US PGA: 5 things you need to know about Whistling Straits

The final major of the season is almost upon us and with Rory McIlroy nearing full fitness golf fans across the world will be treated to seeing the Northern Irishman taking on his American counterpart Jordan Spieth.

The 20-somethings lead the betting with Spieth the 7/1 favourite and McIlroy available at 12/1 but despite this many of the headlines will be made by the course itself – Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits.

The PGA Championship will be heading back to Sheboygan County for the third time and it’s link-style outlay will ensure plenty of thrills over the four-day event.

Here’s all you need to know about the Pete Dye-designed course…

The players might need a bucket and spade

There are more than 1,000 bunkers on the course and while many of these do not sit in the boundary of play they are designed to create an imposing, intimidating scene for the players.

To further complicate matters all sand on the course is considered a bunker as Dustin Johnson found to his dismay in 2010.

The American needed only to par the 18th to join Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer in a play-off but through the confusion drew a two-stroke penalty for unintentionally grounding his club in a patch of dirt full of spectators which was included in the course’s sand trap count!


Liang Wen-Chong holds the course record

The Chinese veteran carded a stunning 64 during the third round of the 2010 PGA Championship but as if to highlight that the course can still bite back the now 37-year-old finished tied for eighth after a final round 73.


Martin Kaymer channelled Happy Gilmore there

Every year the PGA Championship is preceded by the Long Drive Competition and while India’s Anirban Lahiri walked away with this year’s $25,000 prize for his 327-yard effort, he still trailed Kaymer in the style stakes.

You can play there if you like – as long as you have plenty of money

Unlike many of the courses that host the majors Whistling Straits is not a private or exclusive course, with members of the public welcome.

However, before you rush to book your flights to Wisconsin bear in mind that the course fees are $385 (£246) per round plus a mandatory caddie fee of $65. Fancy squeezing a round in after work? The twilight hours will still set you back $270, while the second course – The Irish Course – can be played for $190.

The lake views might just make it worth it

Wondering what $385 gets you?  Aside from perfectly-manicured greens and a few hours spent thrashing around in the sand? Well lake views for one thing. Almost half of the Straits Course – holes three, four, seven, eight, 12, 13, 16 and 17  – border Lake Michigan.

With over two miles of shore running alongside the course few offer better views.


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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.