By now, we know how the Keiser family works. The team that brought us Bandon Dunes, Sand Valley and Cabot Cliffs requires only a couple of things to envision another golf paradise: sand-based land and compelling topography. Much of the rest is left up to architects at the top of their game: Tom Doak, David McLay Kidd, Coore-Crenshaw.
The newest Keiser project in Wisconsin — a re-creation of The Lido, C.B. Macdonald’s legendary, long-lost, 1914 oceanfront Long Island course — is much more complicated.
Using century-old records, Doak and Renaissance Golf have been hired to render, as accurately as possible, what was considered by some to be one of the greatest courses on the planet. That means strict routing and little wiggle room to make the Central Sands of Wisconsin feel like the expansive shores of the Atlantic.
“If this was just a very nice golf course lost to history, I’d have no interest in rebuilding it,” says Michael Keiser, son of Bandon Dunes founder Mike Keiser. “But The Lido was truly exceptional, therefore anything we build that’s not in that upper echelon — we can only blame ourselves. So it’s a different type of pressure.”
Pressure indeed, particularly from the crowd of design buffs who’ve cranked the hype to 11. The Keisers will lean heavily on Peter Flory, a Chicago businessman who researched The Lido for years, going so far as to create a 3D computer model of the original track. His work was so extensive he’s been brought on as the project’s consulting historian, an angel on Doak’s shoulder.
The course is expected to open in 2023, and its exclusivity adds to the stratospheric anticipation. The Lido will be a private club associated with nearby Sand Valley Resort. Public play will be allowed only on certain days. How often? That remains to be seen, but it’s a course Keiser wants the world to experience.
“I don’t think golf in this country would exist in its current form,” he says, “if it weren’t for what [Macdonald] brought to the game.”
For more on The Lido, check out its story at thelido.com.