Erin Hills update: 2017 U.S. Open site keeps getting better

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Zeihm

ERIN, Wis. – Erin Hills has gotten nothing but better since its opening in 2006. That was clearly evident when the facility on the outskirts of Milwaukee conducted what has become an annual outing leading into its ultimate showing – as the site of the 2017 U.S. Open.

Jim Reinhart, general chairman for the big event, was presented with a good opportunity to compare Erin Hills with a similar facility. Chambers Bay, in Washington, hosted a U.S. Open that wasn’t without controversy a week before Erin opened its doors to about 50 media members from around the Midwest.

Reinhart tried hard to steer clearly of controversy in making comparisons.

“Both courses are in new areas that had never hosted a U.S. Open,” said Reinhart. “Both have incredible community support. Both areas are naturally beautiful, but Chambers Bay was manufactured on a gravel pit while Erin Hills’ architects took advantage of a more natural area. Both have fescue fairways, and both play long. Erin Hills is not a true links-style course. Chambers Bay is much more a links style. We have eight times as many trees – we have eight!” Continue reading

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Let’s Play Two! 36 Holes of Great, Budget Friendly Windy City Golf

By Jim Zuccarelli

One of my favorite golfing pastimes is taking a day off from work in the height of the summer and playing 36 holes at two of the fine courses that populate the Windy City Golf landscape. Following are some of the best combinations of courses that won’t break your budget (under $90 total green fees, including cart) and within a 30 minute drive of one another (as per Google Maps calculation).

You may have to do a little advanced planning to secure the right tee times to get all the holes in before dark, but the courses listed start their discounted pm rates no later than 3 o’clock, which should allow you to finish during the majority of the summer. All the rates are as published or as online tee times on the course websites, so additional savings may be scored with coupons, internet hot deals, senior/junior discounts, etc. So leave your cares and the weekend crowds behind and tee it up at one of the following combo’s that include some of the best layouts the Windy City has to offer: Continue reading

America’s Golf Capital in Michigan? Why not?

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. – Crystal Mountain Resort started as a community ski area in 1956. Golf didn’t come until 1977 when one of the owners, Bob Meyer, designed the first nine holes of what is now the Benzie Valley course.

That course became an 18-holer a year later, and Bill Newcomb, a well-established Midwest course designer from Indiana, started work on the Mountain Ridge course 15 years later . It was also built nine holes at a time, and the 18-hole layout opened in 1994.

It’s understandable that skiing would come first at such Michigan locations. Even now, golf staffers at Crystal Mountain point out that the resort can get 4,000 skiers through in one day compared to only 400 golfers. The numbers speak for themselves.

There’s no snow on the ski slopes, but Crystal Mountain’s golf operation is in full swing.

There’s no snow on the ski slopes, but Crystal Mountain’s golf operation is in full swing.

Continue reading

Michigan’s Homestead could be ‘Most Beautiful’ for visiting golfers

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

GLEN ARBOR, Mich. – The Homestead is located in the heart of Michigan’s best golf areas, but it’s difficult to consider it a golf destination. There’s so many more attractions there, most notably Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In 2011 ABC’s Good Morning America labeled that area “the Most Beautiful Place in America.”

It’d be pretty hard for a golf destination to compete with “America’s Most Beautiful Place,” wouldn’t you agree?

The Homestead welcome sign doesn’t even focus on golf. Instead, it proclaims itself as “America’s Freshwater Resort.”

Still, there’s good reasons to link The Homestead with golf. The facility has a 19-year history with the sport, dating to the creation of a nine-hole 1,200-yard par-3 course called Mountain Flowers. Bob Kuras, The Homestead’s owners, was one of its designers. Continue reading

Next Tom Doak course is unique; it’ll play in two directions

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

ROSCOMMON, Mich. – The idea is at least intriguing. Tom Doak has designed a golf course that will have 18 greens and fairways but will play in two directions.

The No. 18 green will always be the No. 18 green, but one day you play around to that green from a clock-wise direction, and the next day you do it in a counter-clockwise direction. Michigan’s respected Forest Dunes will get two new courses while building only one.

Think about that — and a lot of people have. Continue reading