The Prairie Club (Dunes Course)

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.

Here is a look at the lower range, chipping green, and upper range.

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.

Now this is a bunker!

You can’t see the green from the fairway due to the grade so club selection can be a challenge.

This putting surface has some serious contours.  I liked the tightly mown areas around the greens because you have plenty of options for recovery shots.

Below is a look at the flags.

Hole 2 – 434 yards – Par 4

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.

The green is open in the front, but guarded on the left by a serious bunker.  You need to carry the ball into the green or the slope will funnel it back to the front.

Here is a closer look.

Hole 3 – 498 yards – Par 5

I didn’t expect to see a turtle out here, but this guy was moving along pretty quickly.

The fairway is positioned at an angle to the tee.  The bunker on the right is in play.  There is plenty of room out there though.

These bunkers were unlike any I had ever seen in my travels.  Really cool.

The second shot is there for the taking, but you want to avoid the front bunker.  A draw can run up the right side of the green.

A wide shot of the green is below.

Hole 4 – 131 yards – Par 3

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.

A closer look reveals the slopes in the green.

Um, you might want to be on the correct part of the green.  Look at the tiers in this thing.

Hole 5 – 287 yards – Par 4

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.

You can see below that the fairway angles back up to the green so your drive better carry or be running hot to get on the putting surface.

Like most of the greens this one has interesting slopes.

Hole 6 – 433 yards – Par 5

This is a short par five, but it is slightly uphill.  Avoid the bunkers and there is a definite chance for birdie.

The second shot is definitely up the hill with a massive bunker fronting the green.

Hole 7 – 146 yards – Par 3

This hole plays slightly downhill to a very large green.  Avoid the small bunkers short or risk a bogey.

Hole 8 – 423 yards – Par 4

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 second shot is interesting.  The green looks surrounded, but it isn’t.  The fence and bunkering is well short of the green, but provides an cool look.

You can see below that the green is quite open.

Hole 9 – 407 yards – Par 4

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.

Below is a look up at the green.

The putting surface is a massive target so you may hit it, but long putts are definitely possible.

Hole 10 – 506 yards – Par 5

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.

The tee shot here plays to a big landing area.  You can carry the cross bunker from this tee.  With the fairway slope a draw can get big yards.

The second shot plays uphill to the green.  The middle bunker in the distance is the only real hazard, but there is plenty of room to get on the green.

The green has some contour as you can see below.  But if you’re home in two the birdie should be in reach.

Hole 11 – 310 yards – Par 4

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 second shot takes come concentration as the flag looks like it is sitting out in the middle of nothing.

Hole 12 – 518 yards – Par 5

The twelfth features a blind tee shot.  The landing area is big, but you won’t see it land.

Below is the view after you crest the hill.

The behemoth below is one of the greenside bunkers.  You’re sand game will need to be on if you find yourself in here.

The green sits among the bunkers and dunes.

Hole 13 – 343 yards – Par 4

You can probably guess the goal here.  Avoid the bunkers!  I love the mowing lines out there.

I’m not sure what you call them, but I like the “push-up” bunkers next to the greens.  Your approach shots must be well struck to have a chance at birdie.

You can see below that the closer side of the green sits below the flag.  The approach needs to be on the correct side to avoid three putts.

Hole 14 – 129 yards – Par 3

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.

See what I mean?

If you come in from an alternate tee you have to go over this bunker, which in my opinion is a much more interesting shot.

Hole 15 – 519 yards – Par 5

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.

Below was the view I had for my third shot.  It is a true green light situation.

Hole 16 – 143 yards – Par 3

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.

Hole 17 – 401 yards – Par 4

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 fairway rolls along uphill to the green.  I had a long shot due to the hole playing into the wind.

The green sits up slightly and reminds me a bit of a turtle back.  There are some serious runoff areas around this one.

Hole 18 – 441 yards – Par 4

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.

The approach flips the script from the tee and goes back up the slope.  The bunker short, right is definitely in play.

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.

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4 thoughts on “The Prairie Club (Dunes Course)

      1. JJ Green

        Next time there, play the same course but from the White Tees. A totally different perspective and a lot of fun. There are an average of 6 tees per hole, so we often play different combinations each trip. And Tom Lehman had enough ground to play with, so there is a set of tees that we call the “Lehman Tees”, 8,100 yard! JJ Green, Founding Member, Prairie Club

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