Re-imagining a Classic
From Craig Haltom, Architect
There’s an exciting vision for the next 100 years of golf in Lac La Belle, and from the beginning of the project, we defined success with three overriding goals:
1. Fix the drainage and water issues across the site
2. Make each hole memorable and dramatic
3. Build a course that is relevant to all kinds of golfers
I think we have succeeded in achieving these things, and my hope is that we have done so in a way that is consistent with the site’s rich golfing heritage and remarkable history.
The new Golf Club at Lac La Belle is full of fun and creative shotmaking opportunities—both through the air and on the ground.
We are also particularly pleased with how the tree clearing has turned out. 100’s of beautiful old specimen trees, giant old Oaks and White Pines, now stand out prominently (whereas before they were choked by nuisance trees and hidden on the sides of narrow golf holes). In short, the new course feels big in a way the old routing and tree plantings simply did not allow, and the individual golf holes feature plenty of interesting width.
The new Golf Club at Lac La Belle is full of fun and creative shotmaking opportunities–both through the air and on the ground. Nearly all of the approaches into greens are open and allow run up shots. If the club’s original founders and its legendary Scottish golf professionals were alive today, our hope is that they would recognize in our new course the kind of fun, ‘sporting’ golf that was such a foundational part of the game at the turn of the last century.
The future of golf in Lac La Belle is indeed bright!
With a rich history setting roots into our soil, honoring that history was of the utmost importance as the Morse family set forth to reinvigorate the course. Craig has a love for preserving history, and the move to select him as the course designer became an easy choice. By allowing the heritage of one of the oldest courses in Wisconsin to whisper through the layout and design, we created a treasure for all.
Craig Haltom received a graduate degree in landscape architecture and a true education in links golf while living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Upon returning to the United States he has worked on many high profile golf construction projects throughout his impressive career with Oliphant Group. While out hiking in central Wisconsin he discovered the land and developed the course that would become known as Sand Valley; a truly unique vision brought to reality across massive sand dunes and other breathtaking landforms. He continues to develop golf courses with the development team from Sand Valley and Oliphant Golf.