Menu

Lee at Whistling Straights: Gearing up for an onslaught of fans - and volunteers. Courtesy of Michael Lee

The return to Wisconsin of the PGA Championship, which runs August 9-15 at Kohler’s Whistling Straits golf course, offers more than a chance to see the world’s best golfers tee it up in the Dairy State. The event will shine an international spotlight on the landscape artistry of CALS alum Michael Lee BS’87.

As manager of the Whistling Straits course, Lee is responsible for maintaining the course’s undulating fairways, roughs and greens, which make it one of the most unique golf venues in the country. Hugging the shores of Lake Michigan, the Pete Dye-designed course was built to evoke the windswept Scottish courses where the game was born. The course first hosted the PGA Championships in 2004 and will do so again in 2015.

Lee has been preparing the turf for the past two years and is now assembling a small army of volunteers—including fellow superintendents from as far away as New Zealand—to keep the course in top playing shape. “On a typical summer day we might have 40 people working on course. During the tournament we’ll probably have 125, because we’ll have twice the work and half the time to do it,” says Lee. After that, you can probably catch Lee on the beach: An inveterate surfer, he hits the waves near Sheboygan every fall.

Know a CALS alum doing good things in your neighborhood? Send it to grow@cals.wisc.edu