This September’s Ryder Cup at Kohler Resort will justifiably focus on Pete Dye’s dramatic Straits Course, set hard against the western shores of Lake Michigan.

The Straits, however, is just one of five Dye-designed courses at the resort, the others being the Irish next to the Straits, and the River and Meadows Courses at Blackwolf Run close to the resort’s famed American Club.

The fifth course – The Baths at Blackwolf Run – opened this past June as a 27-acre, 10-hole layout with distances from 60 to 160 yards. Originally designed by Dye in 2017 (he passed away in 2020), construction of The Baths was overseen by Dye protégé Chris Lutzke (Project Architect) and Kohler Co. Executive Chairman Herb Kohler, The Baths features four water holes, as well as a two-acre putting green with routing for 18 and 27 holes.

The Baths sits on land that was open space and maintained as rough between the first and 11th holes of the Meadow Valleys course.

“At Destination Kohler, we are known for our championship golf venues, but we also want to provide guests with a golf course that emphasizes fun and that everyone can play, not just serious golfers. We can set the course up to where it’s playable for everyone,” said Michael O’Reilly, the resort’s director of golf operations.

“Also, in recent years, we’ve noticed the changing tastes of our new generation of Kohler golf guests. As such, The Baths caters to their desires for ‘luxurious fun’ by offering a more casual golf experience.

“On occasion, we’ll host live music events, daily hole-in-one contests where players can win a Kohler bathtub, tastings with local brewers and spirits vendors, food experiences from Destination Kohler chefs and more.

“The Baths is an ideal place to unwind, have a few beverages – and maybe even settle a few bets – after a day on one of our 18-hole championship courses.”

Baths at Blackwolf Run
Baths at Blackwolf Run opened in June 2021. (Courtesy Kohler)

Why only 10 holes?

“The best routing for the course used that number of holes,” O’Reilly said. “Courses like The Baths are important because they can serve as an important stepping-stone for people who want to try golf, but maybe who aren’t quite ready for a full-length, 18-hole experience.

“Par-3 and short courses also make it easier to fit a golf experience into our increasingly busy daily routines. For example, one can play a full round on The Baths in less than one and a half hours.”

Don’t be fooled by the name or water holes. There are no forced carries unless a player desires.

O’Reilly added, “Through dedicated programming, we will use it as a place where juniors and adults, many of whom may have never been introduced to golf, can learn the game in a fun, supportive environment.

“It is a way for Kohler Co. to give back, promote golf’s unique combination of social and wellness benefits, and fulfil a sense of duty to nurture future generations of golfers.”

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