This year’s Illinois vs. Wisconsin Writer’s Cup was a long-anticipated match-up for many reasons: To start, Illinois has had our number for a few years, but most importantly it was to be held at the world’s most exciting new golf resort project, Sand Valley Golf Resort in Rome, Wisconsin.
I put up a preview of the front nine at Sand Valley after last year’s Media Day event here, and was unbelievably excited to see how things have grown in and especially to check out the back nine and lodging.
The back nine was everything I’d hoped it would be: More fantastic par threes and one great golf hole after another. Strategically placed sand traps, tricky greens and conditions that far exceeded what can be expected of a course that was seeded this Spring blew away everyone at the event.
Sand Valley has been blessed with one of the best two growing seasons in recent history. Weather in the Midwest has been mild, the winters [relatively] short and all the ingredients to be well ahead of its time just sort of fell in to place.
The initial plans for the course, in fact, were to have 13-15 holes open for preview play by the end of 2016, and already all 18 are and will undoubtedly become even more spectacular for its public unveiling in June, 2017.
The David McLay Kidd course is coming along nicely, too, with a number of holes already seeded and growing in beautifully. I unfortunately did not have time to tour it during this trip, so I can’t wait for my first thorough look at it next season.
I reviewed the front nine at Sand Valley in my original article from last year’s media day, linked here, so I will just include updated photos this time around with minimal commentary.
New photos from the front nine of the Sand Valley Golf Course at Sand Valley Golf Resort:
The par 4 first hole, bending right to left and downhill from “The Volcano”:
The par 4 second hole, bending left to right and uphill:
The par 3 third hole, a long par three best played running on from the right side:
The par 5 fourth hole, played steeply uphill:
The par 3 fifth hole, played downhill to a crowned green:
The par 4 sixth hole, with its “Speed slot” down the right side: