Erin Hills Golf Course

Having been at Erin Hills for the US Open in 2017, it’s hard to describe or fathom how different the course is when playing it versus watching it behind the spectator ropes or on TV. I’ve found it’s also hard for courses to live up to the hype when it has been repeatedly praised in publications and by reviewers far more respected than I. That being said, Erin Hills absolutely lives up to the hype and more.

From when you first check in at the guard shack at the main entrance until you leave the grounds, the service provided is first rate. I felt like everyone on the grounds wanted to ensure that my experience there was the best possible. The caddies were personable and an excellent resource. Not only did they provide good reads on the greens but the yardages they provided for approach shots and aiming lines off the tees were spot on.

Words can’t really describe the course itself. I would call it “challenging fun.” Throughout the round you will be faced with risk/reward shots whether it is lines off the tee, taking on the pin on approach shots, or trying to figure out if you have a decent lie in the deep fescue. The fact that I had to take a few seconds to truly think about what shot I wanted to play and how to play it made Erin Hills the best course I have ever played. The question for me was “Do I play the hero shot and risk double bogey (or worse) or do I play the safe shot and just play for par?” All of that credit can go to the design of the course and the excellent conditioning. I can’t imagine playing that course in US Open conditions. I just hope it gets thrown back into the rotation and the wind decides to blow this time like it did during our rounds.

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Friendly tips: Make sure you play the correct tees and don’t be afraid to move up a tee box if the wind is blowing. 400 yard par 4’s easily turn into playing like they are 450+ when the wind is gusting.

Take advantage of the practice areas. The par 5, 1st hole is no slouch with a somewhat demanding tee shot right from the get-go.

Trust the caddies. Don’t trust your eyes. This goes for aiming points and reads on the greens. The greens are so sneaky good with such subtle breaks that us mere mortals won’t pick up on them the first time around.

Cons of the course: I have to be fair and point out a couple of negatives but this is just nit-picking. Get your legs in shape to walk this course. The elevation changes will get to you if you aren’t prepared. Be ready for a 5 hour round. Erin Hills isn’t exactly a course that you can just fly around in carts. Its a “grinder” course that you have to walk and you’ll have to take some time to find your ball in the deep fescue or take a couple of swings to get out of deep bunkers. The positive about this is that it never felt like a 5 hour round. The entire time, you are just soaking up the views and the challenging golf.

Verdict: I’ve been fortunate enough to play other top 100 courses both public and private in the US. Erin Hills tops them all. The experience of playing there is one that I will never forget. The fact that I want to make Erin Hills a yearly “must play” is perhaps the highest compliment that I can give it. This isn’t just a one and done bucket list course. This is golf as it should be. Golf at Erin Hills is an escape from the norm and something that I’ll now have to measure all other courses against. I can’t recommend this course or this experience enough.

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