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Playing Kohler

Meadow Valleys Course
7,142 yards, par 72 // Rating/Slope: 74.7/143

Although you might quibble with a few of Dye's less endearing touches--the half-blind second shot to a one-lane landing area on the par-five eleventh, the pyramid green on the short par-four thirteenth, the gargantuan crease bisecting the middle of the 227-yard par-three fifteenth that appears to have been molded from the buttocks of the Jolly Green Giant--Meadow Valleys is a relatively fair and straightforward layout. The ninth hole, for example (a lake-lined, dogleg-right 462-yard par four), offers shot-making options of a kind that the River course doesn't. Long hitters can cut yardage by carrying part of an oblong fairway bunker guarding the right side of the landing area in front of the lake. Medium and short knockers can take the higher percentage route left of the bunker without fear of driving through the fairway. Dye has provided a moderately generous entrance ramp that allows you to roll a long iron or fairway wood all the way to the putting surface on your second shot. He even gives chronic slicers enough layup width in the fairway to play the ninth as a par five or a par four and a half.

Like the pond-protected, 240-yard par-three eighth, the fourteenth will take your breath away both because of its beauty and its difficulty. Long hitters beware: A well-struck downwind drive may clear the fairway and dive into a ravine. But if you lay back, you'll have an extremely long second shot to a deeply sunken green surrounded by water on three sides and leaving little margin for error long or right.

Known as Salmon Trap, the eighteenth is actually two holes with two separate greens--one for men, the other for women. Played from the black tees, the eighteenth is a 458-yard par four that doglegs to the right over the Sheboygan River. To get home in two, you have to carry the river and avoid two stands of trees and a pot bunker. But at fifty-five paces the green is the largest on the course. Even if you slice your approach over the trees, you may still have a putt at the hole because you could end up on the eighteenth green of the River course, which adjoins the putting surface of the eighteenth at Meadow Valleys, in the style of the double greens on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Although Meadow Valleys is sometimes treated like a red-headed stepchild by visiting golfers who have been blinded by the publicity lavished on the River course and Whistling Straits, that's a true injustice and a backhanded slap at Pete Dye. And given his influence over your golfing destiny in Kohler, Pete Dye is not the kind of fellow you want to insult.


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