Matt Ginella called Mike Keiser for some Sand Valley news and instead go word that the mysterious Sheep Ranch course near Keiser's visionairy golf development will now be re-imagined into a fifth course.
This also sounds like an end to Keiser's well-intentioned plan to build the Bandon Muny links.
"Gil is the front runner for the Sheep Ranch," Keiser said. "But it's not a done deal."
Hanse and his firm's partner Jim Wagner have both toured the property. Keiser has been trying to hire Hanse for over a decade on what was going to be called Bandon Muny, at least 27 holes 25 minutes south of the resort. After years of stalled and complicated negotiations with the Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon State Park's Department, Keiser walked away last year and started looking at other options for expansion.
"That was disappointing," said Josh Lesnik, President of Kemper Sports, which has managed Bandon Dunes since before it opened. "But when it didn't work out with the Muny concept, I never imagined something as good as this would come out of it. The Sheep Ranch is a better site. It's closer. In hindsight, it's really a gift that Muny didn't happen."
Alan Bastable filed this Golf.com piece on the Sheep Ranch story two years ago.
It is a unique design, which is something every designer hopes to achieve but few ever attain. We knew from the start it wouldn't be to everyone's tastes -- even Phil Friedman, our client, struggled with the idea that there was no set 18-hole routing. But for a lot of people who played it, it held a special place in their hearts, and it's predictable that the posters here who are questioning it never went to play it for themselves.