Wisconsin Golfer - Q&A with Michael Keiser
Golf Advisor's Top 10 Golf Destinations to Visit in 2017
After a season of preview play both satisfied curiosity of many golfers and whetted the appetites of many more, the much-anticipated Sand Valley Golf Resort will officially open its first course for public play on May 2, followed by a celebratory grand opening on June 19.
As opening day neared, Michael Keiser, who is overseeing the day-to-day operations at the Adams County facility, spoke with Wisconsin Golfer about the newest must-play destination on the state's golf map.
Bill Coore’s Contribution to Game is a Less-is-More Proposition
Sand Valley, plus the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, are two reasons why it's a big year for Wisconsin golf. (Matt Ginella/Golf Advisor)
We're counting down the top 10 golf destinations to visit in 2017. For destinations 10-6, as well how we determined our list, click here.
The five best golf destinations to visit in 2017 are at the top of their game in different ways.
Two centennial celebrations highlight the festivities, as well as a prestigious, new No. 1 ranking, as well as domination in our own Top 50 ranking.
So start rallying the group and tallying up those credit card miles, here are the five best destinations to visit this year:
Second Course at Sand Valley Begins to Take Shape
f you are a fan of the National Football League, it’s safe bet you’ve heard of the phrase Coaching Tree. It’s used to describe a group of coaches that all went on to greatness after mentoring under a legend. Prime examples of this phenomenon include The Bill Walsh, Mike Holmgren, or Bill Belichick Coaching Trees.
When it comes to golf, an Architectural Design Tree has evolved around the legendary Pete Dye, who will celebrate his 91st birthday this year. The Disciples of Dye include Tom Doak, Tim Liddy, and Lee Schmidt, who have all produced masterpieces throughout the Midwest. Of that impressive list, Bill Coore has set himself apart as the lead understudy that now is a master of his craft.
As Sand Valley prepares to open next summer, Mike Keiser talks about his successful formula
The first course at the resort, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, has now opened for preview play. Currently under development, the second course is set to formally open in 2018, with a third course following soon after. An announcement on the designer of the third course is expected in the near future.
GCA caught up with McLay Kidd, who previously worked with Keiser at Bandon Dunes, to discuss the second course and putting his own mark on one of the biggest current golf developments in the US.
“The site is as near-perfect as you’re going to find, short of being on an ocean,” he says.
Could Wisconsin's Sand Valley Be the Bandon Dunes of the Midwest?
Mike Keiser is the driving force behind the most dramatic golf resort developments of the past two decades. Starting with Bandon Dunes along the remote coast of southern Oregon, Keiser has continued on with Cabot Links in Nova Scotia, Canada, and is a driving force behind Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania. These highly rated destinations are geographically diverse, but share many similarities that are important elements in their ongoing success. Keiser’s latest project – Sand Valley in Nekoosa, Wisconsin – is scheduled to open next June.
PGA Magazine recently conducted an exclusive interview with the Chicago-based avid golfer to discuss his current and future projects, hear his suggestions for improving golf at other facilities, and learn more about the formula behind the “Keiser mystique.”
Golf Digest Armchair Architect Winner Named!
LOST IN WISCONSIN—Pardon the dateline, but I’m not exactly sure where the hell I am.
That’s strange because I lived in Wisconsin for 18 years and even graduated from a small-town high school maybe an hour away. But I couldn’t put an I Am Here dot on a map.
Here is Sand Valley, a fabulous new course and future resort that’s about to open for public play. It is the brainchild of Mike Keiser, the man who put Bandon Dunes on your golf bucket list, and his sons, Michael Jr. and Chris. There’s only one drawback to Sand Valley: getting there. Funny, but Bandon Dunes, on Oregon’s remote coast, initially had the same problem. Now, 81 stunning holes, spectacular ocean views and an upgraded commercial airport have made location a moot point. Bandon is a smashing success.
America's Next Great Golf Resort
Brian Silvernail first developed an interest in golf architecture in the late 1980s, when Accolade released its first computer golf game. Not content just to hone his computer golf skills, Silvernail, trained in graphic arts, began designing golf holes on computer, then entire courses, becoming so skilled he beta-tested several Jack Nicklaus Golf games and even helped lay out some imaginary courses.
It was that background that helped Silvernail win Golf Digest's 2016 Armchair Architect contest...
Golf Digest's 2016 Armchair Architect Contest - Design David Kidd's 14th Hole at Sand Valley!
Two hours north of Madison, tucked away in small Rome, Wisconsin, is the home to America’s next great golf resort, Sand Valley. Up until now, Rome’s fame has been the paper mills that employ much of the area and supply paper to the world. Sand Valley is the latest project by Mike Keiser, who has the goal of bringing the seaside links golf we see at the Open Championship to the heart of the midwest. I was able to make a trip up to Sand Valley with three buddies for preview play a few weeks ago, and we were all blown away at what’s being built. As of now, two courses are under construction with many more on the way.
First Course at Sand Valley is Phenomenal
The owner of Bandon Dunes wants your par 4 on his next resort.
