Great Golf: Wisconsin’s SentryWorld
A two-year renovation yields a much-improved public course.
With just 27,000 residents, Stevens Point, Wisconsin is a small town with some pretty big claims to fame. It appears frequently on lists of America’s best places to live and retire, and it is home to a state university campus and several major corporations. Among the most prominent of these is Sentry Insurance, which employs 2,200 at its 364-acre headquarters and provides a variety of amenities that are open to the public. They include a gourmet restaurant, a 675-seat theater that houses the Central Wisconsin Symphony and an impressive golf course.
Called SentryWorld, the course originated in 1982 as a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design. It attracted attention for a flowery par-3 16th hole that looks like a sprawling bed of annuals on steroids. The parkland layout, arrayed around a vast lake, won high marks for its design. But over the years its hole corridors got closed in with tree overgrowth while the layout’s strategy—which demanded aerial carries into raised greens that had lots of front bunkering—began to look dated.
When it came time to redo the course in 2012, Sentry hired Jones and his then-associate Jay Blasi, to take a fresh look at the place. When Blasi went solo, Sentry kept him on to continue work in what became an interesting collaboration between the two.
A 22-month shutdown of the course has now yielded a much-improved SentryWorld, one that retains its old feel (and flower-bed hole) but that features four new holes, better use of the far side of the lake and a lot more room for fairway play, ground game approaches and diverse recovery. The par-72 layout—stretched by 300 yards to 7,237 from the back tees and including more forward markers that range from 4,674 yards up to 6,711—is now more fun to play than ever.
The revived golf course is part of a much-improved recreational facility that also offers indoor tennis, casual dining, spacious banquet halls and private meeting rooms. Public access remains a hallmark of the place, as does group availability for corporate functions.
COURSE: For more information about SentryWorld, visit sentryworld.com or call (715) 345-1600.
AIRPORTS: Stevens Point Municipal Airport/Mattson Field (STE) has a 6,028-foot runway and is two miles east of the course. Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA) has a 7,645-foot runway and is 20 miles north of the course.
Brad Klein is the architecture editor of Golfweek. His latest book is Wide Open Fairways.