The Erin Hills Golf Course in Hartford, Wisconsin, joins as illustrious group of public courses after hosting the 2017 U.S. Open this June.
It will only be the sixth public course to ever host our national championship, joining Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pinehurst No. 2, Bethpage Black, Chambers Bay and the South Course at Torrey Pines. Four of them have been added to the rotation since 2002 when Bethpage landed its first Open. Pebble Beach (2019), Torrey Pines (2021) and Pinehurst No. 2 (2024) are already on tap for future Opens. It will be interesting to see if Chambers Bay ever lands another major after so many player complained about the inconsistent putting surfaces and the sometimes unfavorable bounces around the greens.
Erin Hills has been closed since last fall to prepare for the spotlight. It will be the first major championship for architects Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten (more well known as a writer/editor for Golf Digest).
"I think the pros are going to like it a lot," Fry says. "It is a fair test. It is demanding. It's beautiful visually to look at. The only thing you might hear is that it is a long walk, eight miles or so. As a course, the quality of shots is fantastic. Picking lines is demanding. The only thing the pros might not like is some of the bunkering. You might have to hit sideways or backward. That could happen and will."
Erin Hills will reopen after the tournament, ready for traveling golfers chasing bucket lists.
Here's a look at the past winners of U.S. Opens held on public courses:
* Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach Resorts, Calif.
U.S. Opens: 1972 (Jack Nicklaus), 1982 (Tom Watson), 1992 (Tom Kite), 2000 (Tiger Woods), 2010 (Graeme McDowell).
* Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.
U.S. Opens: 1999 (Payne Stewart), 2005 (Michael Campbell), 2014 (Martin Kaymer).
* Bethpage Black, Farmingdale, N.Y.
U.S. Opens: 2002 (Tiger Woods), 2009 (Lucas Glover).
* Chambers Bay, Tacoma, Wash.
U.S. Open: 2015 (Jordan Spieth).
* South Course at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, Calif.
U.S. Open: 2008 (Woods).