I was able to play Whistling Straights in Haven, Wisconsin at the end of October, just two days before the club closes down for the season. I happened to be in Chicago for the weekend and thought it would be my best chance to get to Wisconsin and play the Straights. So I hopped in a rental car at O’hare and made the 2 hour trek.
Given that this was a quick in and out trip, I passed on staying at the famous American Club and instead chose to stay at the Comfort Inn, Sheboygan, which happens to be the closest lodging to Whistling Straights. Even though I didn’t spend the night at the American Club, I stopped on the way through and did a quick tour of the establishment. I could not have been more impressed with what I saw and was actually blown away by how nice it is.
From the lounging areas, selection of restaurants, wine bars, pubs and the overall atmosphere of the place, there is little left to be desired. The first thing I thought of when getting a tour was how awesome the American Club would be a for a golf trip with a group of buddies. It has everything you could want.. After walking through the maze like structure of the American Club I headed a few miles north to my motel. It had been a long day traveling from South Florida and I was beat.
I had a twilight tee-time the next afternoon which saved me over a hundred bucks and I also passed on hiring a caddy, which you are allowed to do for twilight. Again, it was late in the year and I just wanted to primarily see the course and play a relaxing round before getting back to Chicago that evening. I was able to see the reservation sheet and there was no one playing in front of me for two hours. That being said, the staff, for some odd reason, made me wait around to the exact second before letting me start. Rules are rules, and I was paying $100 less for the twilights rate, but come on, it was 48 degrees and we were two days away from the course closing for the winter.
Anyway, at 2pm and not a second earlier I was given the green light to tee off with not a golfer in front of me for at least 7 holes. The afternoon I played, there was a system coming up from the south and it brought winds of 25mph with it. It didn’t have a huge effect on the first hole which heads out of the clubhouse, east towards the lake, but the next 3 holes were nasty, playing directly into gusts of 35mph head on.
Most holes at Whistling Straights run along Lake Michigan north to south or south to north with the exception of 1, 9 and 18, so strong winds out of the north and south can make playing conditions extremely tough for the average golfer. I ended up playing a pretty good round of golf despite the brutal conditions and flew through the course in a blistering 3:20 minutes. I’ve read some horror stories about how long a round can take at the Straights so I was thrilled with how quickly I was able to get through 18 without rushing any of my shots.
The Straights at Whistling Straights in Haven, Wisconsin
After finishing up I took a quick shower in the upstairs locker room and headed back to Chicago for the night. Whistling Straights definitely lived up to expectation and I would love to make it back again. I am sure golf in this area is crazy busy during the summer high season. My recommendation is that you try and play the Straights during the months of May, June, September and early October.