The next great par-3 course? The Baths at Blackwolf Run arrives in 2021

Holes at The Baths at Blackwolf Run will mostly range from 60 to 160 yards.

Courtesy Destination Kohler


It’s not just for yoga classes anymore.

At top golf resorts, flexibility refers to a range of options that open up the game to all abilities and ages. It means providing guests with a rollicking good time beyond the traditional 18 holes. And it happens through entertaining new venues like the one Destination Kohler has in store.

On Tuesday morning, the acclaimed Wisconsin resort, which is home to Whistling Straits and three other celebrated Pete Dye layouts, gave a sneak peek at plans for The Baths of Blackwolf Run, a short game complex featuring a 10-hole par-3 course and a two-acre putting course, both slated to open in June, 2021.

Located on 27 acres between the first and 11th holes of the Meadow Valleys course at Blackwolf Run, the Baths will complement Kohler’s existing courses with a highly adaptable golf experience for newbies and seasoned players alike. Set on scenic, glacier-etched terrain, the par-3 course will have holes that range in length from 60 to 160 yards, with three tee boxes on each (golfers who really want to test their skills will be able to stretch some holes as far back as 220 yards). Four water hazards will ornament the grounds, but no forced carries will be required, unless a golfer wants to take them on. Though the course will typically play as a 10-hole layout, an inventive routing will allow for three, six or 12-hole loops as well.

The putting course will also offer options. Golfers will be able to play it as an 18 or 27-hole routing.

“Fun is such a big part of any short game experience,” says Dirk Willis, Kohler’s vice president of golf, landscape and retail. “We wanted to create a flexibility that allows us to do pretty much whatever we want with the courses while keeping the same architectural integrity that our existing courses do. We wanted it to have that Kohler stamp.”

To that end, the resort tapped Pete Dye protege Chris Lutzke for the project. A respected veteran of golf design, Lutzke worked for 30 years alongside Dye on many of the late, great architect’s most vaunted layouts, including Whistling Straits, a course that Lutzke spent the past two years fine-tuning in preparation for the the 2020 Ryder Cup (an event that has now been pushed back to the fall of 2021). For The Baths, Kohler Co. chairman Herb Kohler is credited as Lutzke’s co-designer, drawing on his decades of experience traveling to and studying many of the greatest courses in the United States and Europe.

The result is a design aesthetically in keeping with the four other courses at Destination Kohler.

“Our other courses are known for having some of the most visually dramatic 3s anywhere,” Willis says. “At The Baths, one thing you’ll find is that the holes are every bit as stunning. They could easily fit in at those other courses.”

With its name, The Baths pays homage to Kohler Co.’s 128-year history as a leading manufacturer of faucets and other bathing products. The water hazards give the name a double meaning.

Private parties. Corporate outings. Laid-back rounds with family and friends. The Baths is meant to welcome all comers for all kinds of occasions. A food and beverage terrace, replete with fire pits, will overlook the par-3 and putting courses, perfect for spectating or as a post-round hangout.

Guests on golf packages at Destination Kohler will enjoy complimentary use of the Baths. But all-day access will also be available for $75 per person. Children 17 and under will get in free when in the company of a paying adult.

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josh sens

Josh Sens Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.