(Michael Keiser Photo by Chris Hynes/Madison Magazine)
The son of Bandon Dunes developer Mike Keiser owns Sand Valley with his brother Chris and now lives in Madison, Wis., where he has proposed to support the renovation of the nine-hole course that dates to 1927 with “no strings attached.” The vision for the renovation would be drawn from St. Andrews’ Old Course, with hiking trails and other mixed-use features added to improvements to create a “fun, thoughtful, inclusive course.”
Michael Keiser—son of Mike Keiser, developer of the famed Bandon Dunes resort in Oregon, and owner with his brother Chris of the acclaimed Sand Valley resort in Rome, Wis., has volunteered, along with his wife, Jocelyn, to fund a renovation and reimagining of the public Glenway Golf Course in Madison, Wis., Madison Magazine reported (https://www.channel3000.com/celebrated-golf-entrepreneur-offers-to-transform-glenway-golf-course/).
The city of Madison’s Golf Subcommittee is schedule to meet virtually on January 28th, Madison Magazine reported, and Keiser’s offer for the improvements of Glenway’s nine-hole executive course, which first opened for play in 1927, will be on the agenda for discussion.
That will be the first step in a process that will eventually include the Board of Park Commissioners and the City Council, Madison Magazine reported. Keiser’s proposal appears to satisfy many of the recommendations of the city’s Task Force on Municipal Golf in Madison Parks, which promotes positive ecological outcomes, an attention to diversity and the opportunity for enjoyment by non-golfers.
Keiser first started thinking about Glenway, he told Madison Magazine, about two years ago, after reading a newspaper story about the troubled finances of Madison’s public golf courses. He then called Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp, who was quoted in the story.
“I [was] not really expecting him to call me back [but] I heard back from him in 45 minutes,” Keiser said. “We talked for an hour. The vision I described was in concert with his vision.”
Keiser’s vision, Madison Magazine reported, extends beyond rebuilding eight of Glenway’s nine greens to making the property more mixed-use, with hiking trails and the reintroduction of prairie and savannah species in turf areas not in play. Keiser points to the famed Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, as a model.
“They have trails going through the course,” he said. “When you’re teeing off on the second hole, there’s a trail to the right where people are walking their dogs. They close their golf course every Sunday and open it for non-golf activities.”
The routing of holes would not change dramatically, Keiser told Madison Magazine. “It’s really good as it is,” he said. “I think with outstanding greens it could be a course any of us would be happy to play, with our kids, our parents and our friends, for the rest of our lives. A fun, thoughtful, inclusive course.”
Keiser’s involvement, he told Madison Magazine, would not extend beyond providing funding “and the brilliant architects and others we’re lucky to work with to help make it successful.”
There would be “no strings attached,” he emphasized. But he did say he would like to move quickly. “There’s no time like the present,” he said.
That could require Glenway to be closed for all or part of the 2021 golf season, Madison Magazine reported.
“Madison’s such a progressive city,” Keiser said. “I think it would be cool to have a progressive golf course, one that’s inclusive and designed architecturally for all golfers. Most golf courses are designed by men for men. Why wouldn’t Madison be the city to lead that?”
Knepp has written to the subcommittee members in support of the project, Madison Magazine reported. “The focus of the project,” he wrote, “will be on ecological restoration and multi-purpose benefits of golf courses, which will at the same time enhance the golfing experience for players of all skill levels. The work will highlight the natural beauty of the course by opening up key vistas across the course.”
If approved, the Glenway project would be undertaken during the same time that the Keisers would also pursue their ambitious and innovative plan to recreate on the Sand Valley property the architecturally revered course from the Lido Golf Club on New York’s Long Island that was closed in World War II (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/keiser-family-to-recreate-long-lost-lido-gc-at-sand-valley/).