Erin Hills is nestled in the rolling hills of Wisconsin, about a 45-60 minute drive northwest of Milwaukee and just over 2 hours from Chicago. The golf course, first opened in 2006, will be the site of the 2017 U.S. Open, has already hosted the 2011 U.S. Amateur and 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, and is ranked #10 by Golf Digest in its list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. An 11 room lodge and four villas provide quaint, if not spartan, accommodations, while the on-site culinary options are restricted to a full menu at the restaurant in the Clubhouse and a bar menu at the Irish Pub.

We chose to utilize GoRiteway, the transportation service recommended on the Erin Hills web site, to provide van service from the Milwaukee airport. Given the surly desk attendant at the airport and the one hour wait for a shuttle after our arrival (even though we provided our arrival time as part of the reservation), we would probably just rent a car next time. We do note that the drivers were quite pleasant, and the trip back from the resort was fine.

After pulling into the resort you arrive at the Clubhouse, which, like the other buildings on site, features exteriors of weathered wood and stone that blend smoothly into the surroundings. You proceed through the lobby of the Clubhouse to the desk at the Pro Shop, which serves double duty for checking in and out of the resort and for your tee times.

Erin Hills

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Fitness Center
Pro Shop

The Lodge is a short walk down a few sets of stairs from the Clubhouse, and is situated between the practice facility and the first tee. The Irish Pub on the first floor has one main bar room, which extends into a back lounge with televisions and poker tables, and a separate conference room (we understand that Erin Hills hosts many Corporate events…time for a Critical Golf off-site!). The pub leads outdoors to a porch with rocking chairs where you can smoke your cigar and tell tall tales about your shots of the day. You can also enjoy the sunset on the outside patio, which has tables and three fire pits overlooking the first hole. The other buildings on site are two large “barns” that operate as shacks for caddies and equipment, as well as for events.

The most endearing aspect of the Lodge at Erin Hills is the service – the staff, particularly within the restaurant, are all unfailingly welcoming, friendly, and willing to please. Perhaps it’s just the personality of the Midwest, but it’s terrifically refreshing for those of us coming from other parts of the country. It’s hard to understate the goodwill engendered by the genuine and engaging interactions we had with a variety of staff members.

Some of that goodwill, however, was eroded by our experience in the rooms. We booked single rooms within the Lodge, which is designed to resemble an inn one might stumble upon in the Irish countryside, complete with “antique furnishings” and “simple elegance.” The motif was fine, but the inferior finishes, cramped quarters, noise level and failures with modern technology in the room (see “Accommodations” below) led to a subpar experience. There are 11 rooms located on three floors of the Lodge, a combination of singles, one double, and one two-bedroom suite. The ground floor is predominantly occupied by the Irish Pub, with the bulk of the rooms on the second and third floors.

The Lodge at Erin Hills takes pride in the purity of its focus on golf, and we appreciate some aspects of that experience, such as the rules on walking-only and the convenience of being literally steps away from the first tee and the driving range/practice area. The lack of a fitness center, hot tub and massage facility…not so much.

We enjoyed our stay at Erin Hills – the grounds are picturesque, the people are fantastic, and the golf is spectacular. These factors, combined with relatively low price points both for the lodging and food, helped offset some hiccups with the rooms. On a future trip, we would probably opt for staying in one of the free-standing villas, which should alleviate the noise problems and provide a bit more space with a central common room that includes a fireplace and wet bar.

Another option if you have a bit more time and would like to play some additional golf is to stay at Whistling Straits, which is about an hour and a half drive from Erin Hills. There are multiple accommodation options near Whistling Straits and four spectacular courses, including the Straits course, the site of the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships, the 2007 U.S. Senior Open and the 2020 Ryder Cup.

94 / A


80 / B-






84 / B


85 / B


Erin Hills Dining

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89 / B+


90 / A-


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