Kohler's American Club etches trace into RonMon's soul
Destination: Kohler, seemed like an appropriate log entry on Friday, Mem Weekend 1 as three guys piled into a beaten but proud 1998 Caravan, 11 hours shy of Kohler, Wisconsin. The land of milk and honey (not to mention cheese and big flags) beckoned like Eden, Valhalla, or the Ganges, calling us to the shores of Lake Michigan, reworked by the architect and Herb Kohler to resemble something natural, from somewhere else. Having surveyed the two route options, we decided to avoid the Buffalo-Fort Erie and Windsor-Detroit international-incident stops and stick to a NY-PA-OH-IN-IL-WI approach.
We arrived around 11:30 CST, the beneficiaries of an hour savings when we crossed the time zone demarcation. Ahead of us were the four courses of the Apocalypse (two at Blackwolf Run, two more at Whistling Straits), the sumptuous accommodations at The American Club, and the amenities of a guys’ weekend away from reality’s harsh siren call.
The main stretch of Kohler that leads to The American Club is a novelty. Part Disney, Part Williamsburg, Part Wonka. It is so clean that I asked myself, can it be so, anywhere? The wood is so rich on the buildings that I wondered, how is it so, anywhere? The employees are so precise in their duties that I pondered, why is it so, anywhere? In the end, my assessment of The American Club experience is, simply, that I was profoundly reinvigorated, refreshed, and rejuvenated (although I hardly remember the original invgoration, freshening, and juvenation) by all these “so’s.”
The golfing grounds at Kohler are divided into two separate camps. The Blackwolf Run courses (River and Meadows Valley) are jungle golf, meanderings over, under, through, and across wilderness likely encountered by Lewis and Clark, then enhanced by the diabolical misgivings of Paul “P.D.” Dye. For those outside the know, “P.D.” evolved into “Petey,” which became “Pete.”
The two courses up the road in Haven (how ironic!) are the dressing on a re-creation of an Irish landscape. With soil and sand trucked in by the … truckload, Dye first built the land, then carved the Irish and Straits courses. Although some ten miles separate from Blackwolf Run, this pair of old-world links might indeed be found a continent to the east.
Consider this my run-up to the main event. In future blogs I will address in detail each of the elements of the Mem Weekend that made it … memorable.
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