Whistling Straits will provide a scintillating test to America and Europe’s elite when they converge in Kohler, Wisconsin, for the delayed 2020 Ryder Cup this September. Chiseled along two miles of rugged Lake Michigan shoreline, the Straits is wide open and windswept and has a reputation for causing havoc off the tee when the wind picks up.
Regardless of the weather conditions, the bookies have America as favorites to reclaim the Ryder Cup from Europe back on home soil, under the stewardship of the popular Steve Stricker. If you agree, you can find a list of online bookmakers here to place a bet. But whatever happens, we can be sure of a late summer of high drama in Wisconsin, played out in front of huge galleries and raucous crowds.
It’s sure to be an electric atmosphere in the galleries, so what can the players expect as they tee off at ‘Outward Bound’ on September 21st? Let’s take a look now with a hole-by-hole guide to Whistling Straits.
1 – Outward Bound (Par 4, 408 yards)
Comprising a gentle dogleg left to kick things off, anything wide to the left is bound for deep bunkers and dunes. On the approach, deep bunkers at the front left and long are to be avoided at all costs.
2 – Cross Country (Par 5, 593 yards)
The shortest of the two par fives on the front nine, long hitters will need to avoid the deep pot bunker, 35 yards short of the green if going for it in two. If playing as a three-shot hole, the third approach plays slightly uphill to a narrow-guarded green that runs off to the right. Will the wind be an issue? Players would do well to learn from how Collin Morikawa dealt with the wind at The Open.
3 – O’Man (Par 3, 181 yards)
With Lake Michigan lapping to the left, the vast undulating green should not be underestimated. Deep bunkers and dunes cause a problem for anything missed to the left.
4 – Glory (Par 4, 493 yards)
There is trouble found both left and right off the tee, and this formidable par four rewards accuracy. The safest approach to the elevated green is undoubtedly right of center.
5 – Snake (Par 5, 598 yards)
With water running both left and right of the slithering, narrow fairway, this will play as a three-shot par five for even the most aggressive players. The thin green provides no room for error, short or left.
6 – Gremlin’s Ear (Par 4, 355 yards)
A driving hole for some, this short dogleg right requires a cut shot off the tee to avoid the perilous deep sand pot bunker that guards the middle half of the green. The slender, undulating green will be a test in itself.
7 – Shipwreck (Par 3, 221 yards)
A picturesque par three with Lake Michigan to the right, the green is framed to the left by large hillside bunkers. To the immediate right is more sand before a vast open expanse of water.
8 – On the rocks (Par 4, 507 yards)
A hole with more than 100 bunkers, you’ll do well to avoid the sand here. Following a blind drive, the water forms a steep backdrop to the green, and anything long on approach will hit a splash or fall into one of the sand traps to the right.
9 – Down and dirty (Par 4, 449 yards)
A tee shot to the left is necessary to avoid a large tree that could block your approach if you’re too far right. To the right of the hump-backed green is Seven Mile Creek and a series of narrow sand bunkers, but anything left will be punished, too.
10 – Voyageur (Par 4, 361 yards)
A drive left over the drop-off on this short par four is the aggressive play off the tee, clinging to the far edge of the fairway. This sets up a wedge to an elevated green replete with many subtle breaks that will prove challenging.
11 – Sand Box (Par 5, 618 yards)
Dunes and bunkers will swallow anything right off the tee here. The second shot must navigate the vast bunker to the left around 100 yards out, giving the hole its name. Any ball that comes up short of the small elevated green will trickle back to where it came from.
12 – Pop up – (Par 3, 143 yards)
Tantalizingly short but devilishly tricky, the sizeable undulating green at 12 is full of surprising breaks. A shot to the center of the green could end up in one of the long deep bunkers to the right.
13 – Cliff Hanger – (Par 4, 404 yards)
While trouble off the tee to the right must be avoided, it pails into insignificance compared to the danger of the approach, with the green sitting on the cliff edge of Lake Michigan.
14 – Widow’s Watch – (Par 4, 373 yards)
A short, challenging dogleg left, cutting the corner here is blocked by a large bunker, and going left leaves a blind second shot to the pin.
15 – Grand Strand (Par 4, 518 yards)
The first of four of the most challenging final holes in Championship golf, raw power is required off the tee, followed by an accurate long-iron approach into a tight green with subtle breaks. Most players stay left to avoid the sunken bunkers that line the fairway to the right.
16 – Endless Bite (Par 5, 569 yards)
The shortest of the par fives will tempt many players to go for it in two – you can bet Bryson DeChambeau will be one of those. A long and straight drive is required, and an uphill approach over dunes often means more conservative players bail to the right, opting for a short wedge into the elevated green.
17 – Pinched Nerve (Par 3, 223 yards)
One of the most recognizable and terrifying par 3s in the world of golf. Anything short and left hits dunes that are 20ft below green level, and anything right will find bunkers on a steep hillside. If you miss long, you’re in the Great Lake.
18 – Dyeabolical (Par 4, 500 yards)
Named after designer Peter Dye, par is always a great score here. An extra club is usually required on the approach to account for swirling winds, and a forced carry over Seven Mile Creek comes into play. If a match is alive down to the last, there are few final holes in the world of golf as testing as Dyeabolical.