Thursday, December 2, 2021

Sand Valley revives Lido Golf Club in Wisconsin

NEKOOSA, Wisconsin (AP) – Classic Old Golf Course – Lido – reborn 1,000 miles from the original with a video game and GPS-guided tractors.

The Lido at Sand Valley Golf Resort in downtown Wisconsin is arguably the Keizer family’s most ambitious golf course development project. They aim to accurately recreate the original Long Island, New York course, down to bunker placement, fairway contours, and even heading orientation.

All that will be missing is the Atlantic Ocean.

The original Lido Golf Club opened in 1917 and was considered one of the world’s finest golf courses, owned by the same company as Royal Dornoch, Ballybunion, Pine Valley Shinnecock and National Golf Links. The course was designed by architect CB Macdonald and features three holes inspired by Country Life magazine’s golf architecture design competition entries. The winner of the competition was Alistair Mackenzie, who was considered one of the greatest architects of golf.

Lido fell into disrepair during the Great Depression and closed when the land was taken over by the US naval forces during World War II.

Since then, it has become the holy grail of lost golf courses, dubbed “The Best Course You Will Never Play” by the Golf Channel.

“It was in the air,” said Michael Keizer, who leads the project in Wisconsin with his brother Chris.

Since the original field had to be fabricated – 2 million cubic yards of sand were delivered to fill the swamps on Long Island – extensive plans were then drawn up detailing the design.

Michael and Chris’ father, Mike Keizer, who designed the Bandon Dunes along the Oregon Coast, wanted to reproduce the Lido after reading George Bakhto’s biography CB Macdonald “The Golf Evangelist.”

After consulting with Bahto, Keizer considered reviving him with the Old Macdonald Course at Bandon Dunes, before deciding to pay tribute to MacDonald and civil engineer Seth Raynor. A similar homage to Lido, Ballyshear Golf Links was designed by Gil Hans and recently opened in Thailand at the Ban Rakat Club.

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The Keizers’ idea to recreate the Lido was discarded until Michael began digging for information on the old course that intrigued his father.

“During COVID, I went down to one of the rabbit holes to study the Lido and convince myself that it is as good as some people have seen and thought,” he said.

Peter Flory, a financial consultant and part-time golf historian, created a detailed version of The Lido using the video game The Golf Club. Flory reviewed the photographs and other historical information, creating a digital duplicate that became a blueprint for copying.

And the Keizer family already had what they thought was the perfect vacation spot.

The sandy valley was built on dunes that were once the bottom of a glacial lake. The relief was suitable for the movement of the earth and its formation necessary for the revival of the Lido.

The Kaisers hired Tom Doack and Brian Schneider to build the track exactly to specifications using GPS-guided tractors that can tilt with millimeter precision.

“What Tom and Brian are doing is that they have great routes through beautiful tracts of land where they don’t have to do much,” said Michael Keizer. “Here they have to touch every square inch. It’s intense creativity in every square centimeter. “

Lido is being built north of Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes, among high-level Wisconsin fields including Whistling Straight, Blackwolf Run, Erin Hills and Sentryworld.

“I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this will be one of the most anticipated course openings in history,” said Rob Jansen, executive director of the Wisconsin State Golf Association.

Lido will be a private course available to resort guests. It will open with 13 holes next summer and will open fully in 2023.

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