Best New -- 1st Place: Sand Valley Golf Resort
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.
Panelists’ comments: “A great experience!...Effectively-placed hazards, line-of-play demands, and angle of approach challenges…Each hole has its own feel, but they blend together very well…The average green size is 10,000 square feet, which allows higher handicap golfers the ability to get on in regulation and score from there…Loved this place. Mr. Kaiser is setting himself up another golf mecca.”
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