Rugged, windblown, hard and fast, Dismal River Club is pure links golf at its finest. The sand-based grasslands of Nebraska create optimal conditions for playing golf and except for the absence of a coastline, the Red and White Courses are traditional Scottish-style linksland.
Out here in the wild, vast, untamed heartland of the country, Dismal River Club spans over 3,000 acres and is not only the perfect place to play golf, but is also a great place to get off the grid and relax. To get to Dismal River, visitors have to travel down a 17 mile single lane road that ripples across the rolling plains.
The clubhouse features warm natural woods and high, open ceilings that combine to create a comfortable spacious atmosphere. The clubhouses also offer remarkable poker and billiards rooms and a 16 person home theater, and is referred to as the “wing of sin” by CEO Chris Johnston.
Right away you get a feeling for how expansive the property is since the first tee is more than a mile away from the clubhouse. Finished in 2006, The White Course was designed by the legendary Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus and is one of his Signature Design courses.
On this unpredictable links style course, the creative golfer will be justly rewarded and the use of strategy is absolutely essential. The wind on the open, rolling plains can change direction at any moment and a blow from every angle is certainly possible. With all of this chaotic, erratic wind, the contours of the bunkers are constantly altered and golfers will have to adjust their shots to account for the changes accordingly.
Enjoy peace and quiet on the White Course. Here there are no structures in sight, no roads approach the course, there is no asphalt, no beverage carts, no cell phones, or any other interruptions, it is only the course, your club and your swing.
Since its opening, Nicklaus has made several minor tweaks to the course. Most recently, he has made the final hole better and stronger. Reduced from 591 yards to a modest 520, players are able to tee off from a large dune onto the fairway sitting 100 feet below. From on top of the tee visitors will have a panoramic view of the majestic Nebraskan dunes.
Newly opened, the Red Course was designed by minimalist golf architect Tom Doak. Doak’s best work includes the Pacific Dunes in Oregon, Barnbougle Dunes over in Australia and Ballyneal in Eastern Colorado.
Doak claims that this course is unlike any other course in the dunes. Where other courses have holes that will start to blend together in people’s minds after a while, this course will not.
It seems odd that at 1,800 miles from the Atlantic and 1,000 from the Pacific, the high prairie of Nebraska would be home to terrain so similar to the ancient links courses of Scotland. Like classic links courses, the bunkers of Red Course are natural “blowouts” caused from the wind, erosion, and herding livestock.
According to Doak, “The land is fascinating because there are undulations that never end. But the land is also deceptive. A lot of the holes you see don’t work out. You walk out 200 yards and find a blind ridge. Or a feature that seems like it is 300 yards away is actually 800 yards. Or you find a great hole but you can’t go right from there to the tee of another hole that works.” His Red Course is certainly a challenging yet enjoyable course that should be seen and experienced.