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Whistling Straits - The Irish Course

Stands Alone As A Top Course In The Country

By Brian Weis

The Straits course along the shores of Lake Michigan needs no introduction. Annually, the Pete Dye masterpiece tops every major golf magazine annual list of best public courses. For years, I have surfed through these guides to check off the courses I have played and note the Wisconsin courses on the honor roll. I have been fortunate enough to play the Straits course a half dozen times since opening in 1998. Until recently, I have never played the Straits sister course, The Irish. Largely, because I felt if I was going to travel to the golf Mecca of the Midwest, I wanted to play the top course. A few weeks ago, the 2011 Golf Digest ratings were published, ranking The Irish course the 35th best public course. Staring at the list, I realized I needed to play the course.

I admit, driving to Kohler I wondered the following questions. If the course was 30 miles inland would it be on the list? Is it getting too much credit for being the sister course of Whistling Straits? Is it the same course as the Straits without the majestic lake views? Would I be disappointed that I didn't play the Straits course?

Walking off the 18th green, I was both in awe and disappointment. For 4 and half hours I was in golf heaven. Every hole was a picturesque post card. In a nutshell, The Irish course is a classic Dye course with risk/reward holes featuring dramatic mounding, meandering streams and acres of sand bunkers. Why was I disappointed? The disappointment was internal, that I let a decade pass before I played the course.

The Skinny
5 Tees: 7201, 6750, 6366, 5992, 5109 yards.
Rate/Slope: 75.6/146
Rate: $180

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(800) 344-2838

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Article Tags: Whistling Straits

Revised: 05/06/2011 - Article Viewed 31,058 Times

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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