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News

Sand Valley News includes the latest updates on Sand Valley Golf Resort as reported by the golf world. 

Sand Valley News

 
The Next BIG Thing

“I haven’t had anyone yet tell me they didn’t have fun (playing Mammoth Dunes),” Kidd said last fall, as the inaugural season was nearing an end. “I seem to have achieved what I set out to do, which is to accentuate that site … and let people have a blast playing golf.

“So far, it’s getting rave reviews.”

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Logan Block
The 10 best new golf courses of 2018

Right site, wrong track. Taking an existing golf course, abandoning it and draping over its terrain an entirely new layout — or at least one infused with completely new features — is a recurring theme in design these days. Perhaps it’s splitting hairs to label one course brand new as opposed to calling it a major renovation or redesign. But there’s no ambiguity about our best new course of the year: Sand Valley’s Mammoth Dunes, in Wisconsin. No design in memory so successfully melds strategy, playability and spectacular aesthetics. It’s tons of fun, too.

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Logan Block
Go small or go home: These are the 12 best par-3 courses in America

Drive for show, and putt for dough. But if you really want to test your full arsenal of shots, try playing a well-designed par 3 course. Augusta National has a pretty one. So does Pine Valley. But good luck getting on either. In the democratic spirit—and to demonstrate that size doesn’t always matter—we give you 12 of the finest public-access short courses in the United States.

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Logan Block
Best new short course of 2018: The Sandbox at Sand Valley

The Sandbox at Sand Valley Golf Resort continues the trend of recently built par-3 courses that are family-friendly but compelling for all. Architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, together with developer Mike Keiser, pioneered the “odd number of holes” concept at Bandon Dunes with their brilliant 13-hole, par-3 Preserve spread. There are 17 holes here and they’re all worthy. Designed to be tackled with just a few clubs, the holes unfold over a sandy tract dotted with native scrub and situated next to the resort’s lodge, so it’s extremely convenient to access—and inspiring to play.

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Logan Block
A helping hand: Mammoth Dunes

Everyone likes Mammoth Dunes. It’s hard not to fall for the course at first sight. It is big, laid across stunning terrain and just plain cool. Players come off the 18th green with smiles on their faces having thoroughly enjoyed themselves, often beaming with the pride of posting their best number in years. We don’t blame them. We had the same reaction.

Once the afterglow has worn off though, we have noticed an interesting pattern. When asked which course at Sand Valley Resort is their favorite, higher handicappers and casual golfers favor Mammoth. Lower handicappers and architecture nuts favor Sand Valley. This is great news for the resort and the Keisers as they now have lovable offerings for all players. But it does make us wonder, how could it be that a man who was accused in the not-so-distant past of designing courses that are too difficult create one that consistently delights the average player? What is it about Mammoth Dunes that produces that effect?

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Logan Block
Sand Valley’s Bold New Additions Shape a New Convention for Golf

Talk about making an impression.

Sand Valley Golf Resort, in the heart of Wisconsin, has certainly done that over the past two years uncovering the sand barrens of the region and adding to the Mike Keiser golf destination experience (see Bandon Dunes and Cabot Links among others in his portfolio). After the public opening of its original course (by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw) in 2017, Sand Valley opened two new courses in 2018. It also announced that a fourth – projected as a par 68 on the scorecard – will soon be built by Tom Doak on a site already being hailed as one of the best inland for golf.

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Logan Block
Travel – On Wisconsin! Sand Valley Golf Resort

For a state roughly the size of noted golf hotbeds England and Scotland, Wisconsin has done a remarkably good job of producing special public golf resorts for its brief, but spectacular golf season, running from late April to October, possibly early November.

First came the Whistling Straits Resort, the Herb Kohler owned, four-course property and five-star American Club lodging which will host the 2020 Ryder Cup. Then Erin Hills Golf Resort, the site of the 2017 US Open, but the latest addition, the Sand Valley Resort in Central Wisconsin, might be the closest to the Scottish Idea.

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Logan Block
Best new course of 2018: Mammoth Dunes at Sand Valley

Architect David McLay Kidd faced a tall order when tasked with creating the second course at Central Wisconsin’s Sand Valley Golf Resort. After all, its Coore/Crenshaw–designed track, Sand Valley, captured our Best New Course You Can Play award in 2017 and ranked No. 52 in the U.S. among all courses. How do you match or possibly top that? Easy. You craft a layout that checks every box—from its distinctive, sand-based setting and joy-filled appeal for both low- and high-handicappers, to its plethora of individually memorable, strategy-laced holes that unfurl on a massive scale.

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Logan Block
19th hole: Tom Doak taking on old rival, your notions with new course

Tom Doak waited more than 35 years for the opportunity that was presented to him this summer, ever since he first saw Swinley Forest and Rye. Those two Harry Colt courses in England – renowned for being short on yardage but long on challenge – are the genesis of Sedge Valley, Doak’s recently announced course at Wisconsin’s Sand Valley Resort.

Great architecture exposes weaknesses in skill or judgment, and Doak’s proposed design probes the psyche even before a shot is struck. Sedge Valley is just 6,100 yards, par 68, guaranteeing that some will dismiss it sight unseen as too short to bother with, while others will assume it’s a pushover.

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Chris Keiser
Tom Doak’s Sedge Valley – A Sub-Par 70 Design at Sand Valley

I’ve been thinking I’d love to do an even shorter course for many years.”

