Matt Ginella is the Senior Travel Editor for Golf Digest. The Irish Open is being played at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland this week and that is just one of many great courses in that area of the world. When it comes to his top 5 courses in Ireland & Northern Ireland, his 5th course is Ballybunion, his 4th course is Tralee, his 3rd course is Lahinch, his 2nd course is Royal Portrush, and his favorite course in Ireland or Northern Ireland is Royal County Down.
Herb Kohler is a very busy guy and a few years he purchased Hamilton Hall in St. Andrews, Scotland which is located behind the 18th green of The Old Course. Over time, the building had deteriorated in quality and he came in and renovated it. Now, the building consists of 26 apartments which will be available for sale.
Kohler has had a pair of PGA Championships at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run is hosting the U.S. Women’s Open for a second time next week. He has wanted to attract a U.S. Open to one of his courses but nothing ever happened and when the USGA awarded the 2017 U.S. Open to Erin Hills in Wisconsin, Kohler’s hopes for a men’s U.S. Open at the least for the time being were dashed. Instead, he has built an unprecedented relationship with the PGA of America as the 2015 PGA Championship and 2020 Ryder Cup will be played at Whistling Straits.
Kohler had also purchased some land in Oregon about 20 miles from where Bandon Dunes is located. Originally, he was going to bring in Pete Dye to design a course and build a resort but the project ran into resistance from environmentalists. Kohler determined that it would take 5-7 years to get the course that he wanted and he was not willing to wait that long.
Right now, he thinks that the future of golf around the world is in Brazil especially with the return of golf to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Kohler is very interested in developing a course in that South American country.