The U.S. Open at Erin Hills Golf Course, located in Wisconsin, is now completed, and Brooks Koepka was victorious against the many great, club-wielding golf warriors as they duked it out to the finish. The experience at this year’s U.S. Open was one to remember, whether you were 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 make the trip up to Wisconsin, I had a chance to take in the natural beauty of Hartford in Washington County. With its lush landscape, dairy farms, and breathtaking wilderness it made it feel like a world away from Chicago.
When arriving in Wisconsin, you could feel the major championship excitement in the air, when you started to see many police officers, as well as residents using their property as parking lots. You knew you were about to arrive at Erin Hills, the host of the 2017 U.S. Open.
As I drove up the gravel road to reach the Erin Hills parking lot, the fences were covered with the USGA logo. Approaching the lot, I looked to the left and witnessed Erin Hills for the very first time. It was stunning.
The practice green and spectator stands were in close proximity, with the Wisconsin wilderness out in the distance. Erin Hills designers Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten always mention how natural the course is.
You can see how natural the contours are as your eyes gleam on it. It could 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.
There were many things around the course to keep fans busy, from massive merchandise tents to plenty of concession stands. Fox Sports even had their own observation deck, where fans can relax, and get a great view of the action.
When I walked towards the Media Center, I walked past a farmhouse where they housed golf carts for players and others who needed to get around. As expected, the inside of the media tent was massive. Upon entering, other members of the media were 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 in the atmosphere before I started working. The weekend as you know, was a nail-biter, with numerous players hanging out towards the top of the leaderboard. Although the scores were pretty low for a U.S. Open, it was still a great tournament, because everyone was fighting for the title.
Koepka would come out of nowhere to dominate on Sunday to win his first major championship. He certainly earned it and has quietly been one of the best players not to win a major, even though he’s still only 27-years-old.
The interview room was well appointed, with a podium that looked more like a fancy TV studio desk for a news network. It was surprisingly cold in there, but nonetheless, it was very nice.
While in the interview room I asked Brooks if the major win gave him a sigh of relief and if it took pressure off of him.
“No, I don’t think so,” Koepka said. “I worked my tail off the last six months and made some changes, grinding every day in the gym trying to make sure I was physically ready and strong enough to be able to swing the club the way I want to”.
You can hear his full response at the 6:35 mark 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 the tournament), it was jam-packed on Sunday.
As I was walking, 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 a late push up the leaderboard.
Getting a chance to see arguably the most talked about hole at number nine, was also pretty amazing. 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 hole 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 unique design makes Erin Hills a fun golf course to watch and play on.
The course also has one of the most dramatic 18th holes in all of golf. As you stand on the tee box, you see the clubhouse, the Wisconsin wilderness, and the legendary Holy Hill, all staring at you. It is a beautiful sight to see.
Like Chambers Bay which hosted the U.S. Open in 2015, Erin Hills is still an infant, however, its future is bright as it will host more majors down the road. It was an exciting experience, watching the U.S. Open in Wisconsin, with another new course, and yet another young major champion. Golf Fans certainly won’t forget this experience anytime soon.
A round of applause for Erin Hills, as we move forward to The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, as the sunsets on Washington County in Wisconsin.
— 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 taken 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 unique 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 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 could host many majors in the future. Would love to see it host some PGA Championships. 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.