The Bluffs Golf Course plots a 6,684-yard path through groves of trees and around waterways for a challenging 18-hole layout. A session at the onsite driving range prepares swings and sleep-deprived 9-irons in time for the upcoming pin-hunting odyssey, where water comes in play on five of the first six holes. Duffers can redeem a disappointing round at the 18th hole, a 570-yard behemoth that entices aggressive, satisfying drives and lacks the aquatic hazards that temper bold play on prior holes. A relatively difficult course when played from the tips, the course offers four color-designated tee options to cater to players of all handicaps as well as those with an irrational allegiance to red.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,684 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 72.5 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 128 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
Until the mid '90s, a ball hit at River Wilds Golf Club could travel thousands of yards?that is, if it happened to fall into a cockpit at the adjacent Blair Airport. But then the airport moved away, and the course, originally opened in 1944 as a private club, expanded from 9 to 18 holes and became public. The tarmac hazards are no longer there, but the course still challenges players with trees, bunkers, and a meandering creek. The par 72 championship course spreads to a full length of 6,562 yards from the back tees, with an additional two sets to accommodate all skill levels.
To ready themselves for this challenge, players can practice on a range with an 80-yard tee line, the longest in both Nebraska and Iowa. The natural grass tee boxes are rotated daily to keep the sod fresh and prevent emotional attachment with any particular divot.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,562 yards from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole
Picturesque prairie vistas welcome visitors to Elkhorn Valley Golf Club, which challenges golfers with a par-70 course designed by Duane Mines. Carts voyage past verdant fairways as golfers send balls soaring over grasping grass traps and pools of water with precise drives and well-practiced telekinesis. Players master their short-game skills upon the practice field's chipping and putting greens, and guests may equip themselves for the field with accessories, clubs, and apparel from the pro shop. After a long day of sending dimpled spheroids sailing toward the horizon, visitors share laughs over delicious meals at the clubhouse.
Elkhorn Ridge Golf Course’s nine-hole, par 3 layout provides a forgiving environment for beginners just taking up the sport and more seasoned players looking to polish their short-game finesse. Holes range from as short as the 95-yard fifth hole to as lengthy as the 173-yard seventh hole, the toughest on the course. Adding up to 1,203 yards overall, the course places a premium on iron accuracy as players bombard the greens and pins from a single set of tees.
Joking cries of “fore!” punctuate the convivial chatter, clinking glasses, and thwacking clubs at Beyond Golf Sports & Spirits, a full-service bar dotted with indoor golf simulators. From all sides of the bar, the simulators emit the glow of famous ocean, desert, and mountainside courses from around the world, including Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. The links come to life thanks to high-resolution photographs and GPS technology, and the simulators track drives accurately to within 1 yard. Though staffers stockpile a variety of clubs and putters, golfers may bring their own clubs or a collection of mannequin legs from home. Since players needn’t worry about chasing down balls, they can focus on improving their game with the help of the simulator’s swing breakdown, which targets the strengths and weaknesses of each player’s stance, arc, and swing.
A gauntlet of hazards and omnipresent water reveals a pernicious design sure to challenge any golfer who traverses the picturesque fairways of the Knolls Golf Course. Players enjoy favorable lies when they stay within the verdant framework of rolling bluegrass fairways, yet those who venture astray may find themselves deep inside one of the 46 bunkers or secret caddy caves carved into the course. Four lakes and a river further complicate matters on 11 of 18 holes, culminating in the challenge on holes seven and nine, where a pond intersects the two doglegged fairways at their bends. The back nine presents a more arboreal affair, as players must steer their shots around tree-lined fairways and hope a fellow golfer isn't practicing golf-cart aerials on one of the frequent hills.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole course * Total length of 6,149 yards from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole