Erin Hills – The US Open comes to the state of Wisconsin for the first time

The stunningly calm rolling track at Erin Hills will play host to Major Championship golf for the first time this week when the US Open rolls into town.

It is the second US Open in three years to be held on a course hosting the event for the first time, following Chambers Bay in 2015 where Jordan Spieth was victorious.

Erin Hills has only been open since 2006 but has welcomed the US Amateur Championship in 2011.

When the course’s owner Bob Lang was tasked with drawing up a list of golf architects to design the championship layout he passed over the big names in the industry and opted for the relatively unheralded trio of Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten.

Lang wanted a golf course that would be open to the public and be tough enough to bring the US Open to the state of Wisconsin for the first time. He bought the former cattle farm and its land, situated in the town of Erin, around 35km from Milwaukee, in 2001. It opened in 2006 and four years later it was announced as a future US Open venue.

Glaciers from prehistoric times had seemingly moved the land in all the right places, leaving behind natural corridors, gentle hollows and conical mounds – perfect for a golf course.

A fleet of bulldozers couldn’t have made a better job of it. Indeed, Erin Hills is the complete opposite of Chambers Bay, where 1.4 million cubic yards of dirt and sand were removed from the site and then returned to sculpt the course.

There are similarities with Oakmont, the site of last year’s US Open where Dustin Johnson became a Major winner, in that the course is inland but looks like a wide-open links course with very few trees.

Built amid quiet farms and country roads, Erin Hills’ topography has a certain rhythm that will almost certainly be a hit with the players.

Now, can you pick a winner?

Course Notes:

At 7,693 yards this year marks the first time since Pebble Beach in 1992 that the US Open will play to a par-72 set up. The actual yardage of the event will change from day to day due to tee box positions. The ‘black tee’ option on the course’s scorecard logs a 7,800 total yardage, with all four par-5s measuring at least 607 yards. However,  USGA CEO Mike Davis said: “It might be slightly longer than the 7,963 yards on the scorecard but it might also be slightly less. We really don’t figure out exactly what we’re going to do until the day before – or even the day of the event, once we know what the wind conditions and the firmness is going to be.”

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