With Whistling Straits playing host to the Ryder Cup this week, Andy Johnson of The Fried Egg has dispatched his drone to put together a timely video exposition of the course and paired it with his thoughtful and knowledgeable analysis of how the Pete and Alice Dye’s architecture will provide strategic challenges in this match play competition.
There are two things that are startling about The Straits. First it is essentially a links style course in the middle of America and second, everything you see that makes this a links style course, except for the ocean sized Lake Michigan over your shoulder, was manufactured by man (and woman).
Besides the engineering feat of importing and placing a bazillion truckloads of dirt from Indiana to sculpt the land, they had to conceive of a routing to expose as many of the holes as possible to the lake winds to create the real look and feel of links golf in Wisconsin.
As Andy points out, it is a figure eight routing with the front nine going south along the lake shore and then looping back upon itself to catch more shoreline on the way back in. The back side does the same thing going north along the shoreline and looping back for more shore on the way back to the clubhouse. This puts 8 of the 18 holes with direct interface to the lake and another six within eye view. The influence of the wind off the lake can be profound and since the holes go in both directions on both sides you rarely get but a couple of holes in a row with the same wind effect.
The par threes on this course are all stunners-forced carries over huge waste areas to precipice greens with the backdrop of the lake behind. This lack of topological backdrop can make frame of reference of the shots hard to discern. The wind influence on the three pars is at it’s max because they are the most exposed holes on the course.
Andy goes through the full Dye collection and from his analysis you will have a much better appreciation of how these pros will negotiate their way around this unique layout under the intense competitive heat that only a Ryder Cup can provide.
Set aside ten minutes to watch this on a PC screen so you can truly appreciate the artistry of this video and it’s subject as well.
The Fried Egg Podcasts (2021)