To be a golfer in Indianapolis is to know plenty of the late Carmelite’s work, from Maple Creek to Crooked Stick to Brickyard Crossing. Dye started his Hall of Fame golf course–building empire in the Circle City. But five hours north of Indy in Kohler, Wisconsin, home of the bath-and-kitchen-fixtures company, Dye is at his tormenting best.
Amazingly, the land at Whistling Straits, which was set to host the Ryder Cup this month, was once flat farmland that dropped off to the Lake Michigan shore. In the 1940s and ’50s, it was a military base with a landing strip in the middle. Somehow, Dye looked at the acreage and saw something else. He moved 3 million cubic yards of dirt and trucked in 7,000 loads of sand to shape a hilly venue with some 1,000 bunkers and visual intimidation at every turn. You know it’s coming from that landscaping at the entrance.
At least you don’t have to tackle it alone. Service is impeccable at the Straits (a second 18-hole course, the less-frightening Irish, is also on site). Take advantage of the cozy locker room before meeting your caddie, who will tote your bag (and your psyche) for the day. Rest assured, if your best golf swing failed to make the trip, the caddies have always seen worse.
The most popular option for this golf-mecca getaway is the three-night, four-round “Dye-abolical” package, which features a round on all four Kohler courses (Blackwolf Run, winding around the Sheboygan River, has hosted a U.S. Women’s Open). For $2,000 per person in peak season, opt to stay at The American Club, a manor-style five-diamond hotel full of history—and a terrific basement bar where golfers reminisce over the day’s play and prepare themselves for the next battle with Pete Dye.
Scottish-brewed Jigger Ale is poured only at the Old Course Hotel in Scotland and the clubhouses and hotel in Kohler.
Rainy day? Play Whistling Straits virtually on the Kohler Swing Studio golf simulators.
Spend a golf-free afternoon at the Kohler Design Center and check out 19 dream kitchens and bathrooms.