US Open 2017: What can we expect at Erin Hills?
Erin Hills (Erin, Wisconsin)
In June the greatest players from across the globe will head to beautiful Wisconsin for the first time in US Open history.
Erin Hills, which only opened for play in 2006, will be the destination for the second Major tournament of 2017 and players can expect an unrelenting test, which is the norm for US Open Championships.
Erin Hills was built by Wisconsin developer Robert Lang but in 2009 it was bought by Milwaukee businessman Andy Ziegler.
The course was laid out by a trio of designers – Dr Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten – and the Erin Hills official website boasts that the architects adopted a minimalist approach because nature had sculpted the land so well.
The 652 acres of land at Erin Hills was host to icy fingers and streams from the last glacier to cover south central Wisconsin.
The course plays out over a unique and diverse landscape. It is routed over the kettle moraine areas left by glaciers, and is surrounded by wetlands and a river.
The course was designed to play host to the US Open, both in terms of the rigorous challenge sought by organisers, the USGA, and the infrastructure needed to stage such a major event.
As part of Ziegler’s commitment to upgrading the conditioning of the golf course, Erin Hills operates on a walking-only basis.
Players can expect bunkers in abundance, water hazards and thick rough when they tee it up in June.
The four par 3s should offer some relief from the many long par 4s and monster par 5s.
The 18th, 663 yards off the black tees, is a spectacular, yet intimidating, way to end a round.
An undulating fairway, a host of bunkers and thick, long rough on either side are just three of the obstacles players will have to negotiate in order to finish on a high.
Although this is the first time Erin Hills will have hosted the US Open, the course is no stranger to staging big events.
Both the Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship (2008) and the prestigious United States Amateur Championship (2011) have been played in this picturesque part of Wisconsin.