Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 5
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 5
The par-4 fifth hole might be the most beautiful on the River Course at Blackwolf Run. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 3
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 3
The third is the No. 1 handicap hole on the River Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 8
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 8
You can't see much from the tee at "Hell's Gate" -- the par-5 eighth hole on the River Course at Blackwolf Run. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 9
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 9
Is the risk worth the reward on the short par-4 ninth hole on the River Course at Blackwolf Run? Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 10
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 10
Slicers better beware of the par-3 10th hole on the River Course at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 12
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 12
The river winds through the par-5 12th hole of the River Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 13
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 13
The par-3 13th hole on the River Course at Blackwolf Run -- named "Tall Timber" -- is a tall task for most players. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 14
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 14
All players see is water on the 14th tee of the River Course at Blackwolf Run. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 16
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 16
The par-5 16th hole on the River golf course at Blackwolf Run finishes dramatically along the river. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 17
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 17
Don't hook it left on the par-3 17th hole of the River Course at Blackwolf Run. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 18
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Blackwolf Run - River golf course - hole 18
The 18th hole is a scenic finish to the River Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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Something to see: Find your flow on the River golf course at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin

KOHLER, Wis. -- The Sheboygan River twists and meanders through the River Course at Blackwolf Run, almost as if Pete Dye dug the riverbank and poured the water in himself.

That's how intimately -- and wonderfully -- the river interacts with the golf course, a stunning track ranked No. 15 among the top 100 public courses in the country by Golf Digest.

The natural setting looks like an oil painting come to life. It's hard to call something so beautiful a house of horror, but this place devours weak shots. Golf Digest ranked it No. 32 on its list of the top 75 hardest golf courses in the country.

The fifth hole -- named "Made in Heaven" -- kick-starts a round that never lets up in its ferocity. The tee shot falls from an elevated tee to a fairway protected by a deep bunker and the river up the entire right side. The approach climbs to an elevated green. The river, coupled with several strategically placed trees, continues to define great holes like the risk-reward par-4 10th, the par-3 13th and the par-5 16th.

A two-year renovation completed in time for the 2012 U.S. Women's Open gave the course 400 additional yards in length, refurbished bunkers and resurfaced the greens and fairways with slick, hardy creeping bentgrass.

"The River Course is intimidating," said Dirk Willis, the manager of operations and merchandising at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits. "People lose a lot more balls on the River than the Straits.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Golfers have four great reasons to visit The American Club. All four Pete Dye courses at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits are considered among the best in the country. And the quaint village of Kohler, a master-planned community, serves as the perfect Midwestern backdrop for a destination seemingly trapped in time. Here are 10 reasons to visit The American Club.
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Something to see: Find your flow on the River golf course at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin