Driving into Whistling Straits can feel like you must be going the wrong way. You’re surrounded by flat cornfields in the middle America, but you swear the brochure said something about being reminiscent of Scotland or Ireland – somewhere with rolling hills, little vegetation, and sea damp skies. Keep going. Eventually as you approach the coast of Lake Michigan, Whistling Straits will emerge. Located in Kohler, Wisconsin, in Sheboygan County, it’s about halfway between Green Bay and Milwaukee. At 58 and 72 miles away respectively, it’s not exactly just outside either. Which is to say, it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. But that’s part of its appeal. There’s not much beyond golfing to draw you here. It is a golfer’s destination.As part of Destination Kohler, this once flat farmland turned airfield (turned to abandoned airfield) is the brilliant vision of toilet seat and plumbing magnate Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., and legendary golf course designer Pete Dye. The Straits course was completed in 1998 while the Irish course opened in 2000. Together these two 18-hole courses make up Whistling Straits.Whistling Straits is joined by 3 more course called Blackwolf Run consisting of 18-hole Meadow Valleys and River, and a brand new 10-hole par 3 course, the Baths. These 5 Destination Kohler courses put unlikely central Wisconsin on any golfer’s bucket list. How did Whistling Straits become a premier golfing destination? The four 18-hole golf courses at Destination Kohler consistently rank in the top 100 courses in the United States. Whistling Straits has hosted two U.S. Women’s Opens, a U.S. Senior Open, three PGA Championships and this September, will become the first public course in over a quarter-century to host The Ryder Cup.The history of Whistling Straits may be short in comparison to the whole of golf (pun intended!), but it is storied. Whistling Straits has a links-like feel, but to say that this is a true links course would make golf purists cringe. Traditional links courses are carved out of the natural landscape that evolved over centuries. Most of the “links” are strips of land that were once covered by seas and then battered by salty sea air and unpredictable weather. Playing a traditional links course challenges even the most expert players with biting winds, dramatic elevation changes and lots of sand.Indeed, Whistling Straits has all of this, but it is entirely man-made. It boasts over 1,000 bunkers made from 7,000 truckloads of native sand and elevation changes up to 80 feet thanks to over 100,000 cubic yards of dirt. They even imported a flock of Scottish blackface sheep to roam the course during golf season to add to the links-like ambiance.The 560-acre Destination Kohler property is one of the most unnatural natural courses and one of a handful of US course that plays like a true links course. It’s golf’s “if you build it, they will come” field of dreams.Each of the three PGA Championships at Whistling Straits has brought its share of iconic moments. In 2004, Vijay Singh won by one stroke after a three hole playoff with Justin Leonard and a come from behind Sunday run by Chris DiMarco.The 2010 Championship saw another playoff finish between Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson after Dustin Johnson missed his chance by grounding his club in one of those thousands of bunkers (that looked to him like a sand trap). “Bunker-gate” will likely see its share of debate (again!) in the run up to the Ryder Cup.The 2015 PGA Championship did not end in a playoff but did secure the pattern of non-American winners when Jason Day cruised to victory over close-but-not-close-enough, Jordan Spieth. (An omen for the favored American team in 2021?)This course, its location, its history, and the fact that it’s a public course all make it a premier destination. If When You Go To Whistling StraitsGive yourself timeOur best advice on heading to Destination Kohler is give yourself enough time because no one wants to have to choose between the four amazing courses. Play them all!Blackwolf Run\u0026#39;s two courses, River and Meadow, are both fantastic. The Irish at Whistling Straits may not have the hype of The Straits course, but it still provides incredible conditions paired with challenging holes. While you’re at it, try nearby Erin Hills and newcomer Sand Valley. Sand Valley is racking up accolades thanks to the design of Coore and Crenshaw and the honor of being named Golf Digest’s Best New Course of 2017. That same year Erin Hills hosted the US Open is now becoming a top golf resort in the area.Use a CaddieWhether you’re playing links style golf for the first time or fiftieth time, hire a caddie. They know the course, can help you read the winds, and will help you play better which is always more fun. Caddies are highly recommended at the Straits and Irish, but not required. Your group can also opt for forecaddies. Golf carts are not available on the Straits or the par-3 Baths.Look Out for the Bald EagleIts nest is located to the west of the 10th tee box, but golfers have a good chance of seeing this majestic bird anywhere on the back nine.Memorable Holes at Whistling StraitsAsking golfers for their favorite holes on magnificent golf courses is kind of like asking parents who their favorite child is. How can you pick? Instead, we’ll take you through