I heard on the news this morning that later today the USGA will announce that the 2017 US Open will come to the Badger state. The lucky course is not one of the gems built by Herb Kohler - the plumbing magnate, not the Senator - but rather a fairly new course, Erin Hills near Holy Hill.
This is awesome news.
Blackwolf Run, one of the Kohler courses, was the first to host a professional major in Wisconsin when it welcomed the US Women's Open in 1998 - and will do so again in 2012. Whistling Straits, perhaps the crowning achievement in Wisconsin golf, hosted its first PGA Championship in 2004 and will play host again this year and in 2015. The Straits course is also the tentative site of the 2020 Ryder Cup, quite possibly the premier event of professional golf.
Now, the state of Wisconsin will get to host the national championship of golf. This is something I think every person in the state should be proud of. Not only is it a huge economic boon for the state, but it gives us a national stage on which to showcase all that makes Wisconsin great.
Over the next decade, the center of the golfing world will be in Wisconsin 6 times. It's not just the 5 professional tournaments, but Erin Hills will also host the US Amateur next year. Wisconsin is quickly becoming a leader in championship quality golf.
I hope that we use these opportunities to promote the state and its natural beauty. These tournaments should be a great selling point for tourism and I hope we use it. It really can set us apart from the rest of the country because each and every one of these courses is public. No other state that I can think of off the top of my head can boast that. Most major championship venues are private clubs, but here in Wisconsin our top courses are open to all - yes, I realize they are very expensive, but the point is that you can actually play them. It would cost twice as much to buy a pass to the Masters just to see Augusta National, let alone play it, and we're still cheaper by $100 than this year's open venue, Pebble Beach. Erin Hills is less than half the price.
Today is definitely a good day for Wisconsin.