Erin Hills G.C. - No. 1
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Erin Hills G.C. - No. 1
The opening hole at Erin Hills is a moderately difficult par 5. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills golf course - No. 3
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Erin Hills golf course - No. 3
The par-4 third hole plays from one of several elevated tees at Erin Hills. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills G.C. - No. 4
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Erin Hills G.C. - No. 4
It's a good idea to avoid the bunkers at Erin Hills. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills golf course - No. 6
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Erin Hills golf course - No. 6
Walking up the sixth fairway at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills G.C. - No. 7
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Erin Hills G.C. - No. 7
The par-5 seventh at Erin Hills, at 605 yards from the back tee, is the no. 1 handicap hole on the golf course. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills golf course - No. 9
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Erin Hills golf course - No. 9
It's only 165 yards from the back tees, but Erin Hills' par-3 ninth is one of the toughest par 3s anywhere. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills G.C. - No. 11
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Erin Hills G.C. - No. 11
Large bunkers, like this one on the par-4 11th hole, are often better landing areas than the deep rough at Erin Hills. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills golf course - No. 12
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Erin Hills golf course - No. 12
The 466-yard, par-4 12th at Erin Hills plays over and back down a large hill. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills G.C. - No. 13
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Erin Hills G.C. - No. 13
The par-3 13th is rated as the easiest hole at Erin Hills (though no hole is easy). Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills golf course - No. 14
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Erin Hills golf course - No. 14
There's nothing simple about the third shot approach on the par-5 14th at Erin Hills. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills G.C. - No. 16
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Erin Hills G.C. - No. 16
Erin Hills' 200-yard, par-3 17th gives golfers a bit of a break before they take on the incredibly tough finishing hole. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills GC - 18th hole
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Erin Hills GC - 18th hole
With Holy Hill in the background, golfers will need more than luck on their side to tackle Erin Hills' 660-yard, par-5 18th. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills golf course - bell
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Erin Hills golf course - bell
The bell that players used to ring on the old par-3 seventh hole (now a par 5) remains on the course and is pictured in Erin Hills' logo. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Erin Hills G.C. - Caddie barn
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Erin Hills G.C. - Caddie barn
The caddie barn at Erin Hills was actually transplanted from Iowa. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor

Erin Hills golf course: 2017 U.S. Open venue is among America's most picturesque

ERIN, Wis. -- Erin Hills, site of the 2017 U.S. Open and the 2011 U.S. Amateur won by Kelly Kraft, is undoubtedly one of the America's most stunning golf courses.

And when the wind is up, it's also one of the country's most difficult, especially from the back tees at 7,812 yards (rated 77.9/145). Although the course is only seven years old, it's already undergone some tweaking. A few of the holes have been changed, including the removal of the old par-3 seventh, where players used to ring a bell when they were clear of the green. The bell remains as a symbol of the course.

Although Erin Hills, which was designed by Mike Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten, certainly looks like a links course, it's more of a hybrid, playing links-like off the tee, but more traditional into the difficult elevated greens, which are usually well guarded by bunkers and tall fescue. The course also features two of the toughest finishing holes on each nine. The par-3 ninth has no bailout. Players usually make par or a number higher than bogey, which is probably the rarest score on the hole. The 660-yard 18th, simply put, requires three well-struck shots to hit the green.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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Erin Hills golf course: 2017 U.S. Open venue is among America's most picturesque
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