REVIEW: Sandbox Short Course
I started playing golf on a short course when I was a child. Then known as a par 3 course, there wasn’t a hole over 150. It was a great way to learn as a kid and then I needed many of the clubs in my bag to reach the greens. The problem with the old par 3 courses is that the greens were small and boring. Most par 3 courses have the most uninteresting greens in golf. This is where the Sandbox does it right. Every green is rather large, different and interesting with swales, false fronts, encroaching bunkers, bowls, table tops and unique shapes.
2. Compact site
This is the opposite of much of the rest of the property which expands in multiple directions, the Sandbox holes are all close together for an easy walk that weaves through a small corner of the property. While everything is close I never felt like I was in danger from a stray shot. I’m sure some bad swings could mean some errant balls, but since golfers will be using short irons, those odds are decreased. All 17 holes are fit together like a jigsaw puzzle while using a pretty compact site.
You might not think 17 short holes would be so memorable, but you and your buddies might just take home the most memories from Sandbox. The atmosphere is a little more laid back, the few clubs you need to play will make it easy to walk and the creative short game shots you will need to pull off will be etched in your memory as one of the most fun little rounds you’ve played. Borrow of quiver bag or bring your own sunday bag to enjoy 17 great par 3s.
4. Putter only option
Not all short courses are designed this way, but this is another impressive design feature of Coore and Crenshaw on the Sandbox. There is a tee-option on every hole to just play it like a putt-putt course. I was bummed that the morning rain made the turf too wet to play this routing while we were there, but I could see myself going back just to play the course this way in the future.
The Sandbox is not going to be ranked by magazines or lists of the top courses in America, but it truly does rival most full length courses I’ve played. Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes are spectacular, but some have suggested the Sandbox is the best course on property. While I’m not ready to say that, it is a top 10 course in WI without a doubt.
If there is truly an effort to “grow the game” Sandbox is the formula. It costs less to play and maintain, it is quicker to play, and is playable for any skill level, this well help grow the game among those currently not playing or those that have mostly given up the game. The Sandbox rivals many full length courses. If you go to Sand Valley, don’t miss the Sandbox. You can squeeze it in on just about any tight schedule before or after your rounds on Sand Valley or Mammoth Dunes.
For more information: sandvalley.com/short-course