The U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin is finished, and Brooks Koepka came out victorious as many great, club wielding warriors duked it out. The experience at this year’s U.S. Open was one to remember, whether you’re a fan, member of the media, volunteer, etc.
Fortunately for me, Erin Hills was a two hour drive from my home, not knowing that this major venue was so close. As I left to go make the trip to Wisconsin, I had a chance to take in the natural beauty of Washington County. With so many lush green, dairy farms, and breathtaking wilderness, it felt like a world away from Chicago.
You knew you were getting close to major championship goodness, when you started to see many officers, as well as residents using their property as parking lots. You knew you were close to Erin Hills, the host of the 2017 U.S. Open.
As I went through the gravel road to reach the parking lot, fences with USGA logos, covered each side. Getting closer to the lot, I look to the left, and witness Erin Hills for the very first time. It was stunning.
The practice green, stands and such were present, with the Wisconsin wilderness out in the distance. Designers Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten always mention how natural the course is. You can see how natural the contours are as you as your eyes gleam on it.
It could very possibly be, the most natural course since the design of Sand Hills. That’s saying a lot, comparing the young girl Erin, to one of the most famous golf courses on the planet.
As I walked through the gate, you see the USGA logo placed almost everywhere, knowing that you’re not covering your local high school golf tournament anymore. You realize that this really is “major”.
There were many things around the course to keep fans busy, from massive merchandise tents, to plenty of concession stands, to the “USGA Experience” spot, there was enough ways for fans to enjoy the tournament. Fox Sports even had their own fan observation spot, where fans can relax, and get a great view of the action.
When I walked towards to Media Center, you walk past a farm house where they apparently house carts for players, and others who need to get around. As expected, the inside of the media tent was massive, as other members of the media are cranking away on their laptops, and preparing their cameras to head out on the course.
As I found my spot, and settled down, I wanted to take things in a bit before I started working. the weekend as we know, was a nail biter, with numerous players hanging out towards the top of the leaderboard, just chillin’. Although the scores were pretty low for a U.S. Open, it was still a great tournament, because everyone was fighting for the title.
I don’t know if I thought Koepka would go H.A.M on Sunday to win his first major. He certainly earned it, and has very quietly been on the “best not to win a major” list, even though he’s still only 27-years-old.
The interview room was fairly decked out, with a podium that looked more like a fancy TV studio desk for a news network. It was surprisingly cold in there (brrr!), but nonetheless, it was very nice.
I asked Brooks if the major win gave him a sigh of relief, and if it took pressure off of him. He simply said “no”, but you can hear his full response at 6:35 in the Golf Channel video below.
I could’ve stayed in the media tent all day, but I wanted to go out and explore the course a bit more. As you can imagine (especially if you attended), it was jam-packed on Sunday, and as I walked, a section was roped off as Matt Kuchar came walking towards the next hole. Of course the chants of “Kuucch!” came, as the Olympic bronze medalist was trying to make late push up the leaderbaord.
I didn’t have a chance to experience the entire course, but getting a chance to see arguably the most talked about hole at number nine, was pretty cool. As I may have mentioned before, what makes Erin Hills so awesome, is how often it changes. The front and back nine almost work like two different tracks.
The ninth is a reminder of the design changes. A green surrounded by bunkers is something you don’t see as much on the front nine. This type of unique design makes Erin Hills a fun course to watch golf on, and to play on.
Even better, the course is open to the public. No snooty country club fees, and you can play golf on a U.S. Open course, that will most certainly host a PGA Championship int he future.
The course also has one of the most amazing, and dramatic 18th holes in all of golf. As you stand on the tee box, you see the beautiful clubhouse, the Wisconsin wilderness, on the legendary Holy Hill, all staring at you. It’s one of the prettiest sights you’ll see, on a stunning golf course.
Like Chambers Bay which hosted the U.S. Open in 2015, Erin Hills is still a babe. But, it will grow, and become something special, as it will host more majors down the road.
It was a fun experience, watching the U.S. Open in Wisconsin, and with another new course, and yet another young champion, fans won’t certainly forget anytime soon. A round of applause for Erin Hills, as we move forward to The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, as the sun sets on Washington County in Wisconsin, and at Erin Hills.
— Colin GP Mieczkowski (@ChiGolfRadio) June 19, 2017
Posted in Experiences and tagged Erin Hills, U.S. Open by Colin GP Mieczkowski with no comments yet.
