The new golf course just outside Sioux City, Landmand, is going to generate a lot of inquisitive play to the area. Many, like us, may want to stretch the itinerary and make the trip to The Prairie Club in Valentine, a full 240 miles to the west. Along the way, there’s some interesting public access courses which add considerable value to the trek, maybe even creating the Northern Nebraska Golf Trailin addition to the Nebraska State guide to the best public golf courses.
It’s just another 1 1/2 hours southwest to the Atkinson Stuart Country Club, a small town, 9 holes built by its members in the early 1970s. There also the Mill Race Park and Campgrounds adjoining if you’re the camping type, otherwise there’s several small motels and B&Bs in town for the overnight.
After another 1 1/2 hours west, we arrive in the Valentine area where the Prairie Club receives top billing nationally, but don’t overlook the 10 hole, Frederick Peak Golf Club. It’s a Tom Lehman design, a unique rolling layout bordered by prairie grasses at rates that might be equal to the cost of lunch at the Prairie Club!
Another Nebraska golf course, new in 2022 is garnering widespread and appropriate attention. Problem is, it’s located on the far northeastern corner of Nebraska, a good 6 hours from Mullen in the Sandhills.Landmand Golf Course is 20 miles southwest of Sioux City on the north side of Homer, NE surrounded by rolling farmland. It’s situated on 550-acre tract of silty soil in the Loess Hills 200 feet above Homer providing views over thousands of acres of farms and on to the Missouri River.
The layout is characterized by broad, 80 yard wide and undulating fairways through towering dunes. It boasts massive green complexes, and gigantic, blowout and pot bunkers while it traverses over 150 feet of elevation change. It features a Punchbowl green on steroids and a sand bunker named “The Milk Carton”-we’ll leave that to the imagination. There’s five sets of tees at Landmand from 5,420 yards to 7,200 yards, the middle tees play to 6,440 yards, 71.3/130, course/slope ratings, designed by Rob Collins and Tad King (Sweetens Cove, Inness), their first original 18 hole layout.
While you’ll have to have some mighty connections to play the Sand Hills Golf Club above, there’s plenty of Nebraska golf courses in the Sandhills you can play. We’ve been inspired by a guy named Arg who has set off on the ultimate golf expedition. He’s just hung up his IT hat after 32 years, sold his home in Chicago, and purchased a 35′ class A motorhome on his mission to spend 4-5 years traveling the U.S. play the best golf courses. He plans on adding to his repertoire of 700+ golf courses already played, and we’re envious to say the least! You can follow his exploits here on Golfwrx where he’s providing a running commentary on his travels. And, just as a side note, every course he’s played so far are included in our guide to the best public golf courses and resorts you can play.
We’re profiling the Nebraska Golf Trail today, essentially traveling the 455 miles across I-80 from Omaha on the east to Pine Bluffs on the Wyoming state line the west.
Starting in Omaha, there’s eight worthy municipals and semi-private layouts which could even provide for a full week of golf. Lincoln also has eight courses within close proximity of I-80. Both cities have ample lodging, restaurants, and a variety of attractions in addition to vibrant downtown areas. Heading west the population the population thins out, the land generally flat farmland, and the lure of the Sandhills some 200 miles west awaits.
An hour west of Lincoln you’ll find a classic parkland layout, the York Country Club, with Jim Engh’s touch shown on a renovation of the original 1919 design. In another hour I-80 merges with the Platte River and runs with the River for 215 miles until Big Springs. We’ll profile some of the more notable courses in our guide, which features the best public golf courses and resorts you can play. These golf course have been rated and profiled by the major golf publications and carry reviews that place them as the best in a given area. Alternatively, you can use our Nebraska guide and map to develop your own Nebraska Golf Trail.
Awarii Dunes is another hour west of Grand Island just off I-80 to the south at Kearney and a Jim Engh original design. Another hour west at Gothenburg is the “poor man’s” Sand Hills, Wild Horse, designed by Dave Proctor and Dave Axland who assisted Core and Crenshaw in building Sand Hills.
At North Platte we exit I-80 for the two hour drive north to Valentine to the Prairie Club with 36 holes by Graham Marsh and Tom Lehman in addition to a ten hole, par 3 layout by Olympic Golf Course architect Gil Hanse along with Geoff Shackelford. The 10 hole (cause there was only room for 10) Frederick Peak nearby is also worthy of your time.
Heading back towards I-80, Bayside, a Proctor/Axland design in Ogallala on the south shore of McConaughy Lake, is the last of the Sandhills golf you will find and a must-play on any visit to the area. A little off the beaten track in Scottsbluff are Riverview and Monument Shadows both literally in the shadows of of Scotts Bluff National Monument, an 800 foot bluff above the North Platte River that served as a landmark for Native Americans, and emigrants on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails.