Whistling Straits - Straits Course, Sheboygan, WI
Whistling Straits was definitely one of the most fun experiences I have had photographing a course. Featuring 8 holes directly on lake Michigan, the design concept for the property makes excellent use of the 2 miles of shoreline. All par 3's are directly on the water and you are never more than a glance away from beautiful Lake Michigan. The course has hosted the 2004, 2010, and 2015 PGA Championships and will again take center stage at the 2020 Ryder Cup.
In the 1950's, the property was used by the US Army as an anti-aircraft training facility and was actually very flat before Pete Dye and his team moved in 7000 truckloads of sand to shape the property. Today the course today features 967 bunkers and many drastic sand dunes and elevation changes.
One of the more unique features that i was unable to witness was the flock of Scottish blackface sheep that the course keeps on site. The sheep are free to roam the course during the golfing season and are kept at an off site farm for the winter months. Unfortunately, they were not present for the 2015 PGA Championship and will not make it back for the remainder of the 2015 season.
Even with the winds winding up throughout the day and my driver going wide left and wide right, the course was an absolute treat to play. I always found my ball and had a bunch of interesting shots from all over the place. The highlight of the day was finding several birdies on the par 5's. The low-light of the day was finding lake Michigan with my golf ball on #7. The same spot where John Daly threw his club weeks previously. Fortunately, my shot was not captured on video.
Update: On a return visit to Whistling Straits in 2017, I would find those sheep. One of them would actually charge me... I would tuck and roll avoiding incident. I would also roll in a wildly good birdie putt on the 18th hole that should put a smile on my face until the next time I visit.