A Lengthy Task; Whistling Straits Not for Short-Knockers

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 10, 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Lengthy Task; Whistling Straits Not for Short-Knockers

Byline: Barker Davis, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

HAVEN, Wis. - Maybe Pete Dye and Herb Kohler should have considered dubbing the site of this week's 86th PGA Championship "Dire Straits."

At nearly 7,514 yards from the tips, Whistling Straits dwarfs Grand Slam golf's leader in the clubhouse for length. Dye's contrived linksland gem on the banks of Lake Michigan is lined by hip-high fescue, dotted with a quasi-comical 1,400 bunkers and features greens more easily measured in acres than cubic feet. Throw in the omnipresent wind that gusts off Lake Michigan and this aesthetic stunner isn't likely to produce many pretty scorecards.

"I didn't realize there could be that many par-6s on one golf course," Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke said after his first tour of the par-72 brute 70 miles north of Milwaukee. "If the breeze is up, I'd say par is closer to 77 than 72. It's that difficult. ... You usually have one or two holes every week where you could take lots of high numbers, but I think there's about 10 this week."

Clarke's closest chum, England's Lee Westwood, was similarly awed by his initial inspection.

"There's really nothing like it in terms of potential disaster," Westwood said. "If you're in form, it's a monster, but it's fair and manageable. If you're not, well, forget it. ... I was told before I got here that there were 10 really difficult holes and eight impossible ones. I'm just trying to work out which the 10 difficult holes were. It's a very, very difficult golf course, almost a little too difficult, really. It almost seems a bit too long."

How long is too long?

Well, three of the layout's par-4s measure 500 yards or more. The 518-yard 15th has a full two clubs on the two holes that caused short-knockers to caterwaul at Bethpage (Nos.10 and 12) two years ago. The four par-5s average 594.5 yards, so there won't be any eagles via the flatstick. And the 223-yard 17th is every bit as nasty as Dye's infamous island green 17th at TPC at Sawgrass.

"That's a scalded 2-iron into the prevailing wind to the front right edge," Westwood said of the 17th, which is guarded by pot bunkers on the right and a waste area and Lake Michigan on the left. "I don't know what it would be to that back left pin ... other than insane. Anybody who takes that line has lost his mind."

At first blush, the entire Whistling Straits project seems to be the creation of an unstable mind. The surrounding farmland is as flat and unforgettable as can be expected from a chunk of Midwest real estate that once was leased by the military as an ordinance range and nearly wound up as a nuclear power plant.

But Kohler, the kitchen and bath fixture magnate, had other ideas. Seven years ago, Kohler decided he needed a spectacular links course to complement Blackwolf Run, then the signature course for his posh nearby resort, the American Club. It didn't matter that the 560 acres Kohler purchased on Lake Michigan lacked the dramatic topography for a traditional links course. Kohler, who was signing autographs after making an appearance in the media tent yesterday, has an ego to match his bank account.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Lengthy Task; Whistling Straits Not for Short-Knockers


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?