Designer talks about proposed Kohler golf course

TOWN OF WILSON – World-renowned golf course designer Pete Dye says he is ready to build another golf course for Kohler Company, even at his age of 88 years old.

“Still digging,” said Dye.

Kohler Company wants to build a course on about 250 acres of wooded land it owns in Sheboygan County. It’s just north of Kohler Andrae State Park.

Dye designed the Kohler-owned courses at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run in Sheboygan County. He says the plans for another course are much different.

“It’s on sand, so it’s an entirely different base than the Blackwolf or Whistling Straits, that’s clay,” said Dye.

Dye says he spent 120 days in Wisconsin when Whistling Straits was being built. He doesn’t expect to be here as long for the new course, because there won’t be extra time trucking in loads of sand.

“All the great courses in Scotland and Ireland that are really great are all on sand and this one’s on sand,” said Dye.

Dye’s work on the other Kohler courses has brought major events to the area. Blackwolf Run has hosted two women’s U.S. Opens. Next year, Whistling Straits will host its third PGA Championship.

Dye says the new 18-hole course will also be built for championships.

“It’s got plenty of land, it’s all fine, so if it goes bad, it’s my mistake,” said Dye.

Not all the neighbors of the proposed course are on board with the plan. Some spoke against it at a recent Town of Wilson board meeting.

“There are other places he could be doing this,” said Kathleen Rammer of the Town of Wilson.

“It will be top-notch development,” said Mike Basch of the Town of Wilson. “A little on the selfish side, I live right in the backyard, it’s fun to hike. It’s a great piece of land so I will miss that, but it won’t be shoddy that’s for sure.”

Dye says the course will take advantage of the land, like the woods and being on Lake Michigan.

“A lot of it will stay in the wooded areas, so it’ll be fine,” said Dye.

Dye hopes to begin work on the course before winter.

“As soon as they get the permits, we’ll start,” said Dye. “The permits out to come fairly quickly this summer.”

Once construction starts, Dye says it should take between a year and a year and a half to finish the course.

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