Sand Valley in Wisconsin is a Golfer’s Playground of Plenty


All images courtesy Sand Valley

When it comes to getaways, Sand Valley lives up to the name. The four-year-old golf course and resort in the heart of Wisconsin is far enough away from city life to make it feel like a world of its own. But at the same time, it’s just a short drive from Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago — making it easily accessible, whether you’re looking for a quick weekend escape or a full-blown vacation.

It’s not just the location that makes it feel like you’ve left the rest of the world behind, however. Every feature of this property is designed to create a sense of relaxed comfort and complete serenity. That begins with the natural beauty of the land itself: Sprawling across 1,700 acres, Sand Valley Golf Resort has a spacious, open environment that showcases the sand dunes and unique vegetation of the area, while the cottages, cabins, lodge rooms and suites provide different options and ambiances to allow you to choose the exact environment you want to enjoy during your stay. Regardless of your lodging choice, however, you’ll enjoy the sweeping views that make this a resort unlike any other.


Since opening its first course in 2017, Sand Valley quickly captured the golf world’s attention — and for good reason. Brought to life by Mike Keiser — the same developer behind the top-ranked Bandon Dunes course in Oregon — Sand Valley bears some similarities to its legendary predecessor; in that it relies on the climate and topography of the area to create a truly exceptional golfing experience. But one more way that Sand Valley distinguishes itself from other resorts is that it offers three very different courses for play, making it one of the only resorts in the U.S. to have multiple Top 30 golf courses in a single location.


The first two courses were designed by Coore & Crenshaw, the same firm that masterminded Bandon Dunes, and they delivered the same world-class approach that led Golf Digest to name Sand Valley the “Best New Course of 2017.” With its fast fairways and massive, exposed sand dunes, it provides a fun playing option, but also makes sure that each player is fully challenged before leaving the course.

The Sand Valley course is the flagship course for the resort, but there are two more options for golfers. The Sandbox, another Coore & Crenshaw-designed course, opened in 2018 with a completely different look, feel and playing experience. Once again working with the natural features of the land, this 17-hole short course plays through a restored sand prairie. It’s just 50 yards from the Clubhouse and, if you choose to stay in one of the lodges, it might serve as your backyard during your visit.

This short course offers several unique features, with some of the greens modeled after the famed Template Holes, including the Punchbowl, the Biarritz, Double Plateau and Lion’s Mouth, among others. The internal contours of the greens add to the unique and interesting design of the course, and it makes for a golf experience that’s fast but fun — and great for beginners and experienced golfers alike. And, since each green is designed differently, it creates a unique challenge at every hole.


The third course, Mammoth Dunes, also opened in 2018 and was crafted by David McLay Kidd. The course no doubt earned its name from the features Kidd incorporated into the design, such as huge fairways, large, accessible greens and endless hillsides of exposed sand to create a thrilling 18-hole course. It immediately captured Golf magazine’s title of “Best New Golf Course,” and Golf Digest ranks it No. 29 on “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.”

When you’re not on the greens, Sand Valley has plenty of ways to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors, with 15 grass tennis courts, three lakes for enjoying water activities, several miles of hiking and biking trails, and a variety of lawn games. The 24/7 fitness center lets you keep up with your preferred physical fitness program, or you can enjoy the 45-minute Strength & Stretch class to help increase flexibility, mobility, and stability. 


The dining options offer a taste of central Wisconsin, with locally sourced meals that include the contemporary, semi-formal Aldo’s Farm & Table restaurant and the rustic and relaxing Mammoth Bar with craft beers, specialty cocktails and elevated bar food. For a more intimate dining experience, Sand Valley offers in-cottage dining options, in which they’ll stock your cottage with select food and drinks, and even provide setup, serving and take-down of themed dinners.

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