Taking the U.S. Open to a new golf course is a big deal.
At this point, there are more questions than answers about the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills Golf Course in Wisconsin. How will the players like a course they know little to nothing about? What can spectators expect in terms of logistics such as parking hassles and viewer experiences?
We’ve created a handy spectator guide to answer a few of those questions.
Where is the 2017 US Open?
Erin Hills Golf Course is located in tiny Hartford, Wis., located 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee. The rolling terrain is typical of the region’s Kettle Moraine, which was carved into valleys and hills by colliding glaciers centuries ago.
Who designed the US Open golf course?
It’s rare for three architects to share the spotlight for a single course design, but that’s exactly what Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten are doing. Fry was once a protégé of Hurdzan, working together on dozens of projects out of Hurdzan’s office in Columbus, Ohio, before splitting off on his own in 2012. Whitten, a writer/editor covering course architecture for Golf Digest, brought another perspective to the table, having studied courses around the world.
How much do US Open golf tickets cost?
The U.S. Open offers three types of tickets: 1, Gallery tickets providing access to the course; 2, Trophy Club tickets with access to the course as well as a tented, air-conditioned pavilion with separate restrooms and food and beverage available for purchase; and 3, 1895 Club tickets offering access to the course and an all-inclusive tented facility with food and beverages (and alcohol) included in the price.
Gallery tickets are $450 for the week, $400 for the four-day tournament and $100 for three practice rounds. Individual days cost $50 for Monday and Tuesday, $60 for Wednesday, $110 for Thursday’s first round and $125 any weekend day during the final three rounds. Trophy Club tickets cost $700 for the week, $625 for the tournament and $150 for three practice rounds. Individual days cost $75 for Monday and Tuesday, $90 for Wednesday, $185 for Thursday’s first round and $200 for any of the final three rounds. As of mid-May, weekend daily tickets and weekly passes to the 1895 Club were sold out, leaving any of the three practice rounds available at $250 per day and Thursday’s first round at $370.
Junior tickets are ALWAYS available at will call and admission gates, regardless of a sellout. These tickets can’t be purchased in advance. Every adult ticket holder can only buy two of these tickets. Ages 12 and under are complimentary every day. Trophy Club or Gallery ticketholders buying tickets for juniors ages 13-17 will pay $20 for practice rounds and $40 for tournament days. For 1895 Club ticket holders, junior tickets cost $75 for practice rounds and $130 for tournament rounds.
Not sure what to wear as a fan attending the U.S. Open? There’s no set dress code besides dressing appropriately for a golf course (no bikini or tank tops, etc.). Just remember that the forecast for early summer in the Midwest could range from freezing to smoking hot, so check the weather to determine whether it’s a shorts or pants kind of day.
To purchase tickets from the USGA, click here.
US Open parking: Where do spectators park at Erin Hills?
Unless you have an onsite parking pass, all complimentary parking will be provided at two large parking lots, the RED lot due east of Erin Hills and the BLUE lot due south. Complimentary shuttle transportation will be provided from both parking areas to and from Erin Hills and is expected to take approximately 25 minutes in each direction.
The USGA encourages all fans utilizing I-94 from Madison, points south and west of Milwaukee or Chicago to follow signs to the BLUE Lot. Fans utilizing I-41/I-45 and traveling from points north of Milwaukee are encouraged to follow signs to the RED Lot.
For more information from the USGA, click here.
How do I qualify for the US Open?
Who qualifies for the U.S. Open golf tournament is not as clear cut as it seems. Great players don’t always get in. For example, Wisconsin native Steve Stricker couldn’t get in this year and his request for a special exemption was denied.
If you’re not a PGA TOUR pro already exempt, you face a grueling qualifying process. Any professional or amateur with 1.4 handicap index or below can sign up to qualify. This year, more than 9,000 golfers are competing at 114 events in May around America, first in 18-hole local qualifiers and then 36-hole sectional qualifiers (there are several sectionals overseas as well). In this way, the U.S. Open is the most democratic of the four major championships. A golfer can go from nobody to somebody if he qualifies.
It’s worth the effort, considering the U.S. Open purse size has ballooned to $12 million, the richest in professional golf. What does the winner of the U.S. Open receive? Only $2.16 million. What does second place in the U.S. Open earn you? You become an instant millionaire.
Many don’t realize that the U.S. Open trophy doesn’t have a fancy name like the claret jug, but who wouldn’t want it on their mantel?
Where to play golf near Erin Hills
Milwaukee offers a smorgasbord of courses. Brown Deer Golf Course used to host a PGA TOUR stop for many years. Arnold Palmer designed The Bog in Saukville north of the city on the way to the four famous Pete Dye courses at the American Club in Kohler. If you can’t afford the River and Meadow Valleys at Blackwolf Run and the Straits and Irish courses at Whistling Straits, try the Bull at Pinehurst Farms in nearby Sheboygan Falls instead.
Madison delivers one of the great college courses, University Ridge Golf Course, in Verona. The highly regarded Links at Lawsonia in Green Lake is pretty remote, but the 36-hole facility sits in the middle of Madison and Erin Hills, located 70 miles north of each destination. Further flung (two hours northwest of Erin Hills) is the blossoming Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa.
U.S. Open golf TV Schedule
FOX will broadcast more than 45 hours of coverage – an increase of five hours from last year - across FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports Go app. First and second rounds of the event will run from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. EST each day on FS1, with FOX taking over from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Weekend rounds will be televised on FOX beginning at 11 a.m.
How do you watch online? Go to usopen.com to watch two featured groups and a featured hole from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday and starting at 11 a.m. on the weekend.