Showcasing four essential courses to add to your ‘to-do’ list, including Wisconsin’s Sand Valley, a must-play modern classic.
Wisconsin was unusually the focus of the golf world in June when the heartland state of America staged its first US Open. Erin Hills impressed many, especially given it is just 11 years old. And yet its status as Wisconsin’s shining light in golf terms might be short lived, for a new resort with two courses of mouth-watering potential has just opened.
Sand Valley is 130 miles north-west of Erin Hills and is the brainchild of Mike Keiser and his two sons, Michael and Chris. Keiser, of course, is the man who left his first career in greetings cards to create
Bandon Dunes – arguably the most successful golf resort in the world.
Only an exceptional site would persuade Keiser to do another in America, and Sand Valley appears to be just that.
Located on a huge natural sand deposit, it has the kind of dunes and ridges designers dream about. Keiser engaged different firms for the two courses: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw; and David McLay Kidd, who designed Keiser’s first course at Bandon Dunes.
Coore & Crenshaw’s course has just opened – an intoxicating mix of windblown bunkers, exposed sand dunes, and fescue turf – and has already been praised for coaxing maximum variety and risk-reward options from the site. “Made of sand, the perfect sculpting medium for the creation of natural looking, interesting features for golf, the terrain at Sand Valley is a collection of meandering ridges and valleys over which and through the course has been routed,” says Coore.
McLay Kidd’s is slated to be unveiled early next year, and his assessment of the resort (below) does little to dampen expectations that this could quickly be an all-world golf destination.
Accommodation options are just as enticing: cottages located on the highest ridge on the property, overlooking Lake Leopold; The Fairway Lodge in the heart of the resort, just steps away from the 1st tee of Kidd’s course; and the Clubhouse Lodge, with views down Kidd’s 1st and 18th holes. Accommodation starts at £140 a night, green fees from £70. sandvalleygolfresort.com