As much buzz as Blue Mound Golf & Country Club hosting the 100th Wisconsin State Open is sure to create this August, the venues for the start of the next 100 years of the Wisconsin PGA's signature event are sure to turn heads, too.
The governing body of Wisconsin's club professionals not only unveiled this week the dates and locations for its major competitions in 2020, but it also announced sites for many of those events through 2023. Among them: the State Open in 2021 (Blackwolf Run in Kohler and Pine Hills Country Club in Sheboygan), 2022 (Ozaukee Country Club in Mequon) and 2023 (SentryWorld Golf Course in Stevens Point).
Future WPGA major championship sites
|WISCONSIN STATE OPEN|
|2020||Blue Mound G&CC-Wauwatosa|
|2021||Blackwolf Run-Koher/Pine Hills CC-Sheboygan|
|2023||SentryWorld GC-Stevens Point|
|WISCONSIN STATE WOMEN'S OPEN|
|2020||Legend at Brandybrook GC-Wales|
|2021||GCs of Lawsonia/Links Course-Green Lake|
|WISCONSIN STATE SENIOR OPEN|
|2024||North Shore GC-Menasha|
|2025||Geneva National GC-Lake Geneva|
|WPGA PROFESSIONALS CHAMPIONSHIP|
|2020||Green Bay CC|
|2022||Legend at Bergamont GC-Oregon|
|WPGA MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP|
|2020||North Shore CC-Mequon|
|2021||Geneva National GC-Lake Geneva|
|WPGA SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP &
WIS. ASSISTANTS CHAMPIONSHIP
"I'd credit Joe for that," WPGA assistant director Chris Hoel said of his boss, executive director Joe Stadler, securing commitments from top courses for many of the WPGA's premier events for the next three years. "Joe has really pushed hard and spent some time to get some future sites nailed down. He used late September and October to really get the ball rolling, both with our regular schedule and the future events to try and map out a plan."
After expanding to 204 golfers and being played over two courses at Geneva National Golf Club in Lake Geneva this year, the State Open will revert to a 156-player field in 2020 for the celebration of the 100th championship at Blue Mound, which played host to the first State Open in 1919. The WPGA will conduct the second year of its experiment with a 204-player field in 2021 before deciding whether to continue the practice going forward and find secondary courses for Ozaukee and SentryWorld to keep the field at 204.
Meanwhile, the WPGA has changed up the secondary course for the 2021 State Open in the Sheboygan area. After initially pairing the Irish Course at Whistling Straits in Haven with the Meadow Valleys Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Hoel said Pine Hills CC was chosen to host half of the field each of the first two days of the 72-hole event before the field is cut to the low 60 plus ties for the 36-hole Wednesday finale back at the Meadow Valleys Course.
"We felt the proximity (between Blackwolf Run and Pine Hills) was going to be helpful," Hoel said, explaining that Pine Hills is seven miles closer to Blackwolf Run than Whistling Straits and that there were other pace-of-play concerns in an event were he estimates close to two-thirds of the field uses carts.
"As you know, the Irish Course is cart-path only and that would have been an additional challenge to get people around the golf course," he said. "But the proximity is going to be helpful because, in the rules of golf, it basically says you are supposed to discontinue play and re-start play at the exact same time when you have a two-course event going. The weather can be quite different at the Irish Course vs. the Meadow Valleys with the Irish being right on the lake (Lake Michigan) and Meadow Valleys being a little bit inland."
For now, the WPGA's focus is on the 100th State Open Aug. 17-19 and trying to engage as many former champions as it can to be a presence at the event besides two-time defending champion Dan Woltman, the former University of Wisconsin golfer from Beaver Dam who is seeking a record-tying fifth title. Blue Mound has hosted five State Opens, including two of the first three, but hasn't been in the rotation since 1953 when legendary Milwaukee Country Club head pro Manuel de la Torre won the first of his five State Open titles.
Qualifying for the State Open will take place at seven sites around Wisconsin in mid-July and early August. There will again be a "Last Chance Qualifier" a week before the State Open at the River Club of Mequon for those who failed to qualify at one of the first seven and to facilitate the chance to get to Blue Mound for mini-tour golfers and former Wisconsin golfers living out of state.
"We're looking forward to bringing it back there," Hoel said of Blue Mound. "It's one of the classic courses in the state. And (Wisconsin) amateur golfers have to be excited about playing Blue Mound and Milwaukee Country Club (for the Wisconsin State Amateur in July) in the same year."
It's a big year up and down the schedule for the Wisconsin PGA and its parent organization, which is bringing the Ryder Cup to Wisconsin for the first time.
The 24th Wisconsin State Women's Open is the first of the section's three open championships to be played. It will be June 16-17 at the Legend at Brandybrook in Wales where UW golfer Tess Hackworthy, who wraps up her collegiate career this spring, goes after her third straight title.
After the historic 100th State Open, the 36th Wisconsin State Senior Open will close out the open schedule Sept. 8-9 at Nakoma Golf Club in Madison. Madison native and current Blue Mound G&CC teaching pro Jim Schuman will eye his third straight title.
Among other highlights of the WPGA schedule:
- The National Car Rental Wisconsin Assistant Professional Championship, a one-day, 36-hole event, will be played at Morningstar Golfers Club in Waukesha the same day (July 20) as Day 1 of the WPGA Senior Championship. The senior event will conclude July 21.
- The WPGA Professionals Championship will be played Sept. 14-15 at Green Bay Country Club. It is the first time the club has hosted a WPGA major.
- The WPGA Match Play Championship will begin May 18-19 at North Shore Country Club in Mequon. The first three rounds will be played there before the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship match will be played at neutral sites that are mutually agreed upon by the two opponents.
"It's going to be a special year," Hoel said.