David McLay Kidd and Mike Keiser to team on project
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.
"I've been biting my tongue for the last two weeks, being unable to tell anyone," Kidd said in a telephone interview. "It was fun to get out in the open today."
Kidd, 46, the son of a Scottish greenskeeper, has never designed a course east of the Mississippi River. He has done most of his work in Europe and in the western United States.
Among his better-known designs are the Castle Course at St. Andrews and Bandon Dunes, ranked eighth on Golfweek magazine's 2014 list of Best Modern Golf Courses.
"This is important to me," he said of Sand Valley. "I've wanted to work on the eastern side of the U.S. and never had the opportunity. I'm excited that I'll be spending lots of time in Wisconsin."
He said he was blown away by the Sand Valley site and has routed 18 holes along and around a massive v-shaped sand ridge on the property.
"The ridge is 80 feet tall, all sand with craggy pines and oak trees," he said. "I already have a 10 out of 10 site. I don't have to do a whole lot to build a 10 out of 10 course."
Kidd has made two site visits but said he only discovered the ridge through satellite mapping. It was hidden by thousands of pine trees.
"It's this amazing, huge, v-shaped ridge," he said. "Each arm of the ridge is at least a half a mile long. It will be so dramatic you're going to wonder where you are. If I dropped you into that valley and told you the ocean was just over the next ridge, you'd believe it."
One of his goals is to make his course playable for the average golfer.
"With a 12 handicap, I would like to build a course that from 6,300 or 6,400 yards you would shoot 79 every third or fourth round," he said. "You're going to think it's the best course you ever played."
Keiser has said that as many as five courses could eventually be built at Sand Valley, though the number will be based on demand for high-end resort golf in central Wisconsin.