some of the most memorable holes at the Straits.Hole 17The long par 3 at the 17th is one of the most stunning on the property. It’s also arguably the hole impacted most by the eponymous whistling winds – not to mention the looming hazard down the left side of the green.Hole 13The 13th par 4 is fun to play. It’s a relatively short dogleg right and one of the eight holes hugging the coast. Don’t miss right or you’ll be gifting the lake another ball (or at the very least, face a difficult shot up out of the bunker). The downhill approach leads to the well protected green with bunkers to the left and right.Hole 11The longest hole on the course is the par 5 11th, also known as the Sandbox. At 654 yards, most amateur players will struggle to reach the green in two. As the nickname suggests, sand will be your biggest nemesis here (though you could probably say the same about nearly all of the Strait’s holes). The elevated green is small. Miss short and it will roll down back into the fairway. Miss long and you’ll end up in a bunker.Hole 18The 18th hole (the featured header image) is one of the most difficult courses and has gotten notoriety thanks to DJ’s gaffe in 2010. It’s sometimes considered brilliant, sometimes considered Dyeabolical (its official nickname). Play this 520-yard par 4 aggressively and you can try to go left for a shorter approach shot but beware of the sand dunes and bunkers. A tee shot to the right will leave a long approach shot. Regardless, the winds could render the best laid plans useless. The green is large, but pin placement can make it feel near impossible to par. The 16th hole at Whistling Straits is a close runner up as it meanders along the shores of Lake Michigan Where to stay at Whistling Straits \u0026amp;amp; Blackwolf RunThe American ClubThe most convenient place to stay is the American Club on the Whistling Straits property. But don’t just stay there because it’s easy, book a room for the world class accommodations, luxurious amenities, mouth-watering food. The history of this 5-star, 5-diamond resort hotel far outlives the golf courses.Built in 1918 as a dormitory for male Kohler employees, it housed immigrants from all over the world. But this was no ordinary facility. Walter J. Kohler believed “A worker deserves not only wages, but roses as well.” It is this philosophy that helped him to create a not just a place to rest but a place to live.Today the American Club retains that welcoming spirit of hospitality. Choose from a variety of room and suite options that will pamper you with the highest quality linens and furnishings, access to the renowned Kohler Waters Spa, as well as complimentary access to yoga and fitness classes.Inn on Wood LakeThe Inn on Wood Lake is another option that gives you access to all of Destination Kohler via shuttle service. It’s a three-diamond inn with 10 multi-room suits for larger parties. Of course you’ll love the comfort of the accommodations, but what sets this lodging apart is the incredible Kohler showering experience. The spa like shower features WaterTile bodysprays and a WaterTile showerhead that are the ultimate end to a day on the links.Cabin CollectionFor a more secluded experience, you can stay in one of Destination Kohler’s four cabins. These exclusive retreats offer all the comforts of home – like cozy fireplaces and well-quipped kitchens – as well as the peace and relaxation that can only be found surrounded by nature. Staying at the cabins is the perfect option for larger groups who want a true home-away-from-home experience.Airbnb’sStaying in an Airbnb or Vrbo is another option – especially for groups of friends who want to stay together in a shared house. Prices and types of accommodations will vary. Where to eat near Whistling StraitsThere are 7 restaurants within Destination Kohler and a few more in The Shops at Wood Lake. From casual to intimate dining, there is something for everyone within the resort. Most of the eateries pay homage to their midwestern location, immigrant heritage or their British and Irish vibe. The walleye at River Wildlife is a must try.If you’re willing to go offsite, you have a few more options. The Blind Horse is an excellent winery and restaurant that will offer local specialties like goat cheese curds and their signature dish, Farm 45 Lamb Dumplings. The wines are spectacular made primarily from California grapes. If you prefer hydration with a bit more barley and hops, 3 Sheeps Brewing in Sheboygan makes for a fun post-round visit.Things to do near Whistling StraitsKohler Waters SpaDo not leave Destination Kohler without visiting the Kohler Waters Spa. Take relaxation to another level at this world-class retreat. Choose from massages to facial to full body treatments and experience the absolute best pampering. The Spa will keep non-golfers occupied for 18 holes and more or be the ultimate 19th (or 20th) hole to cap off your round.Enjoy the Malibu of the MidwestThanks to seasonal waves on Lake Michigan, Sheboygan’s other claim to fame is the self-proclaimed “Malibu of the Midwest.” Peak surf season is late August to early April and while you can surf year-round, we’re not sure there is a wetsuit thick enough for us to try it. Commemorate your trip to Whistling StraitsBring the scents and memories of The Straits into your home with the special The Straits links golf luxury candle by Wicks Candle Co.