Whistling Straits - Irish Course (Haven, WI)
Pictures & review.Southern Wisconsin is truly defined by one thing when referencing the land: there sure are a lot of farms. Of course, this means there are a lot of fields, red barns, and the typical animals that come with it. A lot of that is due to the land once being covered by glaciers from the last ice age. Their retreat turned completely flat land into a rolling sea of hills, moraines, and valleys. Even so, the two mile stretch of land that Whistling Straits sits on remained fairly flat. So much so that it became a military base from 1949 through 1959 called Camp Haven. It served as an anti-aircraft training facility, complete with airfield and missile silos. After it's closure, the land was basically left to rot. During the time between the Army's withdrawal and it being purchased from Herb Kohler Jr in the early 1980s, it amassed an assortment of 80 waste dumps of rusting cars, refrigerators, tires. Not to mention three spots of toxic material and assorted live rounds the military left behind. So forgotten was this land, that it even became a typical meeting spot for large drug deals between Chicago and northern Wisconsin.
Enter Herb Kohler Jr., CEO of Kohler Company which is just as much a staple of Wisconsin as the farms that surround it. The Kohler Company began producing cast iron and steel implements for area farmers, as well as ornamental iron pieces for the area furniture factories as far back as 1883. By eventually coating a horse trough, the company was able to becoming a world leader in plumbing products. That bath tub gave Kohler the means to pursue other business opportunities, which ultimately was the golf and resort business in the late 70s.
Kohler's first effort at a course was at Blackwolf Run down to road in Kohler, WI. It was completed in 1988, with an additional nine was added in 1989, and eventually a fourth in 1990. This set-up has now become both the River and Meadow Valleys courses, with each course having a portion of the initial 18 holes. After this initial collaboration with Pete Dye, the duo once again joined forces on Kohler's newest purchase along Lake Michigan in the mid 90s.
After cleaning the land of all the waste and illegal activities, Kohler and Dye saw true potential in the location for a Scottish/Irish links look which Kohler loved. Of course, it'd mean a lot of work and dirt to transform things into something truly unique. Non-the-less, the team got to work. Eventually brining in 13,126 truck loads of dirt, equaling 800,000 cubic yards of sand and dirt. The result is truly magic, with the Straits course opening in 1998. The Irish followed close behind, opening in 2000.
The Irish course blends tradition along with bold target golf together. And, while not as prestigious as it's sibling, the only thing that it really lacks are the majestic views of Lake Michigan. Although, while not has aesthetically drastic as the Straits course, it has it's own teeth. There are more than 500 bunkers sprinkled throughout the property, with smaller greens and fairways than it's "big brother". It also has over 2000 trees which were planted throughout the property after it was built up initially. The greens have subtle slopes versus sharp tiers, which can lull you into trouble on the quick greens. In the end, it's a true Dye course through and through, where the player will be penalized for errant shots due to it's forced carries, water hazards, and tight fairways constantly surround by trouble. Kohler was once quoted as referring to toughness of the Irish course as, "A twinkle in the eye with a delightful sense of mischief." Although, the best quote that I found to characterize the course was from Gary D'Amato (Milwaukee Journal Golf writer), who said, "Candy for the golfers eye, a caress for his soul, but beware the potential kiss of death behind every bunker, knob, and knoll."
As with all Kohler courses, the property is top notch. Along with the service you'd expect from one of the top five resort destinations in the world. There's still room on the property for another 18 hole layout, but it's unlikely that anything will be built there as it's a nice cushion against the outside world for this little golf oasis.
Black - 3549/3652/7201 (75.6 rating/146 slope)
Blue - 3308/3442/6750 (73.5 rating/141 slope)
Green - 3079/3287/6366 (mens - 72.0 rating/137 slope; womens - 77.4 rating/142 slope)
White - 2928/3064/5992 (mens - 70.3 rating/133 slope; womens - 75.2 rating/137 slope)
Red - 2535/2574/5109 (mens - 65.6 rating/121 slope; womens - 70.0 rating/126 slope)
#1 - "High Ground" 400/387/369/359/301 (hcp 4; par 4):
#2 - "Giants Leap" 372/360/347/340/309 (hcp 6; par 4):
#3 - "Sleeper" 147/138/128/118/87 (hcp 18; par 3):
#4 - "Sandbanks" 489/443/432/405/336 (hcp 2; par 4):
#5 - "Devil's Elbow" 570/517/501/477/430 (hcp 14; par 5):
#6 - "Mulligan's Watch" 160/149/135/123/97 (hcp 16; par 3):
#7 - "Troll" 372/363/344/339/320 (hcp 12; par 4):
#8 - "Garden Creek" 555/542/501/459/392 (hcp 10; par 5):
#9 - "Last Gaspe" 484/409/322/608/263 (hcp 8; par 4):
#10 - "Shepherd's Post" 398/387/378/361/340 (hcp 5; par 4):
#11 - "Lamb Chop" 208/193/177/169/125 (hcp 15; par 3):
#12 - "Highland Trek" 413/396/373/349/290 (hcp 13; par 4):
#13 - "Blind Man's Bluff" 183/160/152/145/111 (hcp 17; par 3):
#14 - "Tullamore Dew" 564/520/508/469/380 (hcp 11; par 5):
#15 - "Frog Water" 479/459/416/370/335 (hcp 1; par 4):
#16 - "Deep Dye" 474/436/425/383/333 (hcp 3; par 4):
#17 - "Irish Mist" 375/355/335/325/272 (hcp 7; par 4):
#18 - "Black and Tan" 558/536/523/493/388 (hcp 9; par 5):
Extras.. taken from the highest point on the property, out towards the lake over the Straits course #11 and #15):
Post edited by Unknown User on