Get driving in Nebraska
Painting the picture about Nebraska golf begins with a salute to the terrain. After all, a golf course is only as good as the land it’s created on. And in Nebraska, the land is rich and fertile—and diverse. A couple of decades ago, golf course designers discovered that the rolling Sandhills landscape is the perfect place to find naturally sculpted golf holes.
First-Class Courses, Not Top-Tier Pricing
In the last 15 or so years, several Nebraska courses have been mentioned among the best in the nation by a number of golf publications. Even better, most of them are public or semiprivate and offer surprisingly affordable rates for courses of their caliber.
Wild Horse Golf Club near Gothenburg, which has received accolades from Golf Digest and Golf Week Magazine, most recently made Golf Magazine’s list of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play 2010. The magazine also ranked it as the second-best value among those courses. A links-style prairie course following the natural contours of the land, Wild Horse is challenging; however, with five sets of tees, it’s playable at a variety of skill levels.
The Prairie Club near Valentine lies along the Snake River Canyon. The semiprivate club, named by Golf Magazine as one of the Best New Courses You Can Play 2010, quickly captured the imagination of the golf world. The area’s unique geography inspired two vastly different but equally scenic and challenging layouts. The aptly named Dunes Course meanders through the Sandhills, where the natural contours of the land were barely disturbed by designer Tom Lehman. The Pines Course, combining links-style holes with the towering ponderosa pines along the rim of the canyon, provides a different experience. The pines, which shelter this Graham Marsh design from the prairie winds, lurk along the fairways and greens devouring errant shots.
Beyond Links-Style, Still Award-Winning
While many of Nebraska’s links-style courses have gained national recognition, Quarry Oaks near Ashland offers a different type of experience. Cut from the woods surrounding an abandoned rock quarry, this scenic course includes several holes with a view of the nearby Platte River. It’s not unusual to see deer or wild turkeys emerge from trees along the fairways. This highly regarded course between Omaha and Lincoln features spectacular elevation changes that require players to take a thoughtful approach.
Iron Horse Golf Club could be Quarry Oaks’ younger brother. One of the top 10 courses named by Golf Digest as America’s Best New Affordable Public Courses in 2002, Iron Horse also features an old rock quarry with exceptional views. And it’s just a few miles from Quarry Oaks, so it’s possible to play these two top-ranked courses in the same day.
These are just the beginning of a long list of spectacular golfing possibilities. Nebraska offers more than 200 courses to consider. For more information and a map of the state’s public-play courses, go to www.visitnebraska.gov/things-to-do/golf/brochure.