Doak will get his chance at the Sand Valley Golf Resort—Mike Keiser and his sons’ (Michael and Chris) pine and sand-covered oasis in the middle of Wisconsin where Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore’s eponymous Sand Valley and David McLay Kidd’s Mammoth Dunes are already drawing thousands of golfers to a remote part of the country.

Doak’s course, tentatively called Sedge Valley, won’t be a nine-hole, executive, or par 27 layout, but a regulation 18-holer of irregular length. The proposed scorecard suggests it will be slightly more than 6,000 yards long and have a par of 67 or 68.

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Chris Keiser
Tom Doak to design resort’s fourth course

Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa, Wisconsin, has hired golf course architect Tom Doak to design a fourth course at the resort.

The new course will be located next to the back nine of the original Sand Valley layout and will be routed within a restored sedge savannah. Doak's routing measures 6,100 yards with a par of 68.

“It’s a concept I have wanted to pursue for years – to build a great par 68 course for America like England has so many of,” said Doak in an interview with The Fried Egg. “Courses like Swinley Forest, Rye, West Sussex, Cavendish and St. Enodoc are some of my favourite places in golf, and it's a shame there is nothing like them over here."

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Chris Keiser
Sand Valley, Rome strike ‘when the pan is hot’

Rick Bakovka and the town of Rome, Wis., gambled on Sand Valley Golf Resort in 2015, and that bet has paid off for all involved. Now Bakovka and Rome appear ready to double down.

The news Sept. 5 was that Tom Doak and the Keiser family – who first teamed up to build Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in 2001 – would reunite to develop a fourth course at Sand Valley. Doak’s concept is for a 6,000-yard course filled with par 3s and drivable 4s – an alternative to the resort’s two regulation-length courses and the par-3 course.

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Chris Keiser
Doak's inland innovation - New Course at Sand Valley


Big news from Wisconsin as Tom Doak is set to design the next course at burgeoning golf resort Sand Valley. Doak is coming off his acclaimed Tara Iti design and this will be his first American design since The Loop at Forest Dunes. The Doak course, which is tentatively being called “Sedge Valley”, will add to the resort's stellar lineup alongside the original Coore & Crenshaw designed Sand Valley, David McLay Kidd's Mammoth Dunes and the Coore & Crenshaw par 3 course The Sandbox. Doak earned the job, beating out Mike DeVries and Gil Hanse.

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Chris Keiser
Dare to be different: Tom Doak’s unconventional design gets nod for next Sand Valley course

It was a three-way horserace, down to the wire in Nekoosa, Wisc.

In a photo-finish, Tom Doak prevailed.

The vaunted architect, known for his modern-minimalist designs, will build the third 18-hole course at Sand Valley Golf Resort, edging fellow designers Gil Hanse and Mike DeVries by a nose.

In keeping with his reputation for out-of-the-box thinking, Doak earned the nod with an unconventional idea. His proposed routing, tentatively named Sedge Valley, calls for a shorter-than-usual par-67 or 68 course that will tip out at no more than 6,100 yards, and feature a mix of drivable par-4s.

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Chris Keiser
Sand Valley's Sedge Valley course announced as resort's newest addition, a unique par-68 course designed by Tom Doak

he fact Tom Doak has been selected to design the next course at Sand Valley should be a surprise to few people paying attention to the golf-course design world.

The unique, 6,100-yard routing that Doak and his team will build at the Nekoosa, Wis., resort is not your conventional golf course. And that's by design. When you consider the success Mike Keiser and his sons have had thinking outside the box—not just at Sand Valley but at Bandon Dunes, Cabot Cliffs and elsewhere—this story fits into their vision. A par 68? The new course, Sedge Valley, will continue to disrupt the traditions of golf design.

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Chris Keiser
Grass Tennis Courts Best New Resort Amenity 2018 - Golf Inc

Tennis has played a role at Sand Valley since the resort’s initial 65 rooms opened in 2016. A grass court situated near the opening tee of the initial course got a lot of use, but it was highly informal and regarded as something of a novelty.

“People played with a beer in hand and barefoot,” Keiser said. “But we saw how much fun they had, and they told us that they wanted to schedule more time playing tennis on their return trip.”

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Chris Keiser
The 13 most spectacular golf course restaurants

When you build a golf resort in a unique setting, the food should fit uniquely in the surrounds. So it goes at this Wisconsin golf mecca, the latest project from Mike Keiser and his family, who also brought us Bandon Dunes. Like McKee’s Pub, at Bandon, on the Oregon coast, Sand Valley’s main hangout, the Mammoth Bar & Lounge, serves the kind of hearty fare you want after a long day on the links, but it does so with a menu rooted in the Midwest.

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Chris Keiser
Sand Valley's 'Sandbox' hosts inaugural Wisconsin State Par 3 Championship

ROME, Wis. —

In an event that was a first of its kind, it’s only fitting that a first-time winner took home The Sandbox trophy at the inaugural Wisconsin State Par 3 Championship on Monday.

Bill Feehan Jr., a 58-year-old from La Crosse, shot a 3-under 48 to win the event held at The Sandbox, a 17-hole short course at Sand Valley Golf Resort . He was one of only two players under par in a field of 72 players.

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Chris Keiser
Inaugural Wisconsin State Par-3 Championship Held at Sand Valley's Sandbox

The Sandbox, a new par-3 course at the Sand Valley Golf Resort in the Town of Rome, more than held its own against some of the best golfers in the state Monday.

The 17-hole course, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore and featuring wildly contoured greens, was the site of the inaugural Wisconsin State Par 3 Championship, conducted by the Wisconsin State Golf Association.

Only two golfers broke par (51).

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Chris Keiser