Top Golf Travel Destinations: Wisconsin's Stunning Sand Valley Golf Resort
By Chris Lewis
No. 14 at Mammoth Dunes.(Jeff Bertch)
Location, location, location. When it comes to memorable buddies golf trips, location is typically always key. And Nekoosa, Wisconsin's Sand Valley Golf Resort has a prime location.
Nestled in a remote area on a sand-based site, Sand Valley, in turn, offers guests a true links golf experience. Yet it is also close enough to some large cities, enabling buddies golf groups to easily travel to the resort, via airports and highways.
Aside from its remote location among central Wisconsin's prehistoric sand dunes, the resort also has four golf courses for friends to enjoy, including Sand Valley (designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw), Mammoth Dunes and The Sandbox (a 17-hole, par-3 course also designed by Coore and Crenshaw).
Created with London’s Heathland golf courses in mind, Sand Valley, Mammoth Dunes and The Sandox enable golf buddies to participate in the game’s rich history without having to travel overseas.
For starters, Sand Valley features large, exposed sand dunes, fast fairways and an array of shot options for golfers to consider. Like all Coore-Crenshaw layouts, the course is challenging for golfers of all skill levels, yet highly enjoyable, too.
On the other hand, Mammoth Dunes, a David McLay Kidd design, is more reminiscent of the Old Course at St. Andrews, as it has large fairways and greens. Yet, it also offers its own unique characteristics with several massive hillsides of exposed sand.
Finally, The Sandbox was developed on a restored sand prairie. Providing unusual green complexes — from a double plateau to a lion’s mouth — the par-3 course, like Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes, is challenging from tee to green.
“The Sandbox is simply too fun not to play while visiting,” says Brandon Carter, the PGA of America Marketing & Communications Manager for Sand Valley Golf Resort. “Due to its variety of courses, including The Sandbox, Sand Valley offers guests an opportunity to create a completely customizable buddies golf trip too, according to their unique golfing preferences.”
Aside from these three courses, Sand Valley has also recently opened The Lido, which has been available for resort play since June. Originally designed by Charles Blair Macdonald, the course was restored by Tom Doak and Renaissance Golf.
As an example of the resort’s continuous growth, a fifth course, known as Sedge Valley, is set to open soon, too, as it will be available for play during the summer of 2024.
“In addition to our various golf options, Sand Valley has a friendly, relaxed vibe, while also catering to groups of all ages and sizes,” Carter adds.
Offering guests a lodge, suites, and one-bed, four-bed and eight-bed cottages, the resort provides practically any type of accommodation that golf buddies are looking for, as each room has been developed with traveling golfers in mind. Not to mention, four restaurants — Aldo’s (contemporary farm-to-table dining), Craig’s Porch (drinks and food in a casual atmosphere), Mammoth Bar (rustic dining) and Sand Valley (a food truck located at The Sandbox) — have been created for nearly every type of tastebud.
“We also offer $1 food items and $3 beers on the courses,” Carter says. “And we have firepits in multiple locations for guests to kick their feet up and share stories from the day — all while enjoying the resort’s outstanding views.”
Other Courses Near Sand Valley:
Bullseye Golf Club: Opened in 1922 as a member-owned country club, Bullseye is now available for public play. An 18-hole course, Bullseye has been created for golfers of all skill levels.
Lake Arrowhead: Located near Sand Valley, Lake Arrowhead offers golfers two courses to choose from if they’d like to explore other golfing options while they’re in the area: the Pines and Lakes Courses. The association partners with various nearby lodges for Stay and Play packages too.
TriCity Golf Course: A public, 9-hole golf course, TriCity provides a variety of tee boxes, enabling all golfers to enjoy the Roger Packard-designed layout. It will also test golfers’ short games, primarily due to its challenging greens.