About the Resort
Welcome to Sand Valley
Sand Valley sits in the tumbling prehistoric sand dunes of Central Wisconsin. With the three courses, the first two courses by Coore & Crenshaw and the third course, Mammoth Dunes, by David McLay Kidd, Sand Valley is a golf destination worth visiting.
Sand Valley is located near a small town named Rome in the heart of Wisconsin, a short drive from Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis.
Sand Valley features 3 distinct and extremely fun golf courses:
Sand Valley, by design team Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, opened May 2017 and was awarded "Best New Course You Can Play - 2017" by Golf Magazine.
Mammoth Dunes, by David McLay Kidd, opened early summer 2018.
The Sandbox is a 17-hole par-3 course designed by Coore & Crenshaw. Located 100 yards from the clubhouse, the Sandbox opened in spring 2018 and is extremely fun and fast option for resort and day guests both.
The rooms at Sand Valley have been designed, inside and out, for the traveling golfer and his or her needs. Each of our room options have a bed with sheets and pillows that you'll melt into at the end of the day, a shower that you’ll love, technology that intuitively meets and exceeds your expectations, and views that help you reconnect with the raw beauty and serenity of the outdoors.
How it all began...
In the early 2000's Craig Haltom began scouring the state of Wisconsin with his wife, looking for an ideal piece of land to build a golf course. Haltom, a construction executive with Oliphant Golf Construction, came across the land on which Sand Valley now sits and knew he had found what he was looking for. In 2012 Haltom connected with Mike Keiser via KemperSports President Josh Lesnik. One site visit led to another, and another, until Mike Keiser decided, with his sons Michael and Chris, to purchase 1700 acres of land in 2013.
Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were hired to design the first course, Sand Valley, and began designing a routing through the tumbling sand dunes in 2014. Sand Valley opened in May 2017 and was honored by Golf Magazine as "Best New Course You Can Play - 2017."
Two additional courses will open in early summer of 2018: Mammoth Dunes, designed by David Kidd (designer of Bandon Dunes), and The Sandbox, a 17-hole Par-3 course designed by the team of Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw.
Craig Haltom and his partner, Mike Oliphant, were hired to construct all three of the golf courses at Sand Valley Golf Resort and have been a critical part of the overall development of the resort.
Heathland Golf Heritage - From London to Rome, WI
Sand Valley pays homage to the great heathland courses of London, namely Sunningdale, Swinley Forest, Walton Heath, and St. George's Hill. Why were these courses a model for what the Keisers wanted to build at Sand Valley? Built on inland sites with sandy soil and low lying heathland vegetation (scrubby oaks and pines, heather, bearberry, blueberry, kinnikinnick and more) these great Heathland courses were built to bring the drama and playing conditions of links golf to the inland "heathland" properties close to the bustling London city center.
Similar to the great links courses, these properties feature dramatic sand dunes, windy playing conditions, unusual bounces from firm fairways, and a multitude of strategic playing options. Having played these great heathland courses the Keisers knew how enchanting they can be and hoped to bring the same level of fun and enchantment to the great, sandy, heathland property at Sand Valley Golf Resort.
Sand Valley and the "Ice Age"
The site for the resort currently sits on what was once the lakebed of an ancient glacial lake that covered much of Central Wisconsin. In roughly 16,000BC the ice dam protecting the glacial lake burst, causing a catastrophic flood event that emptied the entire 150' deep lake in just two days, creating what is now the Wisconsin Dells. The sandy lakebed where our site now sits became exposed and over time blew into the 80' high dunes and valleys now seen today.
In the 19th century the site became a pulp tree plantation with red pine trees planted in rows. The red pines were essentially managed as "crops", with the crops planted in long rows and harvested and sold periodically. When the Keisers discovered the property it was being used as a pulp tree nursery by a major timber company and lacked the diversity of plant life that is natural to the site. Prior to the land being used as a pulp tree plantation it was naturally what's known as a "Jack Pine-Hill's Oak Sand Barren" with exposed sand areas, indigenous low-lying vegetation and flowers, and intermittent strands of Jack Pines and Hill's Oaks. In addition to building a world class golf resort our goal is to restore the native Sand Barrens by removing the red pine trees and encouraging the growth of native plants. Several years after removing the majority of red pine from the property, we're happy to see a great diversity of vegetation come to life. Below are images showing just a few of the many species that are thriving in our sandy soil.
There's more to Sand Valley than just great golf. In addition our brand new practice facility that includes a short range area, Sand Valley offers grass tennis, fishing, and hiking trails.
Grass Tennis Courts
Tennis has played a role at Sand Valley since the resort opened, with impromptu courts sitting near the opening tee of the first course. But in 2018 two grass courts, positioned near the golf practice area, will be open to visitors. Why grass? Grass tennis courts fit right into the property aesthetic and allow for all skill levels to have fun.
Swimming and Fishing in Lake Leopold
Located beside the ninth hole at Sand Valley, Lake Leopold is an important part of the Sand Valley experience. The lake, named after American environmentalist Aldo Leopold, is also the site of our cottage accommodations and is perfect for a swim in the summer sun, or dipping a line in the glistening waters to convince a fish to bite.
Hiking Trails at Sand Valley
The Songbird Trail
The easier of the two trails at Sand Valley, this path takes you through a sampling of the restoration and remnant areas as well as past golf landscapes and an intact red pine plantation. It is approximately 1.2 miles long and starts near Craig's Porch on Sand Valley Golf Course.
The Ridge Trail
This advanced three-mile trail traverses along the V ridge on the new Mammoth Dunes golf course. The trail features expansive sand blowouts, red pine plantations, and a majestic oak savannah. Hikers will enjoy spectacular views of the Mammoth Dunes golf course, including vistas on sand ridges as high as 80 feet above the course. The trail begins and ends at the Sand Valley clubhouse.