STEVENS POINT – When SentryWorld opens on June 1st for the 2022 season, golfers will pay a little more than in the past, but General Manager Mike James is confident it will be worth it.
The parkland-style course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and ranked as one of the Top 100 Public Golf Courses in the United States, has been essentially closed for the past two years, save for a few trips due to the COVID-19 pandemic and while the course was undergoing major renovation projects.
The new general tariff starting next year is $ 275. SentryWorld, owned and operated by Sentry Services, a subsidiary of Sentry Insurance, will continue to offer special rates to the local community, military personnel and junior golfers.
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“We just looked at what we had to offer and knew what our competition was asking for,” said James. “We are a top 100 public golf course and with that comes a lot of additional maintenance that we do to ensure our golf course is fully ready and maintained at an extremely high level to charge what we are charging.”
In addition to the changes on the course that golfers will notice in 2022, including SubAir systems under each green, drip irrigation around each bunker, new tea boxes and narrower fairways in preparation for hosting the US Senior Open in 2023, two more will be added important changes are implemented to improve the golfing experience.
Starting in 2022, tee times will be arranged in 20-minute intervals instead of 10 minutes in order to give golfers more time on the course and to improve the condition of the course with fewer players per day.
“Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you’re in a rush, knocking someone behind you, or slowing down the pace of your game where you’re standing,” said James. “It’s something we all recognize as golfers. In these circumstances, the pace of the game is incredibly important to the experience. With 20-minute tee-off intervals, we can really support that and ensure that the players enjoy the pace. “
SentryWorld is also building two new refreshment stations on the plaza serving locally curated food and drinks, all of which are included in the green fees.
“As soon as you pay for your lap, if it’s on the house, it’s in place,” James said. “Few public courses in the country offer such a comprehensive experience as this.”
The new refreshment stations will be located between tees # 1 and # 10 and between tees # 3 and # 13, giving golfers four opportunities to stop during an 18-hole round. There will be a changing menu with daily changing menu options. There will be take-away options including sandwiches and wraps, healthy items, ice cream, and a variety of beverages. The stations are manned by bartenders and a chef who prepares fresh food throughout the day.
With the additional 10 minutes between tee times, golfers have more time to enjoy the refreshment stations, according to James.
“You can take the time to get what you need, sit down and eat, and then head to the tee. The nice thing about this concept is that you don’t have to rush to get things and run to the next tee because you don’t want to fall behind, ”he said.
James said The Inn at SentryWorld is also nearing completion. The 64-room boutique hotel built by Sentry Insurance along 18th fairway has been plagued by supply chain issues that delayed construction. James said no final date has been set for the opening. It could open in 2021 or early 2022, he said, adding, “We definitely plan for it to open for the 2022 golf season.”
Stay and Play packages, including priority access to the start time for the 2022 season, will be available in December.
All other SentryWorld facilities, including the restaurants, indoor driving range, tennis courts, and banquet rooms, will remain open to the public.
James said SentryWorld will close in late September 2022 in preparation for the winter course and to continue preparing to host the US Senior Open. He said a decision on whether to run the course in 2023 ahead of the Senior Open, which will be held on Jan.
It’s been a long two years for James with the renovation projects and the pandemic, but he sees light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s hard to explain how excited we all are at SentryWorld, just to open the course and see our customers again, the people we see regularly and who we see maybe once a year,” said James. “It is what we do. It’s in our blood. We like to take care of people. We love hosting them here and showing them a good time. And it’s something we’ve all missed over the past couple of seasons. I can hardly wait for the moment when we reopen the course. “
Contact Mike Sherry at (920) 996-7244 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ MikeSherry14.