It's a geographical feature in Wisconsin where colliding glaciers centuries ago created beautiful farmland, 632 acres of it turned into the 11-year-old Erin Hills Golf Course, which will host the open for the first time. The event will make its initial appearance in the Cheese State.
Located northwest of Milwaukee, Erin Hills appears in better championship condition than the immature Chambers Bay, which brought the United States Golf Association a storm of derision two years ago. That was followed last year by the USGA ruling penalizing champion Dustin Johnson for the phantom motion of his ball on a green.
I like the tournament better when it is played on a a course with a long Open history. That brings a sense of the game's traditions and the possibility of comparing contemporary and past performances.
The USGA in recent years has sought a balance between historic and new courses. Twice holding the championship at public Bethpage Black turned out well. The Chambers Bay event was a debacle, with all respect to Jason Speith's dramatic win.
Golf's ruling body shouldn't be bound to the past, and shows respect for the game's future by choosing new courses for its signature tournament. They make a mistake when heading to a place like Chambers Bay just because of its novelty.
Sounds like Erin Hills meets the standards of the best championship courses. After a couple of years of controversy, the USGA is hoping that the golf course receives praise as a tough but fair test, respected by players, the media and the public. Some controversy is likely to develop, but a focus on play rather than the course's drawbacks and USGA rulings would be welcome.