Erin Hills finally opens in 2006, but Bob Lang isn’t finished with the course. His passion turns into obsession as he borrows millions to make “enhancements.” Eventually, he runs out of money. … And time.
Fifth in a series by Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel leading up to the U.S. Open June 15-18 at Erin Hills.
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Ten days before Erin Hills opened to the public on Aug. 1, 2006, Steve Stricker played the course at owner Bob Lang’s invitation.
Stricker, of Madison, was 39 and in the early stages of a career resurgence. He would win nine of his 12 PGA Tour titles over the next six years.
He played Erin Hills from the back tees – all 7,824 yards of it – and shot a 3-over-par 75. Lang walked along, chatting with Stricker and grinning from ear to ear.
The proud owner could barely conceal his excitement. He’d spent millions acquiring the golf course property and surrounding parcels of land, sold his greeting card and calendar publishing company, and presided over construction.
There had been plenty of stressful moments along the way.