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Making the most of an Open opportunity PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 16:51

The Bog is giving golfers the royal treatment during the U.S. Open event at Erin Hills

    As golf enthusiasts from around the world gear up for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in the Town of Erin this week, The Bog Golf Course in the Town of Saukville is looking to help fans get closer to the action by offering shuttle services for the event.
    The Bog hopes to capitalize on the tournament, which is expected to have a $120 million economic impact on the region with approximately 35,000 people attending the tournament each day, from June 15 to 18, according to the United States Golf Association, which hosts the event.
    “There’s definitely been a buzz, especially at our facility because we’re so close to the tournament,” said Andy Runkel, who is the head golf professional at The Bog. “People go online or hear about our course through word of mouth. They want to play at a higher-end course and we’re pretty proud of what we have to offer. Even guys who are private club members in other states still come because it’s hard to get reciprocal rates at other private clubs.”
The Bog Andy Runkel KD Hartwig 0015 4C    The Bog is one of more than 300 golf courses around the world that was designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer, and it has been in operation since 1995.
    “When people see the logo they know it’s a Palmer course and they want to play,” Runkel said. “Because it’s so close to the U.S. Open, we’ve been getting a lot of traffic from people out of town who want to play the courses around here.”
    According to Runkel, The Bog decided to provide shuttles for the tournament because Erin Hills will not offer on-site parking. Its remote location and the added traffic can make transportation difficult for spectators, he said.   ­
    “It’s pure convenience. I’ve been to enough majors where it can be like a big cattle call waiting in line to use the metro service in order to get to the course. Here it’s a little more quaint and intimate — you can get on the shuttle and go right away,” he said. “The guests can come here and play some golf and then jump on the shuttle and they can be dropped off right at the course.”
    Runkel said he has been taking reservations for the shuttles from regulars who frequent the course and also from many out-of-state golfers.
    “The last month, or so, the phones have been going bananas. People have been inquiring about coming out to play and using the shuttles,” he said. “I’ve had some guys on the phone from New York – they’ve made reservations to golf weeks ahead of time. We also just got a reservation from six guys coming from Louisiana who are going to be marshals at the tournament.”
    The Bog expects about 100 patrons to use the shuttles every day of the tournament. K.D. Hartwig, the golf course’s events and marketing manager, said it will also extend its dining services to 10 p.m.
    “There’s been a lot of talk about our fish fry with out-of-town guests,” she said. “There’ll be a lunch buffet every day. We’ll have different drink specials and a Bloody Mary bar. There’ll also be a bonfire pit by our patio for the guests to hangout and relax during the evening.”
    Shuttles cost $35 and will be discounted at $30 if a guest plays a round of golf at The Bog. The golf course is asking for people to make reservations for the shuttle service in advance, in order to determine the timing of the trips to and from Erin Hills.
    “A little organization never hurts. We have a responsibility to give the guests the best time possible at the tournament. We don’t want them to worry about transportation,” Hartwig said.      
    The U.S. Open is the latest of several major golf championship tournaments held in Wisconsin in recent years. Whistling Straits hosted the PGA Championship in 2004, 2010 and 2015, the U.S. Senior Open in 2007, and it will host the Ryder cup in 2020. Blackwolf Run in Kohler hosted the U.S. Women’s open in 1998 and 2012.
    “I think one of the big selling points is Wisconsin has become a golf destination,” Runkel said. “It’s not on its way to becoming one. Florida is great – it has water, but it’s flat. Out here you have nice terrain that rolls up and down. With what’s going on in Kohler and Erin Hills, and we’re right in the middle, you can’t beat this as an option if you look at the price range. It’s a good value.”

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