Nebraska

The 4th hole on the Dunes Course at The Prairie Club

The 4th hole on the Dunes Course at The Prairie Club


As the name suggests, ArborLinks was built on the wooded hills and cornfields of Arbor Day Farm.  From "Sumac Return" to "Cottonwood Creek" each hole represents a tribute to one of the course's leafy friends.  Designed by Arnold Palmer and opening for play in 2002, Arbor Links offers up an excellent golfing experience.  Not only is the golf first class, but ArborLinks has lodges on site that allow golfers to "stay and play" until the golf thirst is quenched.  The food and amenities on site are also worth mentioning as they are excellent.  I had this cookie ice cream thing, that made me want to cry tears of food joy.

My partner in golf crime for the trip was Instagram star, Kenzie OConnell.  Kenzie always brings style to any trip... and somebody needs to video my high kicks.  While the November air was brisk, we managed to make our way around the course just fine.  'Just fine' did require 3 layers and stocking hats, but the course was in excellent shape and birdies needed to happen.  

Somewhere in the middle of the 2nd round, Kenzie would go Instagram Live.  With thousands of eager viewers hanging on our every swing, things were very tense.  Somehow, I would rise to the challenge and chip in for a birdie on the final live hole.  The celebration was obviously excessive but I felt it was necessary.  Unfortunately, Ms. O Connell would also suffer a crushing defeat in the somersault competition.  Will Kenzie make a full recovery from this devastating sequence of events?  Only time will tell.

Dismal River - Red - Mullen, NE

Designed by Tom Doak in 2013, the Red Course at Dismal River is a welcome addition to Jack's White Course.  The course starts out in the dunes and then really picks up steam as it heads back towards the Dismal River Valley.  The course is generally regarding as an easier more fun option to the White Course.  I certainly found it fun to play.

I started my day of 36 out on the Red Course and came out of the gates hot, with an impressive string of 3 putts.  The good news, is that those 3 putts would turn into 2 putts and eventually the birdie putts would start dropping.  Since it was cold and gloomy, the course was nearly empty and I was able to take my time golfin and shooting'  

Highlight of the day:  Draining a long birdie putt on #16 and fist pumping

Lowlight of the day:  Realizing nobody else was there to witness it and therefore it did not happen.

Dismal River - White - Mullen, NE

Designed by Jack Nicklaus in 2006, Dismal River's White Course did a fantastic job of reminding me of the courses I played in Scotland. The large dunes in Nebraska's Sand Hills area make for near perfect golf land and Jack Nicklaus did a fantastic job of taking advantage of the land he was given.

For the second 18 on my day of 36 holes at Dismal River, I was joined by Instagram star Kenzie O'Connell.  Between the trick shots, golf shots, photo shoots, and bathroom breaks, this round of golf took entirely too long.  The good news is that we did get all 18 in just as the sun was setting.  

The experience of arriving at the Dismal River site was like stepping back in time and seeing what the dunes of Northeast Scotland must have looked like a hundred years ago. In every direction I looked, I saw great golf holes.
— Jack Nicklaus

Indian Creek Golf Club - Omaha, NE

With an overcast morning to kill in Omaha, I took up a hot lead on a tip I received from a local bartender.  That tip was to play Indian Creek.  Indian Creek is certainly not unknown, as it played host to the Web.com's Pinnacle Bank Championship in 2017.

With nobody in front of me, I would strap on my speed skates and get around all 27 holes before catching my plane out of Nebraska.  I would even have time to fly my drone before I flew the friendly skies.

Editors note:  I did not actually play golf in speed skates.

Omaha Country Club - Omaha, NE

Omaha Country Club was originally established in 1925 by Wayne Stiles and in 1951, it was Perry Maxwell that revived the course.  The critically acclaimed Maxwell also has his name on courses like Augusta National, Prairie Dunes, and Southern Hills.  Most recently in 2005, Keith Foster was hired to restore the courses original integrity and design.  The successful renovation paved the way for the 2013 US Senior Open.  The event was a success and a return visit is planned in 2021.

My round started off tense with some serious scramble action, followed by some serious picture taking action.  Let's just say by the time I reached the back nine, there was plenty of action.  On the 11th hole, something special would happen.  As I struck my tee shot on the par 3, I could feel a text message buzz in my pocket.  My ball was headed right for the flag and would stick and stay with inside of a foot of the pin.  Not only would I tap in for a 2, but that text message would also read "All set with for Oct 10th at NGLA"  Not a bad couple of minutes; a birdie at OCC and an invite NGLA.

Prairie Club - Dunes - Valentine, NE

Designed by Tom Lehmand and Chris Brands, the Dunes course stands out to me as an exceptional piece of land for a golf course.  With the green fairways winding through the natural wind swept dunes, this place is a golfers paradise.  The only thing that is holding the Prairie Club back from being one of America's go to golf destinations is it's remote location.

There is a word in the Sioux language, Wakanya, which means sacred. When I first stepped foot on the grass-covered dunes of The Prairie Club, that was exactly my first impression. The overwhelming presence of the Creator was evident in a way that is nearly impossible to put into words.
— Tom Lehman

Prairie Club - Pines - Valentine, NE

The Pines Course at The Prairie Club plays through the trees on the edge of the canyon rim, with several holes playing out into the prairie.  The back tees stretch to 7,400 to test the tour pros and the 5300 yard version gives golfers of all skill levels a solid test.  You have a unique blend of prairie holes and pine tree holes that give the course some solid variety.  You have also got bulls and windmills that surround the property.  That dude in the first picture was not messing around.

It is my dream that the course will be remembered as one having 18 distinct holes, each with its own character that seduces and lures players into returning for the sheer joy of the challenge and the experience. I found it incredible good fortune that I should have had the opportunity to design a course that encompassed two of my favorite styles of golf.
— Graham Marsh - Pines Course Architect

Prairie Club - Horse Course - Valentine, NE

The Prairie Club is home to 3 golf courses.  You have 2 championship courses in the Dunes and Prairie options and then there is the Horse Course.  When Gil Hanse designed the course, he openly stated that the sole purpose of the course was to provide a fun experience.  Mission achieved.

The course plays anywhere from 485 to 1125 yards and has 10 holes that you can play to.  There are no tee markers and even though there is a suggested routing, you can pretty much design your own course.  Just like in the game of HORSE, the winner picks the next spot to play from.  You can spend hours out here, I know I did.  The flyover footage below should help convince you.