On a Golf Trip Experts visit to U.S. Open venue Erin Hills a few years ago, our resident short-game expert (my teenage son, Dylan) collected flashlights from guests to light up the putting green alongside The Lodge so he could practice for a few extra hours after dark. Come late summer this year, those flashlights will no longer be needed at the golf course and resort that hosted American golf’s 2017 national championship won by Brooks Koepka.
Erin Hills recently announced that Dana Fry and Jason Stracka have designed a 1.25-acre, 18-hole putting course (which has yet to be named). Fry, business partner Michael Hurdzan and Golf Digest’s Ron Whitten designed the championship course at Erin Hills. The putting course is scheduled to open in August 2019, possibly sooner if the weather cooperates.
“The course will have lighting, so guests can enjoy it anytime — after dinner as well,” says Erin Hills Competitions Director John Morrissett. “It will be more for fun than our (other) two full-size practice greens are.”
The 62,000-square-foot playing surface covers the former back tee boxes of the championship course’s opening hole and is expected to have 10 to 12 feet of elevation changes in some areas. The contoured playground joins the popular five-hole Kettle Loop, practice facility and Caddie Barn-turned-game room as entertainment enhancements for the resort’s overnight guests. Even better, the putting course, practice facilities and game room don’t carry additional fees for golfers or overnight guests.
Erin Hills anticipates their entry into the putting-course fray — similar to the approach used with the Punchbowl at Bandon Dunes, Thistle Dhu at Pinehurst and the Cascades at Gamble Sands, among others — will further elevate the resort’s destination status in what has become one of the country’s hottest golf regions with Sand Valley and Whistling Straits each within a few hours’ drive.
Erin Hills is scheduled to open May 6 for the 2019 season. Golf and lodging rates are available at ErinHills.com.