The Sandbox Golf Course Review

50 Words or Less

The Sandbox, the short course at Sand Valley Golf Resort, is aptly named.  One of the most fun golf experiences that you can have.

Introduction

The short course is having a moment in golf right now.  Golfers are realizing that you can have a lot of fun with just a couple wedges and a putter in the bag.  Sand Valley is the latest resort to add such a course, and I have no doubt The Sandbox will quickly take a place among the best short courses in golf.

Practice Facilities

The Sandbox shares practice facilities with Mammoth Dunes and Sand Valley.  A short shuttle ride from the lodge, you’ll find a massive range and two large short game greens.  To warm up your putting, just walk behind the lodge to the enormous green.

All that said, if you’re stressing about warming up your game before heading out to The Sandbox, you’re missing the point.

Customer Service & Amenities

The Sandbox shares a clubhouse and lodge with Mammoth Dunes, and you can read more about that HERE.  I will recount the best thing about the pro shop, which is the free Spotted Cow on draft.

One amenity that is unique to The Sandbox is the free loan of a quiver bag.  There’s no reason to take your full arsenal to a course without a hole over 150 yards.  Throw a few sticks in a quiver and enjoy the walk.

You can also leave your rangefinder in your bag.  The shovel tee markers – which are awesome – have the yardage to the flag written in chalk.

Beauty & Scenery

The Sandbox has a small footprint, especially compared to the massive Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes layouts, but it never feels congested.  Coore & Crenshaw have found a way to allow for some long views while keeping each hole separated from the others.

The Sandbox’s aesthetic is similar to the other courses at Sand Valley.  It’s a rugged, rustic look with patches of trees, tall native grass, and rolling mounds.

Course Design

With the majority of holes playing from 80 to 100 yards, you would think that playing The Sandbox would get redundant.  It’s anything but, and it serves as a lesson in the importance of greens.  The Sandbox may have the most interesting, varied, and fun set of greens you’ll find.  Every type of green is here: redan, double plateau, biarritz, and much more, and you don’t need to be an architecture nerd to appreciate the variety.

The score card indicates that there are three sets of tees: Crenshaw, Coore, and Putting, but the card also states that if you’re putting, you can tee from anywhere you want.  That’s the best window into the vibe of The Sandbox.  Throw down a ball, hit a shot, have some fun.

You can also gather, based on the idea of “putting tees,” that the ground game is very much in play at The Sandbox.  There are countless hills, mounds, and dunes that will make running shots interesting, treacherous, and rewarding.

Favorite Holes

Hole #5

This tiny bunker has gravity that’s far stronger than you can imagine.  Give it a lot of respect, or you’ll be stuck like I was.

Hole #3

The Double Plateau green is amazing.  It’s a 90 yard shot at most, but its a tough one.  If your tee shot doesn’t find the right level, you’ll have some tricky putting to do.

Hole #9

Pictures do no justice to how big and how crazy this green is.  You can’t even appreciate the slopes standing on the tee.  Do your best to hit it really close because there are no easy putts.  On second thought, hit it to 50 feet and just enjoy the roller coaster putt you’ll have.

Conclusion

If I could make The Sandbox my home course, I would.  I’d let my driver rust and spend my days hitting high wedges and running 7-irons into the fun house of greens that Coore & Crenshaw have created.  This is a fantastic addition to Sand Valley, and an absolute must play.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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2 Comments

  1. Bob Pegram

    A short course like this is also a great place for a new golfer to learn. After getting reasonably good here, a full size course is way less intimidating. It also means the new golfer won’t hold up other golfer nearly as much when first playing a full sized course.

  2. Pingback: My 5 Forever Golf Courses - Plugged In Golf

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