The PGA Championship will be played August 13-16 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. The course was designed by Pete Dye, coined as perhaps one of his most noteworthy projects.
The argument could be made that the Straits at Whistling Straits is country’s greatest championship course. Host of the 2004, 2010 and now 2015 PGA Championship, the course has been host of the U.S. Senior Open in 2007, and will be the future site of the 2020 Ryder Cup. It’s been a busy 20 years for the folks in Kohler, WI.
Founded in 1998, Whistling Straits has two championship courses of world-class prestige and dynamic contrast. The Straits–the site of this week’s PGA Championship–is defined by windswept and rugged terrain, sculpted along two miles of shoreline of Lake Michigan. They call it, “two uninterrupted miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.”
Borrowing Irish links course influences, the Straits has huge sand dune bunkers guarding the fescue fairways and bentgrass greens. The fescue fairways tend to play drier and firmer, as the bentgrass greens fit with most of the greens in the Midwest that need to survive the harsh winter weather.
During the 1950s, the site of Whistling Straits was used by the U.S. Army in antiaircraft training and prior to that it was farmland. The land has had an eventful 60 years! That, along with the fact that Whistling Straits purchased a flock of sheep with the idea of allowing the animals to meander around the property freely like the courses found in the British Isles.
The sand bunkers are made of sand that is native to the region. This region of Wisconsin is rich with sand deposits. Not all of today’s sand is from the property of Whistling Straits, but more sand was brought in from a property only 10 miles away.
These massive bunkers lead to many fans having severe wipeouts during the spectating of the event.
The course has eight holes that hug the shoreline of Lake Michigan, one of North America’s five great lakes. The water of Lake Michigan is visible from each of the 18 holes, a fact the course is sure to make known. There are four stone bridges in all with one on hole 1, 9, 10, 18. There are massive sand dune spots, bluffs and natural fescue fairways.
The greens are made of Bentgrass cultivar, as are the tees. The fairways have three types of fescue cultivars, with the primary rough the same blend of fescue but cut higher. The deepest rough has four blends of fescue.
Both of the prior PGA Championships played at Whistling Straits were won in playoffs. In 2004, Vijay Singh won a playoff over Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco. In 2010, Martin Kaymer won in a playoff over Bubba Watson.