Sand Hills Golf Guide
The north-central region of Nebraska could be mistaken by lovers of the outdoors for a little slice of heaven. A national forest and two national wildlife refuges, abundant lakes, secluded waterfalls and acres and acres of the eponymous sand hills decorate the area. Hunters and anglers can pursue their respective sports throughout 200,000 acres of public land, and aficionados of canoes and kayaks can maneuver their boats on one of the country's 10 best paddling rivers. No, this section of Nebraska is not known for its vibrant metropolises, but plenty of cowboys and ranchers tend to the wide-open, rolling terrain as they have for generations.
And it is the region's wide-open, rolling terrain-and the physical properties of the sand hills themselves-that have proven to be conducive to the building of golf courses and their tremendous playability. Although the highly regarded Sand Hills Golf Club, the Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore-designed masterpiece that put Nebraska on the national golf map, is private, golfers can sample other courses in the Sand Hills region that deliver excellent challenges.
In addition to a handful of nine-hole tracks, the area features a recently opened course by award-winning designer Jim Engh, Awarii Dunes Golf Club, in Axtell. Golfers should prepare themselves for some of the wildest greens they will ever encounter. The wide fairways are often windswept, so Awarii Dunes definitely delivers a links-style vibe.
The public course in the region not to be missed, however, is Wild Horse Golf Course, in Gothenburg. Wild Horse is a candidate for the best value in golf.
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