Sand Hills is one of golf's most stunning and eminently playable tests.
GOLF Magazine recently unveiled its 2020/2021 Top 100 Courses in the United States, and to showcase the country’s geographic diversity, GOLF has, for the first time, broken the country into four regions and ranked the top 50 in each. Each region is shockingly diverse — and overflowing with exquisite golf. To introduce each region, we called upon a star architect to help.
The Appeal of Golf in the Heartland | By Kye Goalby
The American Heartland inspires images of open spaces and farmland filled with hardworking, blue-collar folks — an abstract ideal of what America is, and can be. But when you get past the beer-commercial version of the Heartland, what you find is a place much more varied and diverse.
The Heartland’s golf courses exemplify this. While there are many small-town courses laid out on flat, forgettable land, the best courses of this region defy stereotype. Take Sand Hills, in Nebraska. No great design is more rural or feels more American than Sand Hills, and it literally started a new era in golf design.
There are also plenty of great Golden Age courses in the region that showcase the diversity of the land and styles of golf. Chicago Golf Club somehow imbues a flat piece of prairie land with an unforgettable golf experience, while Crystal Downs, in Michigan, provides an artistic, roller-coaster ride of MacKenzie and Maxwell’s genius. The public-access Lawsonia, in Wisconsin, with its bold design and ingenious greens, created by a long forgotten Midwesterner William Langford, may be the perfect example of Heartland golf.
Boring? These courses, and all the others on the list below, illustrate that golf in the middle of the country is anything but.