Bandon Dunes developer Mike Keiser purchased 1,500 acres of land for the project in Rome, Wis., in December, and has selected Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to design the first golf course. Clearing and rough shaping of the land will begin this year, with construction scheduled to begin in 2015, preview play for the founders in 2016, and public play in 2017.
A 360-acre European-style golf course first proposed in 2011 is on its way to becoming a 1,500-acre multi-course reality in Rome, Wis., the Wausau (Wis.) Daily reported.
In December, Mike Keiser, who created Bandon (Ore.) Dunes Golf Resort, purchased 1,500 acres of land owned by Plum Creek Timberlands, said Craig Haltom, a representative from Oliphant Golf, based in Madison. Oliphant will construct the golf course, the Daily reported.
C&RB reported on Keiser’s purchase of the land last year (“Bandon Dunes Developer Plans Wisconsin Resort”).
Rome Town Chairman Phil McLaughlin said he met with Keiser a few weeks ago to discuss plans for the golf course, which will be called Sand Valley, the Daily reported. “I would not be surprised to see famous people showing up to play the course,” McLaughlin said.
Keiser has selected golf course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to design the first course in the Rome project, Haltom said. “These guys are the best of the best. I think it’s safe to say this development, with Keiser involved, is one of the most high-profile things that will happen in golf in the next few years,” Haltom said.
There isn’t a lot of development of new golf courses happening, Haltom said, and there are very few projects that have goals as ambitious as the project in Rome, the Daily reported.
Keiser reached out to people who told him they wanted to be involved in any new golf course projects he started. About 120 people have paid $50,000 each to be a “founder” in the golf course, the Daily reported.
Work will begin in 2014 with clearing and some type of rough shaping, Haltom said. The people involved will be walking around the property to determine exactly what is there and the best way to lay out the holes, the Daily reported.
“Until we get the trees down, we’re not sure which direction it takes,” Haltom said.
Construction on the first course should start in 2015, and it likely will open for preview play by the founders in 2016. In 2017, after the plantings are mature, it will open to the public, though the schedule could change, the Daily reported.
The course will be links-style, taking advantage of the sand, sand dunes and brush that already are on the property. If the first course is successful, Keiser will proceed with plans to build additional courses on the property, the Daily reported.
The town feels Sand Valley is a perfect fit, said Jon Sonnenberg, Rome Highway and Public Works director. The town is built around recreation, and the golf course fits into that. “It will make us a go-to destination for golf,” Sonnenberg said.
Sand Valley is big for Rome in more ways than one, McLaughlin said. It will serve notice to other recreational developers that Rome is a good place to locate, the Daily reported.
“I’m trying to promote the idea to as many people who might listen that there’s a lot of land for sale to do those things,” McLaughlin said.
The new golf course fits in with the Wisconsin Trapshooting Association’s new facilities in Rome, McLaughlin said. The new course also will shine a light on the golf courses already existing in Rome, McLaughlin said, adding that since the links-style course is different from the current golf courses in the community, people will play on more than one, the Daily reported.