CANADIAN GOLF MAGAZINE RATING:
CGM GOLFER CERTIFIED GOLFER DESTINATION
Golfers are foolish. We travel all over the world for golf when there are golf courses in our backyards. The beer tastes the same, the gas and accommodations cost less and the golf is just as good.
But every once in a while we find a place that’s worth traveling for, and our Valentine, The Prairie Club in Nebraska, is one of those places.
Located deep in the heart of Middle America in Valentine are 2,789 of our kinda people who can just give up on traveling for golf (except through hibernation months) because The Prairie Club is the only backyard a golfer should ever need.
As insane as it may seem to anyone who knows us, we took a plane (what?), rented a car (whAT?) and drove 5 hours into nowhere (WHAT?!?!) to check out The Prairie Club. And it wasn’t until the last hour of our drive before we started seeing the large sand dunes everyone was talking about that we started to think the trip might actually be worth it.
- Course: Pines Course
- Type: Semi-private
- Season: May – October
- Architect: Graham Marsh
- Location: Valentine, Nebraska
- Year opened: 2010
- Holes: 18 | Par 73 | Length: 7403 yards | Slope: 135 | Rating: 75.0
When we finally arrived to the Prairie Club we were anxious to park the car, grab the sticks, hop in a cart and find the nearest watering hole. And by watering hole we mean non-water hole. And by non-water hole we mean alcohol hole. And by alcohol hole we mean beer…basically, we just wanted a beer ASAP.
The Pines Course was designed by Aussie Graham Marsh. Now we know our Aussies, and Aussies know their beer. So after our bartender advised us the Pines Course works in and out of the dunes along the Snake River Canyon, we knew Marsh would have wanted us to load up our cart with a few, or more, extra brews. They don’t name a canyon snake for no reason and we ain’t no fans of no snakes. We weren’t going to be dealing with any of them without the proper amount of white gold in our tummies.
And off we went to the 1st tee.
If ever there was a good intro to Nebraska golf the 1st hole on Pines was it. A strong Nebraska wind and sauna-like heat slapped us in the face like the floor from our previous weekends drinkapades. At 2,500 feet of elevation, we were pumped to be picking up an extra 12 or so yards on our distances. It was a nice change having to walk 12 more yards into the s*&t looking for our balls. So we sent our playing partners in every time — snakes…remember?
As we worked on our sunburns, we started to notice how much these AAA prime cut pieces of meat liked the golf course. We are well-seasoned when it comes to golf, but The Pines was different than any other course we’d played before. The greens were tough as turds and the putter felt like we were grabbing on to one of them rattlers we were trying to avoid and our playing partners knew nothing about.
Like our wardrobes Pines blends two styles of golf perfectly: rough and rugged with stubbly and prickly. Sure, those are descriptors more fitting of our body types, but it overpowers any style we might have. Half the holes at Pines are wasteland type and work through the Pines along the river canyon and the others more links type with wide fairways, huge bunkers and wild greens set along and over the dunes.
Even though we’d never played golf in Nebraska, we had played in Nevada. That has nothing to do with The Pines, but given our regular mental incapacity and inebriated state, the fact we can make that distinction demonstrates rather well that The Pines didn’t beat us up too badly. The best holes — like the 2nd, 6th, 13th and 18th, and all the rest, we never learned to count — were some of the best on the property and allowed us to get accustomed to the firm, fast fairways that ran like a son of a B.
19TH HOLE THOUGHTS
Being that the 19th hole was actually our first stop on arrival we should have put this section first, but then the whole format would be ruined.
The Pines was fun. We’ve played our share of links golf courses and it comes as close to pure golf as any links around the world. Add to that some real down home people, the likes of which even we had trouble keeping up with in the throw’em down competition, and you have a CGM Golfer Certified Golfer Destination.
Yup, this is a rare certification and these types of destinations are few and far between. A CGM Golfer Certified Golfer Destination means the drinking is prime, the accommodations are prime, the eating is prime and the people are prime. Add to that our crappy golf games and there’s no place a golfer would rather be.
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