Courses and Travel

Top 100 You Can Play Up Close: Whistling Straits (Irish)

Photo: The American Club

The Irish Course at Whistling Straits.

Whistling Straits (Irish)
Haven, Wis.
7,201 yards, par 72
Green fees: $170

Younger siblings often struggle in the shadow of their acclaimed elders. That's certainly the case at Wisconsin's Whistling Straits. The Straits Course hosts this year's PGA Championship and is one of the most brutishly tough courses in the country. Its location on Lake Michigan also echoes the conditions at an Irish links course, more so than its misnamed sibling, the Irish Course, does. But the little Irish layout can still hold its own.

Ranked No. 68 in Golf Magazine's Top 100 Courses You Can Play, the Pete Dye design is peppered with bunkers, streams and gigantic man-made dunes. And make no mistake about it: The Irish is a daunting test from any set of tees. A smattering of wetlands and parkland holes intrude on the faux-Emerald Isle experience, but these slight anomalies simply add an extra helping of difficulty to the already hefty demands. Still, after you've confronted the straight-from-Lahinch 13th—a 183-yard, par-3 over a massive dune to a huge, mostly blind green—you'll swear the Cliffs of Moher are just down the road.

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