Interesting Facts About Erin Hills: Site of 2017 US Open

Erin Hills, located in Erin, Wisconsin 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee will host the 117th US Open Championship.

Size of property: 652 acres

Course: 18 Holes

Course architects: Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry, and Ron Whitten

Date opened: 2006

Owner-Andy Ziegler (2009-present)

Grasses: Tees: Penncross bentgrass, Greens: A-4 bentgrass, Fairways and roughs: Fine fescue

Previous USGA Championships:  2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links (won by Tiffany John • 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship (won by Kelly Kraft)

Black tees: 7800 yards, par 72 Course rating: 77.9 Slope: 145

Recognition: Golf Digest• 42nd among America’s 100 Greatest Courses • 8th among America’s Greatest Public Courses

Acreage of fairways: 39 acres

Putting green sizes: Average: 6,650 square feet Smallest: 3,800 square feet (2nd hole) Largest: 10,900 square feet (7th hole)

Course record: 66 by Ben Geyer and Mike Ignasiak in the stroke-play portion of the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship.

Head Golf Professional: Jim Lombardo

General Chairman of the 2017 U.S. Open: Jim Reinhart

In 2009-2010 Erin Hills cleared 250 trees and changed the course’s par from 73 to 72.

This week, spectators are parking on an open piece of land on the golf course, then being shuttled to the course. Before the land was used for a parking lot, it was home to four houses. Erin Hills did not want any houses on the golf course, so one by one they were purchased and moved off of the property. Through the spring of 2009, the director of golf resided in the last house that remained. In the fall of 2009, new owner Andrew Ziegler decided to move the house and donated it to Habitat for Humanity. All four homes were transported through the driving range, and still are near the golf course.

The caddie barn is, in fact, a barn. Original owner Bob Lang was driving through Iowa when he stumbled upon a random barn. He had to have it, so he bought the building and had it disassembled to be trucked back to Wisconsin.

Erin Hills was a 19-hole golf course until 2008. Between the ninth green and 10th tee was the “Buy Hole.” The short par 3 could be used by members as a challenge hole to settle a wager

If you play Erin Hills straight from the first tee all18 holes and step off the 18th green, you will have walked 8.4 miles.

“It’s not heathland, it’s not parkland, it’s not linksland. It is what it is. It is Erin Hills.” Owner Andy Ziegler

At 7,693 yards it will be the first par 72 set up in the US Open since 1992,(Pebble Beach)

Erin Hills is a public course, with no memberships. You can even rent clubs if you don’t have any with you! Green fees start at $280, and you can hire a caddie for $55 a player, or a fore-caddie for $110 per group.

In 2010, Course owner Ziegler mandated that Erin Hills would become a walking-only course. As a result, the course is not outfitted with paved cart paths. The course also doesn’t offer twilight tee times, as the staff would prefer guests to “experience the entire golf course.”

This is also just the sixth public course to host a U.S. Open championship. Others include Chambers Bay, Bethpage, Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and Torrey Pines.

The sand traps. Nicknamed “erosion bunkers,” the traps at Erin Hills are irregularly shaped, some with wide spots and some with narrow passages just a foot across. The pros will have their hands full navigating everything from shallow, narrow lies to deep, sloping beaches.

The fescue. The rough, by USGA’s game-making standards, is long, deep and impossibly thick.

The Wind. When those Wisconsin gusts get whipping, the pros will have not just a long course but a wind that could raise scores significantly.

Seating: There are 17,000 grandstand seats.

Course conditions: The golf course is set up to play firm and fast. USGA official Mike Davis once called it, “Shinnecock Hills on steroids.”

The course is closed during the winter, and the open season typically runs from around early May through around late October.

Bentgrass is used on the putting greens, which stimp at 12.5 for tournament play. The rough is fescue and the teeing grounds are bentgrass.

There are three water hazards that come into play.

Whistling Straits, is less than 70 miles away.

Kelly Kraft, who won a U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills, says the course doesn’t play as long as its listed yardage because, “The ball can really run and get moving out there.”

No trees are on the course.

Field: 156 players. Cut after 36 holes to 60.

Purse: $12 million

Only once in the last five years has the U.S. Open champion played in the final group.

Television (all times EDT): Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (FS1), 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (FOX); Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (FOX); Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (FOX).

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson

There will be ten miles of fencing and 500 TV’s around the course.

The 18th hole- Par 5, 663 yards.  The round ends with the longest hole on the course.

Despite a rumor spread by many, Erin Hills wasn’t designed specifically to host a U.S. Open. Its original concept was to be a simple, affordable, lay-of-the-land layout, to prove Mother Nature is indeed the best golf architect. The concept changed — some greens moved, one blind par-3 eliminated — as the quest for a U.S. Open grew.

Organizers expect crowds of about 35,000 each day, extending the Open’s streak to 30 years of sellouts.

 

 

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