Everyone who plays golf thinks they could be a golf course architect. It starts at an early age. Tiger Woods was just 11 years old when he entered Golf Digest's first Armchair Architect contest back in 1987. (Officially, he was too young to win, so he had his father mail it in.) His dream hole was a U-shaped double-dogleg par 5 with an island tee, island traps and an island green (see below or click here to view his design entry in large-PDF format). Even at age 11, he probably had the talent to cut the corner by smacking an iron from the back tee over his 120-foot-high hill and onto the green where he'd have a putt for a double-eagle 2. (If he avoided the bunker in the center of his green, that is.) The rest of us would likely take the long way around, dodging trees, bunkers, mounds, a creek and a bog.
Rome Prepares for Sand Valley
Town of Rome – On my way up to Stevens Point for an annual Memorial Day golf getaway with 15 buddies, I stopped off at Sand Valley at the invitation of B.R. Koehnemann, director of communications for KemperSports, to play nine holes on the new Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw course.
I walked off the ninth green convinced I had just played what is going to be one of the best public access courses in America. Whistling Straits (three PGA Championships and the 2020 Ryder Cup) and Erin Hills (2017 U.S. Open) are the gold standard in Wisconsin, but Sand Valley is destined to join them as an international destination.
Next on the Tee for Coore and Crenshaw - Sand Valley
When a well-traveled golf course developer builds a world-class facility in a relatively undeveloped part of middle Wisconsin, a small township faces a world of…opportunity.
Chicago businessman-turned golf course developer Mike Keiser gravitates to naturally unique places to build. The area near Nekoosa contains ancient sand dunes as high as 80 feet, left behind when some 15,000 years ago a glacial ice dam burst creating the inland dells of central Wisconsin. Red pine plantations were carefully removed to make way for an almost seaside landscape of rolling dunes. After the removal of tree cover, the open areas are showing some signs of primitive plant life that once may have grown in this part of Wisconsin, including a small cactus that blooms in spring.
A Magical Day at Sand Valley
They’ll also finish up Sand Valley starting in April with preview play on 13 holes this summer. “What I like about the site is it’s got completely different contours than what we work with generally,” says Coore. “It’s not really so much dunes as it is big sand ridges and valleys. It’s very aptly named. They created large situations for some really interesting golf holes. You look out over these long vistas and big rolling hills. It kind of feels like Shinnecock.”
Sand Valley Touted as a One-of-a-Kind Golf Resort
A Magical Day at Sand Valley
September 20, 2015 by jwizay1493 8 Comments
My buddy Chuck was kind enough to include me in a visit to Sand Valley to tour the first course, which is under construction and set to open in 2017. I expected to be in golf geek heaven, and yet what I experienced so vastly exceeded my expectations that I fear that trying to put it into words won’t do it justice. I’ll do my best to share my impressions, along with photos. If there is one thing that I hope you take away from this recap though, it is this – make your reservations now to visit this special place and play this outstanding golf course.
Golf Channel - David Kidd on Morning Drive
Sand Valley might be the most ambitious golf development project ever undertaken in Wisconsin, and not just because well-heeled clients will someday fly in to play as many as four courses at the destination resort.
That's all well and good. It is, after all, a commercial enterprise.
What makes Sand Valley special, though, is that it's also a habitat restoration project of immense size and scope. What was once a sprawling red pine plantation — a monoculture not unlike a cornfield — will be returned to a 1,700-acre sand barren, home to native plants such as prickly pear cactus and wild lupine, and endangered species such as the Karner blue butterfly and Kirtland's warbler.
Second Sand Valley Golf Course a Destination
David McLay Kidd discusses the new course plans for Sand Valley in Wisconsin.
Second course planned at Sand Valley Golf Resort
ROME — Although construction on Sand Valley Golf Resort's first golf course is not yet completed, plans for a second golf course at the new resort have begun with an architect already chosen for the project, a Sand Valley representative confirmed to Daily Tribune Media on Friday.
The Sand Valley Golf Resort, which first was proposed in 2011 by internationally renowned golf developer Mike Keiser, lies on about 1,500 acres in the town Rome. The space could hold up to five golf courses.
David Kidd and His Journey from Bandon Dunes to Sand Valley
Two decades after then-novice golf course architect David McLay Kidd teamed with developer Mike Keiser to create the first course at what would become the acclaimed Bandon Dunes resort in Oregon the two are collaborating again.
This time, the site is a 1,500-acre sand barren in central Wisconsin.
On Wednesday, Keiser announced that he had hired Kidd to design the second course at Sand Valley Golf Resort, just south of Wisconsin Rapids.
The first course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2017.
Construction on Kidd's course will begin in the spring, and the course is expected to open in 2018.
Sand Valley on course to become true American beauty
Matt Ginella discusses the second course being built by David McLay Kidd at Sand Valley Golf Resort with David Kidd of DMK Designs and Josh Lesnik of KemperSports.
Town of Rome — The bald eagle circled lazily over the handful of people standing atop a sand dune, seemingly checking out the strange interlopers, then banked and disappeared over a stand of jack pine.
It was a fitting end to a spectacular day of "wilderness golf."
Last week, about a dozen founding members of Sand Valley got their first look at what could be the most ambitious golf project ever undertaken in Wisconsin.
If all goes according to Chicago developer Mike Keiser's plan, someday there will be five courses and lodging on 1,500 acres a few miles south of Wisconsin Rapids — a resort that would provide hundreds of jobs in depressed Adams County and further enhance Wisconsin's reputation as a world-class golf destination.