Getting To Know: Whistling Straits
An Insightful Interview With Michael O'Reilly, Head Golf Professional
By Brian Weis
Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Michael O'Reilly who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.
Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
The Straits Course is built along two miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline. 8 of the 18 holes hug the shore while all holes have views of the lake. The course designer, Pete Dye, utilized the Lake and added almost 1,000 bunkers to design one of the world's best courses. The course is fair and playable for players of all skill levels but will certainly test your shot making ability.
If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
The Straits Course at Whistling Straits is a "must-play" for the golf enthusiast. The breath taking views, amazing design, history, and overall golf experience are tough to beat. If you make your way to the Kohler area and don't play it you will regret it!
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
I am often asked what tips I have for playing the Straits Course and I almost always respond with this... Your tee shot is the most important shot on this golf course. If you miss the fairway, unless you are 100% sure that you can advance the ball, get the ball back to the fairway and move forward. The dunes and bunkers are very severe and playing a second or third shot from can be very challenging. Take your "medicine" and move on to your next shot. If you don't, a bogey can turn into a double or triple very quickly.
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
Best Public Golf Courses in Wisconsin Golf Magazine 7/12 Whistling Straits - Sraits Course #1
Top 100 Courses You Can Play Golf Magazine 7/12
Whistling Straits - Straits Course #4
Best Summer Golf Destinations Golf.com 6/12
The American Club Resort #1 in the Midwest
Best Courses You Can Play Golfweek 5/12
Whistling Straits - Straits Course #4
Top 10 Northern U.S. Golf Resorts Conde Nast Traveler 4/12 The American Club Resort #3 - Reader Score: 87.8
Platinum Award Golf Magazine 3/12
The American Club Golf Category Score: 95.60
Top 10 Toughest Courses in the U.S. Golf.com 2/12
Whistling Straits - Straits Rating: 77.2 Slope: 152
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
I would have to say the 17th hole is probably the most photographed hole. All 4 par 3's are adjacent to the Lake but the 17th is especially dramatic as there is a large drop off to Lake Michigan on the left side. Several bunkers will catch most balls that go left but some will make their way all the way into the water. The right side of the green is also protected by a large pot bunker which visually intimidates many players. The hole is stunning, challenging and amazing!
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
My favorite hole on the Straits Course is the 6th hole. I like it for many reasons but the main reason is that it's a short par 4 that requires the player to make a decision off the tee. You can hit driver and will be rewarded if you are successful but if you are off little bit, trouble lurks. You can also play it safe with a three wood or hybrid off the tee to but you will have a slightly longer shot into the green. A large put bunker separates the right and left portions of the green. The right pin can be a challenge!!!
I recommend playing this hole with a three wood or hybrid off the tee. For the second shot, i advise you to take enough club to get to at least the middle of the green. If you are long it's a tough up-and-down but short is even worse. Play it smart and hit enough club to avoid the bunkers short.
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
A Guinness. What else should you have when you are playing a course designed after the links courses of Scotland and Ireland?
Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
The course record was set during the 2nd round of the 2010 PGA Championship. Wenchong Liang shot a 64. Now that's playing golf!
Back Tee Stats
N8501 County Road LS
Sheboygan, WI, 53083
Revised: 02/11/2013 - Article Viewed 22,008 Times - View Golf Course Profile
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler