WNY golf course & Erin Hills, site of 2017 U.S. Open, designed by the same person

Posted at 1:57 PM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 16:38:54-04

Life couldn't be much better for Dr. Michael Hurdzan.

This week, he's spent his mornings sitting on the porch of the clubhouse at Erin Hills golf course in Washington County, Wisconsin. The eyes of the golf world will be on Erin Hills this week as it hosts the 2017 U.S. Open, a course Hurdzan designed.

"It doesn't get much better than this."

Hurdzan is recognized as one of the top golf course designers in the country, but you won't have to travel far to play one of his courses. In 2006 the 73-year-old designer made his mark in Cheektowaga when Diamond Hawk was opened.

"It was a pleasure to work on it and we're very proud of that golf course [Diamond Hawk]" Hurdzan said while watching the best golfers in the world try and figure out his design carved into the Wisconsin countryside. "I felt that the golf course [Diamond Hawk] fit the land. I was really pleased with how the golf holes fit the land."

If you've watched the U.S. Open on TV or perhaps attended Erin Hills, you've probably noticed the ridiculous amount of fescue lining the fairways and engulfing the tee-boxes. The thick, high grass has proven to be a headache for some of the world's best players, and Diamond Hawk has taken notice.

"Our superintended this year has let the fescue kind of go back to the original design, so it kind of matches what everyone is seeing on TV" Joshua Wojtaszczyk, Diamond Hawk Director of Golf said.

Sure, the fescue grass can be a nightmare, but it's also one of the characteristics that can make a golf course memorable. At Erin Hills, the reviews have been mixed, but there's no denying that the course has made an impression. 

"The contrast between the fairway and fescue areas, they're put in the right areas," Wojtaszczyk added about Diamond Hawk. "The fairways aren't too far away, so it gives a good definition to your eye, so you can pick targets if you're a better golfer or when you're out there it's just a pretty picture."

Playability and memorability are two of the biggest things golf courses seek, something Hurdzan always strives for when he creates a design.

"If you can get done with that round of golf and can remember two, or five, or ten holes, that's awesome," Hurdzan said.

Diamond Hawk has never hosted a PGA Event, but as times goes on, the hope is that they can start to bring in smaller tournaments and work their way up.

"The next step is to try and get a big name junior event."

Hurdzan and his team also designed Harvest Hill golf course in Orchard Park.