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April 14, 2020 8:26 AM
Posted: April 14, 2020 8:26 AM
Updated: April 14, 2020 1:59 PM
Michael Keiser still remembers the day in 2013 back his ancestors absitively not to go advanced with the axial Wisconsin golf resort the apple now knows as Beach Valley.
Keiser’s dad, Mike Keiser, was already acclaimed in golf circles for creating Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, a array of august courses on a barefaced overlooking the Pacific Ocean in alien Oregon, in 1999.
Mike Keiser was careful of a armpit that lacked an ocean. But back they absitively not to anatomy a golf advance on the acreage in arctic Adams County, Mike Keiser about asked some bodies from the Field Museum in Chicago to analysis it. Perhaps the acreage had addition use?
The scientists’ address included a archetype of Aldo Leopold’s “A Beach County Almanac” and declared what would appear if the ecosystem was adequate to a time afore the burying of ache copse for their cardboard potential.
Michael Keiser says he and his dad both apprehend Leopold’s book, which elicited visions of reemergent, bottomward beach dunes as the axial affection of a starkly admirable accustomed terrain. Maybe there was a golf resort there afterwards all.
“We absitively an ocean of prairie and beach and jack pines could attempt with any anatomy of water,” Michael Keiser says.
They were right. The aboriginal golf course, alleged Beach Valley, opened in May 2017 and was alleged the country’s best new advance of that year by Golf Digest. A second, Mammoth Dunes, opened a year after and Golf Magazine alleged it the best new advance of 2018. There’s now a par-3 advance and affairs for a third adjustment 18-hole advance to accessible by 2022.
But Michael Keiser, who is managing accomplice of Beach Valley and owns it with his brother, Chris Keiser (the bake accepting been anesthetized by their dad), sees a approaching that weds a beyond absorption accomplishment with golf — a approaching that ability accommodate wilderness aisle hiking, horseback riding, bird-watching, fat bike benumbed and cross-country skiing.
“If it’s activity to be preserved,” Michael Keiser says of the beyond apology project, “it helps if it’s enjoyed.”
Michael Keiser, 38, has lived in Madison with his wife, Jocelyn, back 2016. They accept a son who was built-in in July of that year and are assured a babe this July.
Golf will consistently be the agent active Beach Valley, and Michael Keiser came to the action early — not surprisingly, through his dad.
In 1971 Mike Keiser co-founded a greeting agenda aggregation that accumulated the use of recycled cardboard with amusing phrasing. It chaotic the banausic greeting agenda industry and fabricated him wealthy.
A golfer acceptable abundant to comedy on Amherst College’s team, Mike Keiser acclimated some of the money to buy acreage on Lake Michigan, 70 afar from Chicago in New Buffalo, Michigan. As a kid, Michael helped his dad cut copse and bright trails. They’d booty a brace of clubs and comedy what they alleged “wilderness golf” on what is now the Dunes Club, one of the country’s best 9-hole courses.
When Michael Keiser was 14, his dad took him to Scotland, the birthplace of golf.
“We played 36 holes at Royal Dornoch,” Michael Keiser says, referencing a allegorical advance in the hard-to-access Scottish Highlands. “That’s area I got the bug.”
Dornoch additionally afflicted his dad. By 1989, Mike Keiser was actively analytic for acreage for a golf advance that could be both amazing and accessible (Dunes Club is private).
Michael Keiser had accompanied his dad to Oregon to see a ample application of acreage that adjoined the Pacific but was hours from a burghal of any admeasurement and an hour from a baby bounded airport. Everyone said it was too remote. Well, so was Dornoch. Beyond that, Mike Keiser capital a advance that accustomed walking only — no paths for carts.
“I was there,” Michael Keiser says, “when a lot of bodies told him he was crazy.”
The aboriginal advance at Bandon Dunes in Oregon opened in 1999. There are now four 18-hole courses, a par-3 advance and a fifth advance set to accessible in June. It is a amazing success, one of the world’s top golf destinations.
Michael Keiser — who abounding Santa Clara University in California, area he advised economics and Latin — knew he capital to assignment in the business. Afterwards spending a year in golf operations in Australia, he accomplished he capital to actualize a golf resort rather than accomplish one. He followed his dad’s admonition to go achieve abroad first, alive for a absolute acreage development close in Chicago.
Sand Valley provided the befalling to acknowledge his dad and eventually booty on a administration role.
Michael Keiser’s affairs for Beach Valley may eventually accommodate a science and apprenticeship component, a 3-acre putting course, a barbecue restaurant and a brewery. They’re demography it in increments.
Craig Haltom, who has beat abundant hats in the golf business in Wisconsin and aboriginal brought the Beach Valley acreage to the Keisers’ attention, has watched Michael Keiser aggrandize on his father’s vision.
“He took an access that was agnate to his dad’s, in putting golf first,” Haltom says. “But Michael has additionally alien the abstraction of demography these added concepts and aggregate them seamlessly with the golf. Not aloof a account of amenities, but what would be the coolest and best across-the-board use of the property.”
Michael Keiser himself says, “It’s appealing arresting how all this has appear together.”
How it all started is remembered, too. In every bedfellow allowance at Beach Valley is a archetype of “A Beach County Almanac.”
Doug Moe is a Madison biographer and a above editor of Madison Magazine. Apprehend his blog, “Doug Moe’s Madison,” on madisonmagazine.com.
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