Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Other Cardboard Collection: Council Bluffs, IA

I finally had some free time on a day that was halfway warm, so I decided to go play a course that I've been wanting to play for a long time, Bent Tree Golf Club in Council Bluffs, IA, and I'm sad that I waited so long to play it. 

Bent Tree is a links-style course in the Loess Hills of east Iowa.  The fairways are wide, the greens are receptive, and there are scant few trees to get in the way of tee shots or approach shots, which is the perfect setup for my game.

The day I played Bent Tree the sky was overcast, there was a stiff breeze, and the humidity was thick, which together with the links style golf course, I felt like I was golfing in Scotland.

For my first golf outing of the year, I struck the ball well all day, but couldn't putt and chip, so I was fairly happy with the 86 on my card at the end of the day.

Bent Tree is a great course and was a nice change of pace from the typical Omaha-metro golf course.


Also golf related, I recently received the May 2011 Golf Digest which has the annual "America's 100 Greatest Courses" and "America's 100 Greatest Public Courses" lists in it and I searched through the lists to see if any of the courses I've played received honors this year.

Sadly, I've not played any of the courses on the "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses" and was nearly shut out of the "100 Greatest Public Courses" list.  Of the ones on the former list, the following courses are on my Golf Bucket List:
  • (#9) Sand Hills Golf Club -- Mullen, Neb.
  • (#15) Pacific Dunes & (#63) Bandon Trails -- Bandon, Ore.
  • (#25) Prairie Dunes C.C. -- Hutchinson, Kan.
  • (#29) Castle Pines G.C. -- Castle Rock, Colo.
  • (#67) Cherry Hills C.C. -- Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
  • (#95) Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club -- Holyoke, Colo.
The "America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Course" list, on the other hand, did have one course that I've had the pleasure of playing:
  • (#28) Wolf Creek G.C. -- Mesquite, Nev. -- I played this course three times during the summer of 2006.  The principal of the school at which I was working put together a buddy-golf trip that my dad and I joined.  We spent three days and two nights in Mesquite and played 36-holes of golf each day (and the nights were spent at the casino).  We spent a day and a half at Wolf Creek and it is one of my five favorite courses I've ever played.  
Of the courses on the Greatest Public Golf Course list, I hope to someday be able to play the following:
  • (#3) Whistling Straits -- Haven, Wis.
  • (#31) The Broadmoor G.C. -- Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • (#39) The Harvester G.C. -- Rhodes, Iowa
  • (#88) The G.C. at Redlands Mesa -- Grand Junction, Colo.
  • (#95) The Chase at Coyote Springs -- Coyote Springs, Nev.

I especially love the photographs that Golf Digest includes with their annual list.  Even if I never get the chance to play any of these courses, I enjoy envisioning how I would play each hole of these fabulous courses.

Also included in this month's Golf Digest is the "Best in State" list which ranks the top courses in each state.  This list is more inclusive, which means I've played more of the U.S.'s top courses, including:

Top Ten Courses in Nebraska:
  • (#4) Wild Horse G.C. -- Gothenburg
  • (#6) Quarry Oaks G.C. -- Ashland
  • (#7) Arbor Links G.C. -- Nebraska City
  • (#9) Champions Run G.C. -- Omaha
Top Ten Courses in Iowa:
  • (#8) Tournament Club of Iowa -- Polk City
Top Five Courses in South Dakota:
  • (#4) The Golf Club at Red Rock -- Rapid City
I've been lucky to have been able to play so many high-quality courses and I look forward to playing many more in the coming years.  Until then, I'll spend my time dreaming of what it'll be like to step foot onto one of America's top 100 courses.

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