Bandon Developer’s Wisconsin Project Hopes to Bring Golfers Behind the Cheddar Curtain
The Green Bay Packers may have lost in the first round of the NFL playoffs, but ever since then the Badger state has been on a roll. On Wednesday night the fourth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team routed #23 Illinois 95-70 to run their record to a perfect 16-0. And on Thursday greeting card magnate and Bandon Dunes developer Mike Keiser announced he’d purchased land about 70 minutes north of Madison with the intention of building a links course in partnership with the design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
“At first it seemed like a pretty remote place,” said Mike Keiser, Jr., in an interview with Golf.com Thursday. “But it’s around three hours from Minneapolis, maybe four hours from Chicago, and when we compared it to Bandon in the corner of Oregon, and Barnbougle Dunes, which requires an 18-hour flight, we realized it’s the most accessible golf course we’ve ever built!”
Coore and Crenshaw are also at work on another Keiser project, Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia, the second course at Cabot Links. And Keiser also has committed to a 36-hole development about 10 miles south of the original Bandon Dunes, with the intention of making it an affordable alternative for locals as well as a breeding ground for caddies and junior golfers. (Gil Hanse will design the first 18 holes.) That’s enough to keep anyone busy, but Keiser Sr. couldn’t resist the sandy soil and towering dunes in Wisconsin.
He said in Thursday’s press release:
I have purchased the land and The Founders and I have decided to build the first of four golf courses at Sand Valley. The first course will be designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (Bandon Trails, Cabot Cliffs). Design work will begin as soon as the snow melts and we plan to be open for play in Spring 2016.
With Cabot Cliffs (Inverness, Nova Scotia) underway and Gil Hanse and I working on Bandon Links (Bandon, OR), I really tried to resist this project, but within 30 minutes of being on site, I was hooked. It is a thrilling dunescape – a cross between Pine Valley and Sand Hills.