Golf Resort thrives while giving Adams County's economy a much-needed boost

TOWN OF ROME — Sand Valley Golf Resort in central Wisconsin doesn’t look like most other top golf facilities. For one thing, there’s no ocean, no Great Lake, no picturesque body of water bordering its courses.

But perhaps the biggest difference is Sand Valley’s mission. In addition to creating a world-class golf resort, owner and developer Mike Keiser Sr. has created an operation that is lifting the area’s economy out of the doldrums.

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The Mammoth Vision

Explore the brand new 2018 Sand Valley Magazine! Featured stories include an in-depth look at David Kidd’s design philosophy behind Mammoth Dunes, how the 17 hole Par-3 course “The Sandbox” by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw came to be, Ben Crenshaw breaks down the 6th hole on Sand Valley, and much more.

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Jacki Koll
Travelin' Joe's 10 Most Anticipated Golf Courses of 2018
  1. MAMMOTH DUNES AT SAND VALLEY GOLF RESORT, NEKOOSA, WISCONSIN

    On the heels of Sand Valley’s new Coore-Crenshaw layout that debuted in 2016, the resorts second course, Mammoth Dunes, looms large for 2018. Designed by David McLay Kidd, aptly named Mammoth Dunes as it occupies a massive, 620-acre plot. It features more dramatic terrain that Sand Valley’s original course, highlighted by an 80-foot-high, V-Shaped ridge that gives rise to the Ballybunion-style sandhills.

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Hank Sweeney
GOLF WEEK: Economic Impact of Sand Valley

Sand Valley as the Best New Course of 2017

FOR GOLFERS, SAND VALLEY IS GOLFS NEXT MUST-VISIT DESTINATION; FOR CENTRAL WISCONSIN, ITS AN ECONOMIC LIFELINE

At South Wood County (Wis.) Airport, a 20-minute drive north of Sand Valley Golf Resort, airport manager Jeremy Sickler said local residents recently started swinging by the airport to look at the private aircraft parked on Alexander Field.

On a typical day, Sickler said, the tiny airport will receive three private aircraft, often more. That's as many as he used to see in a month prior to August 2016, when Sand Valley opened it's first course for preview play. Fuel sales, Sickler's best gauge of traffic, have tripled in the past year. One day a couple of months ago, nine aircrafts landed on the same day. Their passengers all were headed to Sand Valley. 

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Hank Sweeney
GOLF DIGEST: America's Best New Courses 2017

This is the fifth course that the design firm of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw has done for resort maven Mike Keiser, and the first not close to an ocean. No matter. It’s still on a thousand acres of rolling sand hills in Central Wisconsin, and Coore and Crenshaw were carte blanche to route their course. (Rumor has it Coore routed a hole outside the property line and Keiser reluctantly bought that additional parcel.) Given the name, many conclude Sand Valley is a combination of Nebraska’s Sand Hills Golf Club and New Jersey’s Pine Valley. But Sand Valley has its own personality, with some dual fairways, mammoth sand spits, enormous greens and even a hidden putting surface.

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Hank Sweeney
Armchair Architect 2016: Construction and Kismet

Virtual golf design met the real thing in mid-July at Sand Valley Golf Resort in central Wisconsin. Brian Silvernail, winner of Golf Digest's 2016 Armchair Architect contest, spent a weekend consulting with golf architect David McLay Kidd on the site of the resort's second 18, Mammoth Dunes, now under construction. Silvernail's winning design, selected last fall by Kidd and resort owner Mike Keiser from among 532 entries, serves as the template for the downhill, drivable par-4 14th hole.

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Elena Scheiner
The Golf World Discovers Wisconsin

A lot of people are still trying to get their heads around the idea that the golf world’s most celebrated new destination is in Middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin, right next to taxidermy shops and ma and pa restaurants.

There really is a Ma and Pa’s Family Restaurant just a few miles from Sand Valley, the Adams County golf resort that has golf pilgrims squinting at their GPS devices. We passed the restaurant driving to Sand Valley from Madison last week.

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Elena Scheiner
New Restaurant 3 Lakes Bistro Opens in Rome

Rick Finco opened 3 Lakes Bistro as a new dining option for the village and the surrounding area. He said there are already a lot of bar and grill restaurants, and he wanted to offer something different. Finco describes the restaurant as a casual place to find fresh cuisine. It's not a bar and grill or a supper club, but a bistro.

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Elena Scheiner