Not many golf courses have opened during the last several years, and certainly only a handful this year. One celebrated opening of late is the new Tom Doak-designed golf course at Dismal River Club in Mullen, Nebraska. The Red Course, as it is called, complements the White Course which was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 2006.
The stunning panorama of the Sand Hills regions of western Nebraska is evident from every hole on the Red Course. Doak, who employs a minimalist approach in his course designs, took what Mother Nature offered and molded it into the Red Course, which should be on future short lists of quality courses in the U.S.
The par 71 course measures 6,994 yards from the tips, and 4,869 yards from the forward tees, making it enjoyable for all to experience. The Red Course features the first eight holes in the dunes, beginning with the first of three par 5s. The new course climbs high into the dunes at the start, and then works its way back down to finish alongside the river and the 200-foot bluff on the opposite bank. The par-3 fifth hole is at the very top of the course, one of a handful of holes on a course built for fun, rather than punishment.
One interesting note is that two of the greens, the ninth and 12th, are “infinity greens” — which, like popular infinity pools in Mexico, have the visual effect of extending to the horizon.
There are lots of surprises on the back nine, including a stream that comes into play on the closing holes. The short par-3 16th — at 166 yards — breaks up the homestretch of six par 4s in the final seven holes.
Though the Dismal River Club is private, it is open for limited visitor play. Weekdays are the best time to get on the course. For more information, contact the club at 308-546-2900 or visit the web site at http://www.renaissancegolf.com.