Review: Sand Valley Coore/Crenshaw Course

FUN, Spectacular, Breathtaking, Huge, Wonderful Links Golf in WI
Sand Valley is the newest golf complex on the block in WI.  It is a sprawling resort in its infant stages near Wisconsin Rapids.  While this wouldn’t seem like a golf destination, Mike Keiser bought a former tree farm, turned ATV park for his newest project.  While there is no water touching the property, it is as sandy and dunesy as any piece of property he has developed.  The first course by Coore/Crenshaw showcases the beauty and uniqueness of this property.  Honestly, I don’t even have enough adjectives to describe a golf course.  I was blown away by how great this course already is, even though it just officially opened 18 holes on September 1st.  But if I had to choose one word to sum up our experience, I’d say FUN!!
Like many of Keiser’s courses, getting to it is half the battle.  This one however is more accessible than others, while still not exactly close.  It is about 3 hours from Milwaukee, 2 from Madison, 4.5 from Chicago, and 3 from Minneapolis/St. Paul.   I used the MSP route and could have made it a day trip if I really wanted to, but the lodging looks really great, so once that is all complete, I’d stay there at least a night or two, then you  could play even more golf.

Once you find your way down the dirt road, you will enter a totally different landscape at Sand Valley.  You leave the local pines and enter a desert like scene of sand, dunes and construction equipment everywhere.  (The David McKay Kid course is already 1/2 way to completion). There are even cactus in some of the sandy waste areas.

 Sand Valley currently uses a big metal shipping container as the pro shop.  They will direct you up the hill to the starter, snack shop, putting green and tennis court.  I think it is the highest point of the course and you can see the massive scale of the property and at least 15 of the 18 holes are visible from that point.  Make sure to take time at Craig’s Porch and grab a bite to eat, the Italian Roast beef is awesome!!

The first thing you’ll notice when deciding what tee to play at Sand Valley is that this isn’t a “bombers” only course.  Even the tips don’t play that long at 6600 yards.  Because of the hard turf conditions, it doesn’t even feel like it plays that long.  So pick whichever tee you’d like and get ready to have fun.  As you begin the first few holes, don’t feel like you need to hit driver, you might score better with the big stick staying in the bag initially.  After a few holes, then you’ll need it on the 4th , 6th and 7th holes which are a giant uphill par 5, a long downhill par 4, and another good sized par 5.  The finishing hole is an absolute gem of the property.  A short par 4, downhill, that is drivable, but with good bunkering protecting the front of the green.

The back nine wasn’t completely available for play when I was there this summer, but it too has some spectacular holes.  10 is a great start from the high point of the property and 17 is a super cool semi-blind par 3 that you just hit a tee shot up into the bowl and see what happens when you get up there.  Finishing with the massive par 5 up the hill again to the property high point will make for a wonderful finish to 18 holes.

Who would have guessed such a great piece of property was sitting in the middle of “nowhere” WI.  While the feel is very secluded at Sand Valley, getting there is actually fairly easy by comparison.  This property will rival some of the greats already in WI.  It isn’t set up for championship golf, it is set up as an awesome, fun, links experience for all skill levels.  Fairways are wide, greens are big and the yardage is playable.  It is a walking only property so if you can’t carry your own bag, bring a push cart or hire a caddy.  It isn’t a hard walk but there is elevation change and it is a full 18 hole walk. 

I’m guessing I used around 100 adjectives to describe Sand Valley in this review and there are probably 100s more that could be used.  If you don’t use the adjective FUN many times while you’re playing at Sand Valley, you have a very different view of the game of golf than I do.  Yes it is walking only and costs over $150, but you won’t be disappointed by the Coore/Crenshaw course.  My suggestion, just get there and experience it for yourself.  You will be blown away by how awesome it is; it is just plain FUN!!

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Quick Hits
+Great design
+Awesome links layout
+Good course conditions
+Beautiful land
+Big fairways and greens

–Walking only