Key facts

The Star Early Edition - - GOLF -

IT’S NOT A LINKS COURSE It looks like a “links” course – it’s got fes­cues grass, it’s got wind, it’s got no trees – but it’s not a “links” course. Rather, it’s what one of the course ar­chi­tects, Dana Fry, likes to call, a “heart­land” course – some­thing in be­tween a links and park­land course. IT’S A FIRST FOR WIS­CON­SIN Of the first 116 US Opens, 65 have been held in the Great Lakes re­gion – 18 in New York, 17 in Penn­syl­va­nia, 13 in Illi­nois, seven in Ohio, six in Michi­gan and four in Min­nesota. This will be the first US Open held in Amer­ica’s Dairy­land.

IT’S A PAR 72 For the first time in 25 years, the US Open score­card is at par 72. The last time came at Peb­ble Beach in 1992, when the 502-yard sec­ond hole was still played as a par 5. Since then, the US Open has gen­er­ally been played at par 70. AVOID THE BUNKERS There are 138 of them and un­like bunkers at most cour­ses, there are al­most no flat bot­toms. Tour pros, who nor­mally don’t mind find­ing bunkers if they miss a green, will now have to suf­fer the con­se­quences of an end­less va­ri­ety of up­hill, down­hill and side­hill lies. They will have re­stricted back­swings, and at times won’t even be al­lowed to play at the green, let alone the pin. These are gen­uine haz­ards.

FLEX­I­BIL­ITY Erin Hills could play dif­fer­ently off the tee in each of the four rounds, thanks to the flex­i­bil­ity the ar­chi­tects em­bed­ded with their de­sign. Ev­ery hole, ex­cept the par-4 11th, has at least two dif­fer­ent tee­ing grounds. The par-5 18th has four grounds. Depend­ing on the yardage, the drive zone may be dif­fer­ent, and bunkers may come into play one round and be a non-fac­tor in an­other. Plus, the par-4 15th will likely be driv­able in at least one round.

SIX HOLE SHOOTER The last six holes on Sun­day could pro­vide a fran­tic fin­ish. There are two par 5s (14 and 18), two par 4s (15 and 17) and two par 3s (13 and 16). Par 72 cour­ses such as TPC Saw­grass and Au­gusta Na­tional have shown that hav­ing two par 5s on the back side can pro­duce fire­works down the stretch.

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