Where should The Prairie Club be on my to-do list?

KARE 11 reporter Scott Seroka (who is a pretty darn good player), blogged about his recent trip to The Prairie Club. It is worth a read. I really liked the lead:

“Before I play a course for the first time, I always visit it’s website. Usually there’s a stunning or magnificent picture followed by superlatives and hyperbole. In my mind, the pictures and the words rarely match the experience.

I found this to be the case for The Prairie Club, a 2-course complex in the middle of Nowhere, Nebraska. The pictures and words couldn’t begin to match the experience. Photos and prose cannot do it justice. Pure golf may be overused, but there’s no other way to say it.  The fact that I got to share it with my father made the trip even better.”

I have yet to make it to The Prairie Club, the 36-hole complex in Valentine, Nebraska, but I’ve heard good things about it. Obviously it isn’t Sand Hills, but there is a public access system here and it has gotten decent reviews. It seems like it would be a good place to go for a quick two or three day trip.

I admit to being very much a homebody when it comes to golf. When I made the decision to join a club, I did it knowing that doesn’t leave an abundance of cash money to spend on wild golf trips to exotic locales. I certainly do some golf travel, but I haven’t made a Bandon Dunes trip or a trip to Scotland or something like that. Most of my trips have been me in the car or as part of a separate vacation or work trip.

According to Google Maps, it’s 488 miles from Golden Valley, Minn., to Valentine, Neb. That’s a long trip, but certainly doable.

The other place I’d like to go at some point is Marquette, Mich., to play Greywalls and the Heritage course at Marquette Golf Club. The courses on the south shore of Lake Superior are 381 miles away. There’s also a course at a casino in the UP called Sweetgrass that is supposed to be solid.

I’ve obviously played in Brainerd and Biwabik in Minnesota and I’ve done the Harvester/Tournament Club of Iowa combo, but what other good public complexes (or really good courses close to each other) am I missing within a reasonable drive of MSP? Any personal favorites?


11 thoughts on “Where should The Prairie Club be on my to-do list?

  1. Dan Kelly

    The Prairie Club has been offering a VERY affordable two-day play-and-stay package ($399, if I remember right). I haven’t taken them up on it yet, either — because the time hasn’t come. But I intend to get there, eventually.

    I can’t remember if you have been to Lawsonia — but if you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to get to the Links course there. Less than 4.5 hours. Less than 200 bucks for two FULL days of golf.

    1. Jeff

      Dan, I have played Lawsonia once. I played 18 holes (the Links obviously) at twilight for about $25 one time on the way to Milwaukee for a story (obviously back when I was still at the paper). Very good. And a good call.

  2. Dan Kelly

    Not worth the drive just for the golf, but if you’re up by Park Rapids, there are three courses I’ve enjoyed a lot when we’ve been staying up there, at the world’s greatest family resort (Brookside, on Two Inlets Lake):

    — Headwaters CC
    — Blueberry Pines
    — Tianna

    I’m told that Bemidji CC, to the north, is also good, though I haven’t played it.
    And Detroit Lakes is not far west of there.

    P.S. I think Lawsonia Links is better than very good.

  3. shane wright


    Golden Valley to KC is about 440 miles and there are loads of great golf clubs in KC as well as a few public hidden gems. Not to mention the greatest BBQ in the country….I’m happy to point you in the right direction and help with arrangements where necessary. But I would also LOVE to see Prairie Club.

  4. Corey Christiansen

    Jeff –

    My father and I made the trek there last September. It is very much worth the drive. Both courses are great, I preferred the Dunes but the Pines was loads of fun also. They are both challenging while being fun and playable, provided you choose the right tees. The only negative I had was they are pretty difficult to walk, you can but you while be dead tired after you’re round. We walked the Dunes our first day, in 90 degree heat, but opted for a cart for the remaining rounds.

    The accomidations are very nice also, nothing fancy, just very nice. Good food and a pretty good selection of beers also. I would highly recommend it.

    Also, you NEED to get to Bandon. Simply amazing.

    1. Jeff


      Thanks for the update. Sounds like you guys had a good trip. And thanks for reading the blog. Hopefully you enjoy.

  5. Pat Craig

    Dan is correct in mentioning Lawsonia. The 4.5 or so hour drive down there from Minneapolis is a bit of a pain as it’s a lot of side road driving, but for the cost it’s an incredible value….worth at least a trip a year IMO.

    I’ve thought about driving up to Big Fish one of these days, which is only a couple hours away.

    But the Sand Hills have been calling my name since I moved up here and might be the perfect week long road trip destination!

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