The Blue Top Ridge course at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort is a Rees Jones design that debuted in 2009. Holes are laid out on the floodplain of the meandering Iowa River with several fairways routed around man-made lakes.
It’s been described as “golf's answer to Field of Dreams – a sporting oasis in the middle of an Iowa cornfield” where holes are laid out across three different landforms; the front nine starts in a prairie before dropping down to a river plain at the 4th, with the back nine climbing high above the hotel.
Highlight holes include the par five 7th, rated stroke index 1, which doglegs right across water to the green. This is a lengthy hole at 615 yards but it’s rather dwarfed on the back nine by the longest hole in the state at the 665-yard 16th where it drops down to a valley before climbing over a creek to a raised green.
Blue top Ridge is a course that was built for the better player. Despite being a resort course, Bluetop Ridge is challenging for anyone who is not in control of their golf ball. With large elevation changes and challenging greens, positioning yourself is key to being successful in this course. 3-7 on the front nine is a great stretch of holes, with 11-17 on the back being good as well. The main selling point with Blue top ridge is the variety; holes bend both ways and require you to hit a plethora of shots. The downside is playability for the average golfer, and conditioning of the greens can be spotty at times. Overall, Bluetop Ridge is a fun track to play on if you want to see how deep professional golf really is (it hosts the Iowa Open every year, with the winning score somewhere between 15-20 under for 3 rounds).