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Sand Valley (Mammoth Dunes)

Sand Valley (Mammoth Dunes)

Nekoosa, Wisconsin
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Patrick Koenig
Patrick Koenig
Nekoosa, Wisconsin
  • Address1697 Leopold Way, Nekoosa, WI 54457, USA

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw’s Sand Valley course at the Sand Valley Golf Resort hardly had time to bed in before a second 18-hole layout appeared on the property in 2018. Owner Mike Keiser, who twenty years earlier appointed David McLay Kidd to design the first course at Bandon Dunes, hired the same architect to set out the Mammoth Dunes course within this enormous 1,700-acre site.

It’s a big course (playing to a par of 73 with five long par five holes) that’s built on a massive scale with an overall design philosophy of bringing fun back to playing the game. Fairways are unfeasibly wide, some measuring as much as 120 yards across, offering multiple paths from tee to green on many of the holes. Of massive importance, protecting par – something the architect had been criticized for on other projects – isn’t an issue here.

GalleryPatrick Koenig
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Patrick Koenig

Building on the success of a recent development at Gamble Sands in Washington, where playability was an overriding consideration, McLay Kidd has constructed a course that allows golfers to play into greens from a multitude of angles, without paying a heavy penalty for having gone too far right or left off the tee. Essentially, looking back towards the future, the best aspects of the original design at Bandon Dunes have been brought into play at Mammoth Dunes.

Highlight holes include the short par four 6th (played to a boomerang-shaped green that was inspired by the half-moon putting surface on the 7th hole at Crystal Downs), the par three 13th, (where the green sits at an offset angle between a large sandy waste area and tree-covered ridge), and the short par four 14th, which was actually built to the design of the winning contestant in an “Armchair Architect Challenge” organized by a golf magazine.

Adam Lawrence, editor of Golf Course Architecture had this to say about the course: “Mammoth Dunes is huge. It occupies 500 acres of land and has 107 acres of maintained grass. The dune ridge which forms the dominant feature of the property is close on 100 feet high (this explains why the course’s footprint is so large). And, visually, it is simply off the charts. I do not believe I have ever seen a larger-looking golf course. Even standing on the first tee, one is simply blown away by the scale.”

The last word belongs to David McLay Kidd: “There was a lot of effort to bring this commercial timber forest back to this pine-oaks savannah that you're seeing now. And it's the latest groundwork in Mike Keiser's master plan for a bigger project to create a pine barrens resort that spreads out in every direction. I'm just thrilled that my team had a chance to be a part of this, and it's fun to see how Sand Valley has evolved in the past two years.”


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Course Architect

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David McLay Kidd

David McLay Kidd's father was a greenkeeper at Glasgow Golf Club. As a child he’d listen to his father’s golf ramblings while as a teenager he’d earn pocket money raking bunkers for his dad.

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