2006 a banner year for Hurdzan/Fry Golf Course Design
After the interview, it was my even greater pleasure to sip an 18-year-old single-malt Scotch with Dr. Hurdzan and his colleagues and tour the extensive collection of golf memorabilia and equipment housed in museum-like fashion in the offices. (Unfortunately, Dr. Hurdzan’s partner in design, Dana Fry was out of town at the time.)
The information and hospitality shared with me at that time reinforced my view of Hurdzan/Fry course designs as simultaneously exacting and accommodating, ideal for serious golfers who demand both strategic and risk-reward features as well as recreational duffers who simply want great scenery and memorable holes.
Their design philosophy of providing playability at affordable prices, which is usually not a combination that course architecture critics favor highly, is paying off handsomely, it seems. 2006 proved to be a great year for Hurdzan/Fry, as their courses chalked up several prestigious awards, adding to an already crowded trophy shelf.
Foremost among the accolades is the naming of Erin Hills Golf Course as Golf Magazine’s “Best New Course of the Year.” Erin Hills is located 35 miles north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is described by Hurdzan as, “the most minimalist course we have ever done.”
Despite Hurdzan’s philosophy of designing courses to be fun and affordable for non-competitors, Erin Hills has already been chosen by the USGA to host the 2008 U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship. According to a press release by Hurdzan/Fry, it might even “be on the fast track for a U.S. Open Championship, maybe as soon as 2017.”
Mike Davis, senior director of rules and competitions for the USGA says, “[Erin Hills] is such a spectacular piece of property, and I can’t remember when I’ve seen land like this in the Midwest. It just doesn’t exist.”
The course might not qualify as “a mountain,” not even a little one, but the 17th tee is the highest point in the area, with a great view of Lake Erie.
The only problem with a great year like 2006 is trying to follow it. But if their past record is any indication, Hurdzan/Fry are up to the task.
If you haven’t played a Hurdzan/Fry design, I would highly recommend doing so in the coming year. Make it a New Year’s resolution.
I know that playing Erin Hills will be one of mine.
Erin Hills was named by Golf Magazine as the Best New Course of 2006.
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I would like to thank you for including Erin Hills in your kind remarks about Hurdzan-Fry. They are most deserving.
Erin Hills is a natural design. That said, we only moved dirt substantially on the upper fairway of the first hole. We cut a 100 yard fairway into the side of a ridge. The rest of the movement was basically cosmetic. Even the greens were covered into the natural terrain with the exception of #1.
If you would like to see more of Erin Hills, please visit erinhills.com. On the Home Page, you can view the "Now Open" music video. I can assure you that everything on the video represents the land as we found it.
I must also mention that Ron Whitten, Golf Digest, was one of the three architects, along with Hurdzan-Fry.
Thank you so much for your interest.