. Shots to the right of the green, will ride the bluffs down to the Great Lake.

An hour north of Milwaukee, the course is easy to get to. The five-star American Club provides one of the most luxurious stays in the Midwest.

No need to venture far for a quality dining experience. The Whistling Straits restaurant brings Irish and British influences to the menu. The rustic farmhouse with a perfect view of Lake Michigan is a perfect way to spend a pint.

The Kohler Waters Spa is also worth a visit (or two). Ask for the Woodsman Massage to help alleviate muscle pain and improve your flexibility. Sadly, the massage will not give you the skills you need to conquer the course. But trust us, a few bad shots won’t spoil your round on one of the greatest courses in America.

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