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Idaho’s Galena Ridge


away. The magnificent setting will leave the golfer thinking he/she is within one of those parks as most holes take full advantage of the surrounding southwest beauty. The $68 weekend rate (includes lunch) at the public course seems like a steal given one of the finest natural set- tings for a new course in recent memory. The Prairie Club, 20 minutes south


of Valentine, Nebraska in the heart of that state’s famous sandhills, has been likened to the heartland’s version of Bandon Dunes. Two championship courses by Tom Lehman and Graham Marsh feature holes routed through valleys and over ridges. One look at the huge fairways and greens will illustrate the power wind has on strategy. Perhaps the most interesting part of the facility is the 10-hole Horse Course situated next to a 38-room lodge. Designed by Gil Hanse, the short course was created to be played like H-O-R-S-E in basket- ball, with a hole’s winner selecting the shot and lie for the next hole. Texas’ Black Jack’s Crossing near Big Bend National Park is a Lanny


Wadkins semi-private 18-hole champi- onship and nine-hole executive length course with seven mountain holes and spectacular desert vistas. The courses are part of the stunning Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa. Old American Golf Club near Dallas is the second course part of the Tribute Resort Community and was created by Tripp Davis and British Open champion Justin Leonard. As its name implies, the design was in- spired by classic American architecture complimenting the resort’s other course which pays homage to Scotland. Coming later this year is Awari


Dunes in Kearney, Nebraska. The Jim Engh design replicates an Irish links on the large rolling dunes. Firm and fast conditioning couple with the large nat- ural dunes and greens that are molded into the topography produce the drama and excitement reminiscent of the Em- erald Isle. Though private, the club will have public access through packages available at several local hotels. The course joins with highly regarded Sand Hills in Mullen, Wild Horse in Goth-


enburg and the aforementioned Prairie Club in transforming Nebraska into a hotbed of golf architecture. Also scheduled for a 2011 unveil-


ing is Stanford alum Notah Begay’s Firekeeper in Topeka, Kansas. Owned by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Na- tion who operate the casino next to the course, the 240-acre public course will have a more traditional look with no surrounding houses on the walk- able layout. The course is the four-time PGA Tour winner’s first design. For the year, 46 courses opened


nationwide according to the National Golf Foundation, compared to 398 courses that debuted 10 years before. And with the recent Northern Cali- fornia shuttering of Champions Golf Links in Sacramento, Lyons in Stock- ton, Lake Don Pedro in La Grange and Southridge in Sutter versus no openings, there are fewer choices. But while course construction has slowed, the quality and accessibility of the new tracks nationwide present compelling choices. –Staff Reports


SPRING 2011 / NCGA.ORG / 33


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