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The view from the 11th tee on Course 1 at Sand Valley GR south of Wisconsin Rapids. (Sand Valley photo / Ryan Farrow)

Sand Valley photo / Ryan Farrow

Sand Valley GR near Wisconsin Rapids is the best in its class.

That was the determination announced this week by Golf Digest magazine, which named the Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw design as its "Best New Course" for 2017. It beat out Silo Ridge Field Club, a Tom and Logan Fazio design in Amelia, N.Y., for the top honor.

"Given the name, many conclude Sand Valley is a combination of Nebraska's Sand Hills GC and New Jersey's Pine Valley," the magazine wrote of the Mike Keiser resort in the heart of Wisconsin. "But Sand Valley has its own personality, with some dual fairways, mammoth sand spits, enormous greens and even a hidden putting surface."

Among the panelists' comments was one that served as a reminder that the best may be yet to come. A second 18-hole layout, this one designed by David McLay-Kidd and called "Mammoth Dunes," is set to open in the summer of 2018.

"Loved this place," the panelist wrote. "Mr. Keiser is setting himself up another golf mecca."

Sand Valley is the third Wisconsin course to win the neational Best New Course designation from Golf Digest. SentryWorld in Stevens Point received the honor in 1983 and Blackwolf Run in Kohler earned the nod in 1988. In 1999, Whistling Straits in Haven finished second in the voting to Bandon Dunes in Oregon.