The Prairie Club (Dunes Course) – Played June 2017
- Rankings: Golf Magazine Public #78
- Location: 88897 State Highway 97, Valentine, Nebraska
- Year: 2010
- Architect: Tom Lehman & Chris Brands
- Course Access: Resort
- Walking Rules: Carts Available
Score Card Information:
- Black: 7,562 yards, Par 73, 75.5 Rating/133 Slope
- White: 6,975 yards, Par 73, 72.8 Rating/127 Slope
- Green: 6,428 yards, Par 73, 69.9 Rating/118 Slope
- Red: 5,752 yards, Par 73, 72.0 Rating/124 Slope
The wife decided to go on a girl’s trip so I was left to my own devices. I figured the best way to spend the time would be traipsing to Nebraska and Colorado to play some golf. The first stop on this odyssey was The Prairie Club in northern Nebraska.
I ended up staying in North Platte, which was about a 2.5 hour drive. It seems long, but that was nothing for this trip considering I drove from SC. What driving did allow me to do was pass by the entrances to Dismal River and Sand Hills, so now I know where to go when I get back.
A warning…this place is remote. GPS was off by about a mile, but there are signs to get you to the entrance below.
The complex is all golf. They have some onsite lodging and eating options, but golf is the main focus. There are 36 holes and a short course. The mission as stated on their website is “To create an unforgettable experience that touches the soul of all who journey here”. That is a pretty lofty goal, but the setting is spectacular and the remote location provides you some very quiet surroundings
Only one of the courses was on the lists I am playing, but both are now ranked. The clubhouse and lodging can be seen below.
I did want to tell one quick story before I get started on the course tour. As I was checking in a woman asked if I had been driving the car with the Clemson tags. I answered in the affirmative and realized she was a fellow Clemson fan! All the way out in rural Nebraska and I still find other Tigers. Turns out she was on a trip with her husband and their friends and they have family in the area. Small world.
Alright, all yardages are from the green tees. Let’s go!
Hole 1 – 359 yards – Par 4
You immediately get a feel for the place on the first tee. Some of these bunkers look like they could be on the moon. I really enjoyed the scenery here. This hole plays longer than the yardage due to the slope.
The tee shot on the second has a bit of quirk. If you can tell on the left side of the photo is the first green. So you are teeing off over that to a fairway well below the tee. I liked it.
I didn’t expect to see a turtle out here, but this guy was moving along pretty quickly.
The aesthetic of this course is just really cool to me. I loved the outlines of the bunkers and how everything is framed. This is a short hole, but plenty of fun.
The driveable par 4 is a very popular design element. Due to my length they don’t usually apply to me, but I had a shot on this one. The fairway is wide to start and then narrows as you get close to the green. This is a fun hole.
This is a short par five, but it is slightly uphill. Avoid the bunkers and there is a definite chance for birdie.
This hole plays slightly downhill to a very large green. Avoid the small bunkers short or risk a bogey.
The fairway sits at an angle to the tee. Despite that you can still hit any shot shape. The tee is elevated to give your drive a boost.
The finisher on the front is a beast. It’s all uphill and if you catch it into the wind it may be a three shot hole! Thankfully the fairway is very wide.
The turn stand keeps with the frontier theme and it is certainly rustic. While it looks like it may be from the Old West it has plenty of awesome selections.
This is a shorter hole, but going for the green is tough. The slope is uphill and the green is surrounded by sand. The smart play is 200 yard shot to the fairway.
The twelfth features a blind tee shot. The landing area is big, but you won’t see it land.
You can probably guess the goal here. Avoid the bunkers! I love the mowing lines out there.
This may be one of the most nondescript shots on the course. I did notice there were multiple tees here. From where I was the yardage was much longer than the card says. The green is massive so pin position will influence club selection.
This is one of the more interesting holes out there. I wasn’t sure where to hit the tee ball, which you will see in the next photo. I’m still not sure, but I think the better side is on the right.
I hit my shot down the left side and this was the view I had. I don’t have a rangefinder so I didn’t know what to do :). You can take it over the bunker directly at the green, but that can be dangerous.
This short hole is no pushover. There is a severe false front in before this particular flag. Anything short will not stay on the green. Additionally, the bunker behind this flag is a nasty one.
I haven’t seen many fairways that are this wide. If you can’t swing freely here I’m not sure where you can. Step on the drive here.
The final hole is a brute based on the yardage. You can see below though that the tee is elevated allowing you some extra distance.
I can’t say enough good things about the course here. I loved the massive scale of the holes. The serenity of the location and the overall quiet made for a peaceful round of golf. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to play the other offerings on this trip, but I hope to come back and fix that. I did get to eat in the grill and it was good. I imagine the lodging options are great as well. The staff was excellent too. If you’ve never played in Nebraska I highly recommend it.