Mike Davis

Erin Hills — a short, strange trip to landing the U.S. Open

Erin Hills — a short, strange trip to landing the U.S. Open

Turn-of-the-20th-century clubs dominate the list of U.S. Open venues: Shinnecock Hills (established in 1891), Pinehurst (1895), Oakmont (1903).

Then there’s Erin Hills. It wasn’t even a golf course when the calendar flipped to 2000. But don’t let the newness fool you. This infant already has undergone a lifetime’s worth of face-lifts.

“A lot of history,” said Jim Reinhart, a Milwaukee-area investment manager and key figure in the intriguing tale, “in a short period of time.”

Start in 2001 with a transaction. Developer and greeting-card magnate Bob Lang purchases a 437-acre Wisconsin cattle farm, later supplementing it with 215 more acres. The crumpled and contoured land,...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
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