Last spring, I traveled to the wilds of central Wisconsin to play in a small event to mark the opening of the new Mammoth Dunes course at Sand Valley, noted course developer Mike Keiser’s latest creation. Designed by David McLay Kidd, Mammoth was the second track to come online at that resort. There was a lot about it to like. The deft routing. The sandy soil that drains so well and allows ample fairways to run firm and fast. The rugged blowout bunkers. The big greens, many of which are cut on top of dunes or tucked into natural bowls.
Strangely, I was also drawn to another feature of Mammoth Dunes: a set of very forward tees that were described on the scorecard as “Royal Blue.” They were one of six sets on the par-73 layout. What set them apart was the overall length the course played from those markers (just 4,010 yards) and the fact that they were simply set in different parts of the fairways, not on formal tee boxes.
Only once before had I seen anything like that – Pine Valley, which some years ago had installed super-senior markers on several holes so golfers of a certain age did not have to carry the course’s famous waste areas with their drives.
Though I never hit a shot from the Royal Blues at Mammoth, I could not help wondering why they had been added. After my game, I asked Keiser and Kidd.
What I learned intrigued me, for those tees and the ones that just play a tad longer (Silvers at 4,699 yards) represent a bold new trend. Kidd goes so far as to call ...
Get access to this article and all the quality, in-depth journalism of Global Golf Post Plus.
or Log In