Inside Whistling Straits

No one knows the challenges Whistling Straits offers better than Jim Richerson, Group Director of Golf for Kohler Co. In this exclusive, Richardson describes the five holes he feels will pose the greatest challenge to the field come August.

2010 PGA Championship

The natural amphitheater surrounding the undulating 18th green at Whistling Straits is sure to provide fans with an exciting climax to the 92nd PGA Championship. (The PGA of America)

KOHLER, Wis. -- The golfing world will once again descend upon the shores of Lake Michigan as the PGA Championship returns to Whistling Straits in August. Regarded as one of the top golf courses in the nation, Whistling Straits provides significant challenges to the best golfers in the world.

No one knows the challenges Whistling Straits offers better than Jim Richerson, Group Director of Golf for Kohler Co. Richerson manages all aspects of Kohler's global golf business, including the world-renowned, walking-only, links-style Straits course, sculpted along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.

"The length, wind conditions, pin locations and design layout will all play factors in the Championship," says Richerson. "The stretch of holes 15 through 18 is arguably the toughest finishing stretch in Major Championship golf. Those who navigate the finishing holes best will likely come out on top."

Below is an outline of the holes Richerson believes will likely pose the largest challenges for the players at the 92nd PGA Championship.

No. 4
Par 4, 489 Yards
A long and visually intimidating hole with large mounding down the right side of the fairway, which tends to make the players favor the left side. However, most shots also bounce left towards the bunkers and dunes that drop-off quickly toward Lake Michigan. The green hangs on the edge of Lake Michigan's bluffs and will force players to favor the right center of the green, making par a good score.

No. 8
"On the Rocks"
Par 4, 507 Yards
A blind landing area off the tee will challenge the tour players to keep their tee shots left in order to avoid the severe drop-off with sand dunes, bunkers and Lake Michigan looming on the right. A long iron or hybrid will be required to reach a very deep green, guarded on the left by more sand dunes and on the right by deep bunkers, with a fall off to the Great Lake. 

No. 15
"Grand Strand"
Par 4, 518 Yards
This hole begins what could arguably be the most difficult four finishing holes in Major Championship golf. Players must favor the left side of the fairway to avoid sunken sand dunes to the right. A long approach is played over sand dunes to a large undulating green. Sand bunkers protect the left side of the green which has many subtle breaks that challenge even the best putters in the world.

No. 17
"Pinched Nerve"
Par 3, 223 Yards
Possibly the best par 3 -- anywhere! The green is guarded on the left by monstrous sand dunes and bunkers that fall 20 feet below the green level as well as the coastline of Lake Michigan. Tee shots straying right will find more sand dunes and bunkers on a steep hillside protecting the right side of the green. This intimidating par 3 will be a pivotal part of the Championship.

No. 18
Par 4, 500 Yards
Here is an extremely challenging finishing hole where par will be considered an excellent score. Requiring a precise tee shot, hit it too short and players will be forced to play safe or short of the green. Hit it too far and players will go through the fairway and into Seven Mile Creek. The double fairway and clover shaped green creates intimidating hole locations making it a true risk-reward option for the players.