Next Stop: Can Sand Valley Make Wisconsin the Next Golfing Destination?

What the land had, in spades, was immense tumbling dunes, some 50 feet high or more. And the potential, once the nonnative trees were cleared, of becoming home to not just one but four or five spectacular courses. The firm, sandy fairways, long open views, and exposure to strong winds would evoke the famous links of Scotland and Ireland and pay direct homage to the less well-known but well-loved “heathland” courses outside London. Mr. Keiser bought 1,700 acres from a tree plantation owner. He commissioned the golf design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, a former touring pro, to create a new course, to be known as Sand Valley. It opened last week.

I’ve managed to play at some of Wisconsin’s better known public-access golf courses, including Erin Hills outside Milwaukee, where the United States Open will be held in June, and Whistling Straits, along Lake Michigan, which anchors the Kohler luxury resort complex. It is one of four courses, all designed by Pete Dye, that offer a rare combination of links-style and parkland golf within proximity of one another.

Last year I learned about the ambitions of Sand Valley, and that…

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