The Baths at Blackwolf Run will be the latest new short course at a big-time golf resort

The 10-hole par-3 course and adjacent 2-acre putting course will focus on fun and flexibility.

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Ever since it opened in the late 1980s, Destination Kohler has been one of America's most serious golf resorts. Upscale accommodations, impeccable service and four acclaimed golf courses that have held several major championships have earned it a place on practically every golfer's bucket list. Those courses include the River Course at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits, which along with their respective sister courses form a quartet of great Pete Dye designs with a reputation for at times brutal levels of challenge. The state-of-the-art Kohler showers available in every guestroom and suite can be a welcome relief after a round of golf on such difficult courses.

So, too, will a new short course, set to debut on property in 2021, ahead of the rescheduled Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. It's called The Baths at Blackwolf Run, and will be located beside that property's River and Meadow Valleys layouts. Combining a 10-hole par-3 course and a two-acre putting course, it will add Destination Kohler to a growing fraternity of prominent resorts and destinations making sizable bets on small-ball golf via new short courses.

In keeping with the styling of the resort's golf, it will be take on the distinctive look of Pete Dye's courses. The task of imagining what Dye might have done with the available land falls to architect Chris Lutzke, who worked with Dye on projects such as the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort and Dye Fore at Casa De Campo. Expect undulating greens, pot bunkers and evocative shaping to provide a gentle challenge with a bit of mischief.

In addition to being objectively fun and welcoming amenities to add to a golf facility, short courses are viewed as trendy, in light of several high-profile openings in the last decade, from 2012's unveiling of the 13-hole Bandon Preserve up to the opening of Forest Dunes' new 10-hole Short Course, crafted by up-and-coming architects Riley Johns and Keith Rhebb.

Short courses built at notable golf resorts: 1957 - 2020 and beyond
These 20 facilities represent a fraction of the available short courses for golfers, but they are among the most influential in North America.
Pebble Beach, California
Resort
4.6666666667
3
Gaylord, Michigan
Resort
4.9607882353
15
Owens Cross Roads, Alabama
Public
4.3444294118
34
Mobile, Alabama
Public
4.3090294118
60
Birmingham, Alabama
Public
4.5481058824
113
Greenville, Alabama
Public
4.6414647059
28
Opelika, Alabama
Public
4.4470941176
63
Dothan, Alabama
Public
4.9215647059
18
Glencoe, Alabama
Public
4.7611882353
31
Valentine, Nebraska
Semi-Private/Resort
0.0
0
Bandon, Oregon
Resort
4.9327764706
11
Hollister, Missouri
Resort
4.8823529412
10
Cabo San Lucas , Los Cabos
Private/Resort
4.0
1
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Resort
4.4117647059
5
Fort Meade, Florida
Resort
5.0
1
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Resort
0.0
0
Nekoosa, Wisconsin
Resort
4.2058823529
9

But short courses have been part of resort golf - not to mention more local community golf - longer than many people realize. The Peter Hay course at Pebble Beach Resorts dates to 1957, though when it reopens after Tiger Woods' revamp next year, it will essentially be brand new.

The early 1990s saw a mini-boom in construction of complimentary par-3 courses at established facilities. That was the year that the Threetops course at Treetops Resort came on the scene in Northern Michigan. And between 1992 and 1993, the Robert Trent Jones Trail incorporated both 9- and 18-hole short courses into seven of its own facilities.

Part of the recent increase in attention on short courses is a function of economics. New-course construction is currently a trickle compared to the early 90s, so while a single entity building four new short courses in 2020 would be major news, it likely got lost in the shuffle in a busy year for new championship and short courses alike.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
3 Comments
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Commented on

New putting course at Erin Hills is awsome.

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For those of us who have no idea whatsoever of where to find Destination Kohler, it would be nice if you let us in on the secret, without having to look it up. To me, Kohler is a make of small internal combustion engines. I had no idea they were in to golf resorts.

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It's next to Sheboygan,WI (about 60 miles north of Milwaukee. I went there in Sep 2011 - best golf trip of my life.

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The Baths at Blackwolf Run will be the latest new short course at a big-time golf resort