Wednesday 22 September 2021 5:10 pm

Whistling Straits: the Ryder Cup course explained

Whistling Straits will host the 43rd Ryder Cup this weekend, a year later than planned due to the pandemic. It’s the first time the course, in Wisconsin, has hosted the tournament.

Where is it?

Whistling Straits resort in Haven, Wisconsin, was established in 1998 after plans for a nuclear power plant on the site, an abandoned airfield, were defeated. 

Flanked by Lake Michigan to the east, the community of Sheboygan to the south and a flat, open landscape to the north and west, the Pete Dye-designed, par 71 flagship Straits Course is designed to replicate British links courses with open, windy terrain. 

The resort has already hosted the US PGA Championship three times, in 2004, 2010 and 2015, without seeing an American winner. It also hosted the 2007 US Senior Open.

Who owns it?

Whistling Straits is owned by Kohler Company, one of the largest privately operated firms in the US. Founded in 1873 as an iron and steel manufacturer, it has since become better known for its plumbing products.

The Wisconsin company also owns and operates golf courses, including Whistling Straits, and operates the Old Course Hotel at St Andrews.

In 2018, Kohler became a sponsor of Manchester United and their logo features on the club’s shirt sleeves. The company’s executive chairman, Herbert Kohler Jr, is estimated to be worth £6.5bn.

Key three?

3 – O’Man: Par 3, 181 yards

The opening par three of the course is all about accuracy and nerve. The green here is large, which could lull players into a false sense of security. With deep bunkers and the lake to the left, mounds and rough to the right, on this hole you need to beat the wind before you even think about beating your opponent.

4 – Glory: Par 4, 489 yards

The second par four of the day is arguably the toughest on the front nine; its long, awkwardly shaped fairway leaves little room for error. Flanked by bunkers, the Great Lake and rough, the fairway contracts to just 20 years at its bottleneck. 

16 – Endless Bite: Par 5, 552 yards

Though this is the shortest of three par fives on the course, the 16th is a key hole as you head towards the clubhouse – and one players should be parring, at worst. Again, Lake Michigan runs down the left and the wind will come into play, so hitting the fairway is paramount. A wayward shot here could be the start of a Whistling Straits Sunday shocker.

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