REVIEW: Mammoth Dunes Golf Course

Big, Bold and Beautiful
A long standing approach to designing a golf courses in America was to make the fairways narrow, the greens small, have tree lined holes and to place bunkers and water hazards in strategic locations to increase difficulty. David McKay-Kidd took the complete opposite approach when designing Mammoth Dunes. It has the widest fairways of any course in America, the greens are as large as they can possibly be, the trees are almost out of play, but were part of the natural landscape, there are bunkers everywhere, not just a few strategic ones and there are no water hazards on the course. This creates a big, bold and beautiful course that still can protect par and offer maximum enjoyment at the same time.
1. Mammoth Scale
The minute you walk out of the pro shop and the few step to the putting green and first tee, you will see the Mammoth Dunes scale of this golf course.  Everything is just plain huge;  a giant putting green, expansive fairways, ginormous greens, and endless bunkers.  The scale of this course is something to behold in person.  As a 4-some we literally only missed a handful of fairways all day.  The fairways are simply so big, it is hard to miss them; it can be done, but the fairways will catch most slices or hooks.  The green are equally receptive which means “greens in regulation” is another regular occurrence; however, 50 yards putts can also be normal.  The endless bunkering also means you’ll probably find at least 1 if not a whole bunch more during your round.

2. Firm and Fast Fescue
This is becoming the modern turf of sand based courses.  Obviously it works well from a maintenance stand point, but playablity is also enjoyable.  The options and bounces offered by this type of turf really makes the game fun.  Sure there well be a few seemingly really good shots that end up with a bounce that doesn’t go as planned, but you also are rewarded with extra distance and creative shots that you can’t play on other turfs.

3. FUN
Sand Valley did it and now Mammoth Dunes does it with the “fun” factor.  I enjoy playing golf, but sometimes the difficulty of the course wins rather than the golfer.  Mammoth Dunes is pure fun playing golf.  It is hard to not walk off of 18 with a smile on your face.  You might not shoot your career low, but there is a chance you won’t have lost a ball over 18 holes.  You might have had some looks at eagles, you might have hit some monster drives and you might have had some creative putts.  The scale and playability makes this course FUN!

4. Par 3s
Mammoth Dunes has a collection of some of the best par 3s of any course I’ve ever played.  They are all different lengths, they are all different styles and they all have opportunity for a good score or potentially a higher number.  The 13th and 16th are my favorite of the 4, but the 4th and 8th are no slouches either.  Each one requires a different shot and playing the right bounce depending on pin placement.

5. Big Stick Joy
Mammoth Dunes allows you to swing for the fences with your driver on the par 4s and 5s.  Even if you aren’t hitting your big stick well coming into your round, the confidence gained after playing Mammoth Dunes means you will like this club again.  You can spray it, you can miss hit it, you can put just about any swing on the driver and you have a good chance of playing from the fairway.  It is almost like hitting at the driving range.  Good drives will still be rewarded, but so much of the joy of playing golf comes from hitting driver well.

6. Scorable
Mammoth Dunes has potential to reward a scorecard.  The massive scale means hit fairways and greens in regulation.  If you can putt, there is a chance to go low.  I shot a great score on Mammoth Dunes and others in my group did as well.  I had more looks a eagles on this course than normal and statistically played a great round.  This adds to an enjoyable experience at Mammoth Dunes.

7. Beautiful
This rugged sandy former logging land has been transformed by David McKay-Kidd into something spectacular.  Mammoth Dunes is not a cookie cutter designed course, it is raw and natural looking and visually beautiful on every hole.  It is hard to believe sometimes that this place is in the middle of WI.  It is simply amazing how the natural flow of the course seems to just blend into the dunes and trees.

8. Conclusion
Mammoth Dunes jumped into my top 10 courses I’ve ever played.  If you browse through the list on this site, you will see I’ve played some pretty spectacular golf courses, but this whole resorts is simply amazing.  It is accessible, and “affordable” by comparison, and the golf is unlike the majority of courses in America.  When you walk of 18, you will have a smile on your face from the enjoyable round you and your buddies just played on the big, bold and beautiful Mammoth Dunes

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