Getting To Know: SentryWorld Golf Course
An Insightful Interview With Mike James, SentryWorld General Manager
By Brian Weis
Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Mike James who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.
Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
An iconic Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course with a rich history, SentryWorld blazed the trail as Wisconsin's first destination golf course. Owned and operated by Sentry Insurance and created through the vision of its then CEO John Joanis, the inaugural round was played on June 13, 1982 and the course quickly became famous for its world-class caliber and stunning signature "Flower Hole." In 2013, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. returned to SentryWorld, and in collaboration with course architects Bruce Charlton and Jay Blasi, oversaw a major renovation to the 200-acre course, with upgrades, improvements and changes to everything from its layout, greens, grasses and bunkers to its irrigation system, water features and even the onsite sports complex, now called the Fieldhouse. Two new holes3 and 12were added, and the majority of other holes were substantially renovated and improved. And the iconic sixteenth holethe Flower Holehas been preserved and improved.
After nearly two years of renovations, SentryWorld reopened in late summer 2014 to invite-only play, and is poised and ready to be open for the full season in 2015. Sentry Insurance is proud to have renewed its commitment to the community by investing in this renovation and returning SentryWorld to its position as Wisconsin's premier parkland golf course.
Expansive and gracious yet altogether intimate, the reimagined SentryWorld offers Wisconsin's premier parkland golf experience plus an outstanding Fieldhouse complete with Pro Shop, dining at PJ's SentryWorld, wedding, banquet and meeting space and so much more. We invite everyone to experience this renewed legend nestled in the heart of central Wisconsin.
If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
SentryWorld is truly unique to central Wisconsin and to the entire Midwest. The reimagined course honors SentryWorld's history and stays true to providing a one-of-a-kind parkland golf experience.
The course has been rerouted and renumbered and features two completely new par-three holes, several holes that were significantly recrafted on the same site, as well as holes that are a hybrid of existing holes. Those who played SentryWorld for many years will be surprised in that they'll recognize the same corridors that they played. It will be familiar, but a new experience.
SentryWorld's setting is magical and the new design features were expertly crafted. A lot more variety in the types of hazards and lengths of the holes has been introduced. The new design and routing provides variety in the lengths of the par fourssome short, some medium, some long.
Golfers should come experience the new SentryWorld because we strived and succeeded to make the course more challenging and thought-provoking for good golfers while more fun and enjoyable for everyday players. The fun factor has been elevated for all golfers and SentryWorld is truly a course you have to experience first-handFlower Hole and all.
More than anything, there is no better way to convince golfers to play SentryWorld than to use the words of those who have had the chance to play the newly renovated course in 2014. "You will find the "new" Sentryworld to be AWESOME," said Bill Linneman, Wisconsin State Golf Association director of rules and competitions. "It is, without question, one of the best courses in our state, rivaling the Kohler courses!" Additionally, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel golf beat writer Gary D'Amato reviewed the course. "In a word. Spectacular," said D'Amato. "SentryWorld started it all in 1982. More than 30 years later, it's again jumped to the forefront."
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
The new SentryWorld golf course offers improved and unique scoring opportunities. The initial design required a precise aerial game to carry large bunkers that guarded each green. Players who miscalculated their approach often found themselves playing out of a deep bunker to a tier green. Many professionals were nervous on these shotslet alone a skilled player or even a professional.
The new course allows for entry onto the green from the air and by land. The front of many greens are open to "bump and run" a shot onto the green. In addition, the new SentryWorld course offers "kicker slopes" on select greens that help "kick" a slightly wayward shot back onto the green.
One final tip regarding the kicker slopes: be sure to use them strategically and err potential shot misses toward the kicker slopes. Those who think before hitting will shoot lower scores.
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
Over the years, SentryWorld has received numerous awards and accolades. SentryWorld was the first-ever winner of Best New Public Course from Golf Digest in 1983 and has been ranked as a Golf Digest top 10 course in the Wisconsin: Best in State category every year since the course opened. Thirty-one years later, SentryWorld has been listed as number 15 in Golf Digest's Best New and Newly Remodeled Courses of 2014.
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
Hands down, the preserved, yet improved, iconic sixteenth hole at SentryWorldthe Flower Hole. Known throughout the golf world, the Flower Hole is synonymous with the legend of SentryWorld. For 2014, the Flower Hole boasted nearly 36,000 flowers ranging from begonias, celosias and ipomeas to lobularias, petunias, salvias and zinnias. The iconic par-three hole is truly one-of-a-kind and a must-see experience for golfers and non-golfers alike. Golfers get to play a fully modernized version of the original hole, which offers both a spectacular photo opportunity as well as a challenging par three requiring a precise shot that sets the tone for the final holes.
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
Hole 5 has always been my favorite hole on the original design and continues to be after the renovation. The "cape hole" wraps around a magnificent lake with just the right amount of risk-reward. Hit your ball closer to the water's edge and have a mid-iron into the green for a possible eagle or birdieor find the water and write a big number on your scorecard. The choice is yours!
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
SentryWorld's new dining experience, PJ's SentryWorld offers a healthy dose of everything that makes Wisconsin great. The menu is a tribute to the flavors of Wisconsin and offers a variety of delicious options. Personally, I'd say you can't leave SentryWorld without trying the Farmhouse Ale Cheese Curds served with fresh horseradish mustard, the Wood Oven Maple Chicken or one of our Wood Oven Pizzas&and of course, one (or more!) mugs of PJ's White Ale, our private label exclusively brewed by Point Brewery right here in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Really though, you can't go wrong with anything you eat or drink at PJ's SentryWorld. Stop in and find out for yourself!
Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
Since play was so limited in 2014 and on an invite-only basis, we don't have an official course record. I can say, however, that we did have one golfer shoot a 70. We're looking forward to 2015 and seeing who plays the best round!
Back Tee Stats
SentryWorld Golf Course
601 N. Michigan Ave.
Stevens Point, WI, 54481
715-345-1600 or 866-479-6753
Revised: 03/03/2015 - Article Viewed 20,332 Times - View Golf Course Profile
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler