Sutton Bay Club Named Best New Private Course of the Year

By: Mark Leslie

Golf Digest has named Sutton Bay Club's golf course, which is carved out of 400 acres of dramatic Missouri Breaks land forms, the Best New Private Golf Course in America for 2004. Designed by Australian golf great Graham Marsh and built by Landscapes Unlimited of Lincoln, Neb., both of whom are part-owners, Sutton Bay's 7,200-yard, out-and-back links-style layout is routed between a 300-foot-high ridge line and the shores of Lake Oahe. One golf critic called it "Bandon Dunes on steroids," referring to the highly acclaimed ocean-side course in Oregon.

The announcement was an early Christmas gift for Marsh, who said: "I am humbled by this award. Sutton Bay has been a labor of love for me and Graham Marsh Golf Design since the beginning. The site is spectacular, and the opportunity to design a course on the ground, and build it without plans, has been very special. And Bill Kubly [CEO of Landscapes Unlimited] and his company deserve credit as well. The goal of everyone involved was to create a golf course that appears to have been here for 100 years, offers golfers of all levels a challenge, and is a pleasurable experience. I hope those who play Sutton Bay feel like we have met our goals."

"This is a real honor," said Kubly, whose company has built more than 400 golf courses around the country. "We have built some that have won, but this is the first that we had an ownership interest in and played a major part in developing. Graham spent an untold amount of time at Sutton Bay and it became his life mission at that time to create the best golf course possible. He succeeded."

Sutton Bay General Manager and part-owner Mark Amundson said the Best of the Year award "speaks volumes for all the partners and the entire staff. Even though it's an award for the golf course, the facility has an impact on the people who come to play. It takes a lot of hard work from many people, from design to construction to maintenance to operations of the facilities to win this award."

A low-handicap golfer, Amundson said Sutton Bay's course is set apart by spectacular elevation changes and extraordinary land forms rugged, yet soft and subtle that Marsh used to accentuate the golf course. Landscapes Unlimited did minimal earthmoving.

Crittenden, the publisher of Golf Inc. magazine, took note of that minimal earthwork in November when it awarded Sutton Bay Club the Development of the Year award as the best public or private development whose course cost less than $5 million.

Sutton Bay's 4,500-acre property also offers first-class lodging, guided fishing and hunting, a sporting clay course, horseback riding, covered wagon rides, boating, and places to hike. More information on Sutton Bay Club is available at