By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – “Golf as it was meant to be” — the vision behind Sand Valley Golf Resort, which will open this June.
City officials and press were invited to a special “hard hat” tour of the Rome facility on Wednesday evening, and why according to Golf Advisor, it ranks #1 in the country of golf destinations to visit in 2017.
“Great golf, plus great food, plus great people, equals a great marketing plan,” said General Manager Glen Murray on the mentality of Sand Valley according to founder Mike Keiser. “We’re confident we have all three here, and that’s the recipe that’s worked, and we expect it to continue.”
Keiser’s most recent project was the scenic Bandon Trails Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. With architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw working on Sand Valley, the resort will be equitable to even the most seasoned golfers.
The resort will feature over five dozen rooms — the Fairway Lodge, The Clubhouse, and the Lake Leopold Cottage, located at the highest point of the course and overlooking Lake Leopold. Just steps away will be the Mammoth Bar and Lounge, which lives up to the name and will feature a 38.6 foot high ceiling.
With the 1,700 acre course seeing potentially hundreds of visitors a day, the real story is the current and future implications the resort has on the local economy.
“You may not have interest in golf, but have interest in the food and beverage, or hospitality employment aspect of the project,” said Mayor Zach Vruwink. “One of the big things for the city is for us to understand what the economic potential will be with Sand Valley and its proximity.”
According to Murray, Sand Valley will house over 300 employees, some of whom will come from all over the country. While they have seen applicants by students from Purdue University, Oregon University, and Penn State University, over 70% of the jobs will be positions filled by local area residents. These will be well-paying jobs with high expectations.
“We want them [customers] to play 36 holes a day,” said Murray. “This is a luxury course, but customers that stay here are luxury customers.”
Keeping with local support, lumber for the project has been locally sourced from Metcalf Lumber, and there have been talks with Aspirus to provide sports massages for resort guests. However, the buck just doesn’t stop there — as there are longstanding plans for future restoration to the property.
“Maybe the bigger story than the golf is the restoration of the landscape,” said Murray “Our owner has a goal of acquiring 100,000 acres of the area to restore long-term — there could be nature parks and eco parks that can be built.”
Opening day for Sand Valley will be May 2, while the clubhouse looks to be open by June 1. The Mammoth Dunes golf course is expected to be finished by 2018.
“We’re not just excited about the fact that things are happening, but that things are happening so quickly,” said Vruwink.
For more information on the resort, please visit http://www.sandvalleygolfresort.com/ The resort is located at 1697 Leopold Way in the Town of Rome.