Nebraska was something of a golfing backwater before the acclaimed Coore & Crenshaw course at Sand Hills opened for play in the mid-1990s. This world-class layout was followed soon after by 36-hole offerings at Dismal River and The Prairie Club, both of which brought further attention to the extraordinary landscape found in the sandy chop hills of the Cornhusker State.
Situated to the southwest of Valentine and just a few miles north of The Prairie Club, CapRock Ranch is destined to be the next great private golfing destination located in the sand hills. It features the same Snake River Canyon that appears on the Pines course at The Prairie Club, with almost half the holes routed along the rim of this natural ravine.
The property was scoped out back at the start of the new millennium by rancher and retired surgeon Cleve Trimble, who brought in Gil Hanse to create a routing for a proposed new course. Unfortunately, ill health forced Trimble to sell some of the land to Paul Schock, who went on to develop The Prairie Club with Tom Lehman and Graham Marsh as course architects.
In 2018, John Schuele, president and CEO of the Waitt investment company, was keen to revitalise the old project which had been on hold for more than fifteen years so he reached out to Trimble with a view to raising interest in the stalled venture, bringing in a group of founding investors to finance the development of the golf course and associated infrastructure.
After reaching an agreement, it was decided to bring back Hanse and his construction crew to build the layout. Schuele then bought back some land back from Schock, allowing the architect to set out the holes in a figure of eight; ten draped across the sand hills chop and the remainder laid out next to the canyon in a routing similar to the original 2001 plan, apart from the closing hole now which is now a par three.
CapRock Ranch has a total of only 180 members, consisting of around a dozen founders then approximately 60 regional members and 120 national members.