Last summer I was contacted by Jeff Bertch of Links & Landscape Photography to be part of an exciting new project on behalf of the Wisconsin State Golf Association (WSGA): “Wisconsin Captured.”
Their concept was simple: To highlight the state’s 10 most nationally renowned public golf courses (as ranked by Golf Digest) along with the in-state photographers, videographers and personalities who spend their time creating content for them.
This morning marked the release of the first course video in the series, on SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, for which I was lead/guest content creator working with Jeff, Gimme Golf Studio’s Kyle Walton and photo/video extraordinaire Jordan Gibbons:
The 2021/2022 Golf Digest Top 100 Public Courses list used for the Wisconsin Captured project included:
- Whistling Straits (#3)
- Erin Hills (#9)
- Blackwolf Run, River course (#16)
- Sand Valley (#18)
- Mammoth Dunes (#29)
- Whistling Straits, Irish course (#47)
- SentryWorld (#50)
- Lawsonia Links (#68)
- Blackwolf Run, Meadow Valleys course (#74)
- The Bull at Pinehurst Farms (#91)
I was asked to be lead content creator for SentryWorld and The Bull, and was also able to join for morning photography on the Straits course where professional videographer Jason John Jahnke took lead.
Here are some of my photos from that session in my article Wisconsin Captured: Summer’s Sunrise Over Whistling Straits:
Wisconsin Captured: Summer’s Sunrise Over the Straits Course
For years I’ve dreamt of flying a drone over Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin, and last month finally got the opportunity as part…Keep reading
I met up with Jeff, Kyle and Jordan at SentryWorld late in the afternoon last July 18, which was their first stop in what would be an epic 10-day trip across the Dairy State.
We headed out on the course right away to start gathering content during the early part of the evening’s golden hour, focusing a bit more on the world-famous Flower Hole at that time as well as on some of the property’s inland water features.
Within an hour of meeting the team I was grabbing a circular video of the 4th hole green site (which has been expanded back to open up a new pin location for the 2023 US Senior Open this summer) with my Mavic 2 drone and clipped a tree branch overhanging the massive inland pond. I saw the video flicker on my controller, followed by a twirling of tree branches and loud propeller noises from a couple hundred feet away before the screen went dark.
What followed was an awful feeling… Having just met these guys (who do really great work that I enjoy and respect), I was incredibly embarrassed but at the same time knew I needed to find wherever my drone ended up in the water.
Knowing the property as well as I do, I knew Sentry Insurance’s Chairman at the time of the course’s development, John Joanis, had the pond dug to a depth of 30 feet to allow trout to live in it. If it was anywhere close to that deep, that sucker was gone.
Jordan and I CSI’ed the situation using the last moments on video, a couple floating leaves and the location of the flagstick in relation to them. I waded out in the water and ended up finding it with my toes what felt like an hour later.
A total bummer, for sure, but retrieving it allowed me to send it in to DJI to be fixed for a few hundred bucks versus having to replace it for thousands. The guys were all incredibly gracious toward me and my mistake, allowing me to borrow a spare Mavic 2 and making me feel a bit better about myself – “if you haven’t crashed a drone or dropped one in the water, you’re probably not doing it right.” It was a right of passage. Right?
Staying overnight at the recently debuted, boutique Inn at SentryWorld (make sure to check out their stay-and-play packages for late 2023), we spent the night talking all things golf and were up early for daybreak photography the next morning.
Still borrowing Jeff’s backup drone, this was one of my all-time favorite photo sessions. The sunrise at SentryWorld was magnificent, as was the golf that followed. My buddy, Scott, came up to join and between the four of us we put together some pretty good swings… I even had three birdies on the day, including on the Flower Hole.
I agree with Kyle and Jeff that the Flower Hole almost does a disservice to SentryWorld. It’s all so many Wisconsin golf enthusiasts know about the course, but it’s nowhere near its best hole nor what makes the property so spectacular. I wouldn’t get rid of it, of course, but folks should know so much more about this golf experience than a single hole with 35,000 flowers planted around it.
I love that Kyle calls SentryWorld a “Garden” in the Instagram video (linked from Instagram, above). That’s something that’s always stood out to me about SentryWorld, too, is that it’s an incredibly curated modern golf experience that is packaged and presented in a sensational way. You will not find a course with better conditions in Wisconsin, or with better greens (their SubAir systems will make sure of that, as well), with better service, a more impressive all-inclusive experience or a better and a more laidback playing experience (including 20-minute tee time intervals!), nor with as much incredible beauty packed into what started as a flat and somewhat featureless piece of land.
Basically, I don’t think the 16th is Robert Trent Jones, Jr.’s “Mona Lisa.” The entire, magnificently modern golf course is.
If you’re looking to play SentryWorld in 2023, make sure to snag a late-season tee time now as the course will be closed leading up to the opening tee shots of the 43rd US Senior Open this June (June 27-July 2, 2023). Grab tickets or sign up to volunteer for the event, too, and be onsite to witness the best players in the world aged 50+ compete at one of our state’s best, most demanding golf courses.
SentryWorld has a terrific stay-and-play package, as well, and coupled with a round at nearby Stevens Point Country Club is one of the very best destinations for a 36-hole day of golf in all of Wisconsin.
Still want more? Here are some of my favorite photos from the Wisconsin Captured project at SentryWorld last July:
I put together a video of the Flower Hole last summer, too. If you aren’t already, please follow WiscoGolfAddict on YouTube where we will focus on developing a ton of exciting content this coming season!
And, finally, for more on Wisconsin Captured and all the great content creators involved, this was the first video released by the WSGA in this great series:
Other videos in the Wisconsin Captured series include (with links to WSGA’s posts on Instagram):
Sand Valley: Sand Valley & Mammoth Dunes courses
Release date: 4/4/2023
Featuring content creators and friends Keith Lally and Drew Westphal
Whistling Straits: Straits & Irish courses
Release date: 4/6/2023
Featured content creators: Jason Jahnke, Keith Lally
I was fortunate to join the team for the sunrise photo session on the back nine of the Straits course last year, which I chronicled in my article “Wisconsin Captured: Summer’s Sunrise Over the Straits Course,” linked below:
Wisconsin Captured: Summer’s Sunrise Over the Straits Course
Blackwolf Run: Meadow Valleys & River courses
Release date: 4/11/2023
Featured content creators: Jason Jahnke, Jerry Rossi
The Bull at Pinehurst Farms
Release date: 4/13/2023
Featured content creator: Paul Seifert (that’s me!)
I met up with the team from Gimme Golf Studio and friend of the show Jenny Janesky next at The Bull in Sheboygan Falls. I remember this course being so brutally difficult from the past times I’ve played it, but on this day we absolutely dismantled it with Kyle leading the way with a 1-over-par 73.
The guys crushed it with this video, getting beautiful scenic footage as well as plenty of dropped putts – it’s a beautiful representation of our memorable day together on the course.
Release date: 4/18/2023
Featured content creators: Clark Willard, Chelsea Willard
Release date: 4/20/2023
Featured content creators: Dylan Bloch, Drew Westphal, Jason Jahnke