The awesome thing about golf is the selection of beautiful golf courses. Erin Hills, which hosted the U.S. Open this week, is just as pretty as any.
The official Erin Hills YouTube channel features multiple drone clips of each hole. Each one is breathtaking so take a look at three of them, as you can feel the wind being taking away from you.
Let’s start with the famous, and stunning ninth hole. It was once just an “extra” hole, but was put into the course routing, and what a brilliant idea that was.
Next we flap our wings and fly over one of the most uniqe holes on the course, the 12th. Although this hole only has one bunker on it, it is still one of the toughest, with a fairway that can throw you off your game. This may be the only hole in all of golf where the fairway can play as a hazard at times.
Finally, let’s take a look at the sun soaked, picturesque 18th hole. This hole features the beautiful clubhouse in the background, while the legendary Holy Hill looks down on those who walk the track. A great way to finish a round on this public gem.
So if you ever wanted to see the 2017 U.S. Open course from a different perspective, then there you go. Paul Hundley is the man responsible for these amazing flyovers.
Take them in, and after doing that, go visit Erin Hills and tee it up. I can’t stress enough that this course is open to the public, so you can step on a piece of U.S. Open history.
It’s a course that will host many majors in the future. Would love to see it host some PGA Championships as its well deserved. Bravo, Erin Hills.
Posted in Golf Videos and tagged Erin Hills, Erin Hills Flyover, US Open by Colin GP Mieczkowski with no comments yet.
Probably the biggest story to come out of round one of the 117th U.S. Open is the scary blimp crash that occurred near Erin Hills. Many watched in horror, as they recorded the scene.
— golfjunkie (@mikecastleberry) June 15, 2017
Apparently, all who was in the blimp were able to parachute out. Here’s scary aftermath from the crash.
THIS IS INSANE! Blimp pops and explodes into flames near US Open today. Blimp was not affiliated with tournament.pic.twitter.com/1ZRHeYnyVF
— TotalProSports (@TotalProSports) June 15, 2017
Interestingly enough, the blimp was not part of the golf tournament as most might have expected. The pilot was injured, but let’s hope this pilot is OK.
Here’s an official statement from the USGA in regards to the crash:
According to local authorities, a commercial blimp not affiliated with the USGA or the U.S. Open Championship broadcast crashed in an open field approximately a half mile from the Erin Hills golf course at approximately 11:15 a.m. CDT. First responders were quick to arrive at the scene and the pilot is currently being treated for unknown injuries. No other people were involved in the incident and local law enforcement is currently investigating. Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot at this time.
This is something that was odd, and scary. Let’s hope this is the last time we see something like this, because it could’ve been fatal.
Other than that, the U.S. Open has started off hot. Rickie Fowler and Paul Casey are leading the charge early on, as the rest of the week should be a blast.
Posted in Golf News and tagged Blimp, Erin Hills, Golf, US Open by Colin GP Mieczkowski with no comments yet.
There isn’t much that can be said about Erin Hills’ rough other than it’s similar to that of a small jungle which makes things interesting.
Erin Hills will be the host of the U.S. Open this week, as it will be the first time that the course has ever hosted a major or any professional tournament for that matter. As the U.S. Open is famous for, it will provide a tough challenge for the world’s best players, and Kevin Na showed how menacing the course can be.
In the video, Na is trying to hit his ball out of the mini jungle of rough. As he does, he can hardly see where his ball even lies, as he demonstrates how difficult it is to get out of.
The rough is beyond deep, making players want to take a drop, rather than hit it. Even Seve Ballesteros couldn’t get out of this rough, but darn it, it makes the tournament even more tasty in my opinion.
It’s a way to push golfers to the limit. Sure, Erin Hills’ charm and public course hospitality may distract a player, but rough like that turns the course from a pretty butterfly, to a vicious snake.
With all that being said, Erin Hills is a stunning golf course, and will host many majors to come. Like Chambers Bay, which hosted the U.S. Open in 2015, Erin Hills is a young course, and will have an opportunity to flap its wings and escape the nest of the unkown.
With it being a public course, anybody can tee it up on this gem. My advice would be, if you hit it into that rough, don’t be a hero…..or you can put on your golf cape and turn your club into a magic wand.
Posted in Golf Videos and tagged Erin Hills, Erin Hills Rough, Golf, Kevin Na, US Open by Colin GP Mieczkowski with no comments yet.