Golf course developer Michael Keiser

SAVING GOLF is a television project that follows developer Michael Keiser’s efforts to reimagine a nine-hole golf course with his own money–no strings attached.

In 2021, Keiser read a newspaper article about the city of Madison, Wisconsin’s struggle to keep its four municipal golf courses open.

What if he could reimagine the golf course so it could be used by golfers and non-golfers? A place ecologically sound and environmentally friendly.

He asked the city council of Madison to imagine a place that would challenge golfers of all abilities, a place to hike, bike or fly a kite, a place to take a yoga class, a place for everyone to enjoy right in the middle of town.

With the future of municipal golf threatened in the United States, Keiser believes cities should look across the Atlantic at Scotland where the famed St. Andrews golf course is part of the community. It closes on Sundays and invites the townspeople to use the course to picnic, hike and even fly kites. St. Andrews also features an eighteen hole miniature golf course that anyone can play for free. Here, grandparents and their grandchildren can enjoy each other playing golf.

Keiser not only believes the same can happen in the United States but it just might be a model that saves municipal golf in the US from extinction.

(Photo courtesy of St. Andrews)

By re-designing the Glenway municipal golf course in the middle of a neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin, Michael Keiser and his team would attempt to prove that it is possible to transform the land into a multi-purpose site.

His team would focus on the ecological restoration while building a challenging experience for golfers of all skill levels. The team would highlight the natural beauty of the course by opening up vistas throughout the course, where native prairies and woodland edges with majestic oak trees.

The focus of the project will be on ecological restoration and multi-purpose benefits of the golf course, which will at the same time enhance the golfing experience, for players of all skill levels. The work will highlight the natural beauty of the course by opening up key vistas across the course, in which native prairies and woodland edges with high-value oaks will be highlighted. 

Michael and his brother, Chris, have already blended natural beauty and golf course design at Sand Valley in central Wisconsin. Sand Valley features two eighteen-hole courses with another on the way, plus a challenging, fun par three course called the Sand Box.

“By any measure it is an excellent course.”
Forbes Magazine

Designing golf course appears to be part of the Keiser DNA. Michael’s father, Mike Keiser, developed Bandon Dunes in Oregon–which has quickly become a top pick of greatest golf courses in America in a variety of golf publications.

Will this proposed Glenway Golf Park change the way we think about the role of municipal golf if cities across America? Time will tell, but Michael Keiser believes that this story may become is a blueprint for others…and in doing so become a blueprint to save the game of golf for everyone.