David McLay Kidd set out to prove the golf courses that are challenging and playable can be award-winning as well. Mission accomplished.
The finished product that is Mammoth Dunes at Sand Valley Resort near Nekoosa — the second championship layout over golden sands of Central Wisconsin — did just that. It opened in May to rave reviews and earned a split-decision at the end of the year when Golf Magazine named it the Best New Course of 2018 before Golf Digest, considered the leading authority on golf course construction, deemed it the runner-up to The Black Course at Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green, Florida, in its Best New Course race.
It was one of two honors from the publication (more on the other later) that landed Sand Valley at No. 2 on Wisconsin.Golf's list of the top 18 stories in 2018.
Golf Magazine spoke for the golfing masses in naming it Best New Course when it exalted Mammoth Dunes for stepping out from the shadows of the original Sand Valley layout designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw that swept Best New Course honors from Golf Digest and Golf Magazine in 2017 by writing: "How do you match or possibly top that? Easy. You craft a layout that checks every box — from its distinctive, sand-based setting and joy-filled appeal for both low- and high-handicappers, to its plethora of individually memorable, strategy-laced holes that unfurl on a massive scale."
Coore and Crenshaw, however, had their moment of magazine glory just the other day when Golf Magazine followed up its overall Best New Course honor with breakdowns of other categories. That's where their 17-hole addition to the Sand Valley portfolio, which also opened in May, earned the nod as Best New Short Course, calling the layout "family-friendly but compelling for all."
It concluded: "After one season, it’s clear: Golfers of every skill level dig the Sandbox." And, apparently, they're buggy about Mammoth Dunes, as well.
Thanks to better training and technology, golf is increasingly a game of long ball.
Everything about the David McLay Kidd design is over scale, from uber-generous fairways – one par-5 landing area was described by our caddie as being large as five football fields, and it seemed to be – to greens as large as some par-3s at other courses as developer Mike Keiser hits an home run with a layout that covers a lot of real estate.