If the PGA is anything like the two Opens, the course will overshadow the champion, and with good reason…a) the courses have been fantastic and b) the champions are a bunch of boring poofters from Not America.
I kid, I kid…
Anyways…the Irish Course is a real treat. Designed by the venerable Pete Dye, Whistling Straits is a fantastic layout, an Irish links doppleganger that’s perched right on the edge of Lake Michigan. Trouble? Oh, there’s trouble. How does 500 bunkers and numerous forced carries and overgrown rough and water on half the holes sound as far as trouble’s concerned?
7,201 yards of undulation, running fairways and wind is going to make for a fucking awesome weekend here in Wisconsin. This is not a test for the bomber and gouger (though it’s kind of funny that Vijay won here when he was at the height of his bomb’n’gouging) as there is trouble on every par 5. Every par 5 has a stream or some kind of water or hazard facing both the layup shot or a gambling chance at the green. Precision is the name of Whistling Straits’ game, and if you want to survive on the par 5’s, you can’t get lazy if you’re not going for the green.
The par 3’s are varied and well designed. No. 6 is a short, 160ish yard hole that’s completely surrounded by sand, No. 11 has two bunkers left of the green with 9 foot walls as well as a sheep pen behind it and No. 13 has one of the largest greens you’ll see that’ll lead to a 3-putt if you fuck up your tee shot. The longest of the three is a shade over 200 yards, proving once again that course designers don’t need 230+ yard par 3’s to challenge the best of the best.
Pete Dye knows his golf courses. From Kiawah to Sawgrass to Teeth of the Dog to Harbour Town, Dye has made a variety of courses in a variety of climes and is a master at almost all of the trades that comes with making a truly great golf course. Whistling Straits’ Irish Course might be his crown jewel as it’s not a tricked up show pony like Sawgrass or a brutish warhorse like Kiawah, rather, a pure test of golf that ranks right up there with anything Scotland or Ireland has to offer, only with an American flair.
Enjoy the vistas, the design and most importantly the golf. Whistling Straits is awesome.