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War at Whistling Straits



Photographs courtesy of Marty Ilagan for the daily tribune The clubhouse of Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The 2021 Ryder Cup is right around the corner.

The biennial event pitting the best players of the United States against its counterparts from Europe on 24 to 26 September at the Whistling Straits in Winsconsin.

Marty Ilagan, one of the country’s top amateurs, got a chance to play the 28-year-old course designed by Jeff Brauer in 2016 while visiting his relatives.

He had to shell out $200 to play a round with brother-in-law Mark Nunag.

Measuring over 7,390 yards from the tip, the links-type course by the sea offers a good challenge for all types of players.

Bridge crossing at the 18th green.

Nestled along a three-kilometer stretch of Lake Michigan, the course has eight holes hugging the lake, elevation changes of approximately 80 feet and three stone bridges.

It has vast rolling greens, deep put bunkers, grass-topped dunes and winds that sweep in off the lake.

“It was gorgeous. No trees. All bunkers from tee to green. Everything was an illusion since it was the first time for me to play,” he recalled.

Ilagan said they decided to use the back tees to experience how pros negotiate the numerous bunkers that dot the course.

Back of the 17th green, a par-three.

He said they were lucky that the winds were not blowing hard.

Ilagan shot an 82, his round marred by a triple bogey on the uphill 500-yard, par-4 18th hole.

Back of the par-4 ninth hole.

He went for the green with a hybrid from 220 yards, the ball kicking right into the water. He took a drop and found the bunker.

It was an impressive score nonetheless for the two-handicapper who posted it despite using rented clubs.

Ilagan went home with fond memories but also a cache of photos taken from his mobile phone.

Let’s take a look at some of the course’s fascinating holes.