A new 10-hole par-three golf course called The Baths and designed by Chris Lutzke and Kohler Co. executive chairman Herb Kohler has opened for play at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Blackwolf Run and sister club Whistling Straits are owned by the Kohler Company, and the two clubs have four courses designed by Pete and Alice Dye, including the Straits course, host of three PGA Championships and the 2021 Ryder Cup.
When the courses at Blackwolf Run were laid out in the late 1980s, an area of land was set aside for future development between the first and eleventh holes of the club’s Meadow Valleys course.
“Over the years, and with short courses becoming more popular and useful, it was decided that the unused piece of land – just an empty field really – would be used for a new short layout and putting course,” said Lutzke.
Lutzke and Herb Kohler came up with a design for the 27-acre parcel of land with holes ranging from 60 to 160 yards. The course’s name is a reference to its four lakes, but there are no forced carries.
“The Baths will be a new twist for our resort guests, regardless of if they are a serious player wanting to hone their game or someone yearning for an extraordinary closer to an amazing day on one of our 18-hole golf courses,” said Dirk Willis, vice president of golf for Kohler Co. “Our continued mission is to find new and innovative ways to grow the game and make it more inviting and accessible to all. The Baths of Blackwolf Run allows us to do just that.”
Lutzke worked closely with IVI-Golf from an early stage of the project, with its PermaEdge Bunker System selected for installation on the short course. “An important consideration was adaptability of the synthetic wall structure and installation techniques to conform to the desired design goals,” said Chuck Hutton of IVI-Golf. “PermaEdge has proven to be capable of delivering the goals Chris was looking for. In addition, the long-term integrity of the PermaEdge method will provide aesthetics and maintenance efficiencies for years to come.”
IVI-Golf was able to meet the precise delivery schedules required for the project. “Our technical team were also made available to be on site during project start-up, providing critical training and guidance for the PermaEdge installation, ensuring a quality build and labour efficiencies,” said Hutton. “This support proved to be essential to achieve the end results they desired.”
A two-acre putting course has also been created. “Initially there were a couple of different sites for the putting course,” said Lutzke. “But we decided to tie everything together – both the short and putting courses and a pavilion – so that people could gather around at the pavilion and watch others play.”
“We look for ways to enhance the golf experience and grow the game for all golfers,” said Kohler. “The Baths complements our four world-renowned championship golf courses while also honouring Kohler Co.’s 130-year history of bathing design. We are delighted to officially open this exciting and unique course.”