Chris Lutzke, ASGCA, to Add 10-Hole Short Course at Blackwolf Run

Excerpt taken from July 21, 2020

It’s not often a golf course design includes a swimming hole – let alone FOUR of them – but that is part of “The Baths of Black Wolf Run” coming to Kohler, Wisconsin, in 2021 from Chris Lutzke, ASGCA (Albanese & Lutzke Golf Course Design & Construction Management). Lutzke is adding a 10-hole, par 3 short course to the famed area featuring designs from ASGCA Past President Pete Dye.

Gary D’Amato reports for

The Kohler Co. is taking the concept of the short course to a new level with “The Baths of Blackwolf Run,” which will combine a 10-hole par-3 course with a two-acre putting course and – get this – four “baths,” or swimming holes, built into the routing.


The complex, being built on 27 acres between the first and 11th holes of the Meadow Valleys course at Blackwolf Run, is scheduled to open in June 2021.

Starting with its name, which pays homage to the company’s history in plumbing and bath design, the short course promises to be markedly different from others added as amenities to golf resorts such as Bandon Dunes, Pinehurst Resort, Trappers Turn in Wisconsin Dells and Sand Valley in the Town of Rome.

“There’s a great deal of flexibility built into this space,” said Dirk Willis, vice president of global golf, retail and landscape for Kohler Co. “It’s not just your standard short course that you see a lot of facilities building. It’s designed for a variety of different functions. Short-game practice and short-game play is one of them. But it’s also designed for corporate groups, for outings, for events – specifically with the baths, with food and beverage service, with the combination of things that we’ll have up there.”

The four water features, or baths, will have sand bottoms and beach access. For typical daily play, they will be part of the course routing, though multiple tee boxes ensure that there are no forced carries over water unless desired. If a business or group schedules an event, part of the par-3 course can be closed so that the baths do not come into play.

“The design lends itself to being able to section it off into different parts, if you wanted to have two different parties on the course at the same time and create smaller experiences,” Willis said. “We’ve already started to think about that from an operational standpoint.”

The 10-hole short course was designed by Chris Lutzke, a protégé of the late Pete Dye – who designed the 72 holes at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits – with significant input from Kohler Co. executive chairman Herbert V. Kohler Jr. It was Kohler’s idea to include the swimming holes.

“This truly was a collaboration between Herb and Chris Lutzke,” Willis said. “Herb, with his experience working with Pete and traveling the world playing golf, he’s got a lot of ideas in his head. And in Chris, I think he found a perfect partner, just like he had in Pete, to help him bring those ideas to life.”