Located only 14 miles from Sand Hills, the White course at Dismal River is bound to draw comparison with Coore and Crenshaw’s stellar layout. And so, on the sand dunes of Nebraska, some might say Jack Nicklaus has proved with his 250th design that he really can do minimalism after all.
Unveiled in 2006, the course lies in splendid isolation at the end of a 17-mile long single track that leaves Route 97 at mile marker 64 from North Platte. With an enormous property extending many hundreds of acres, the Golden Bear had rather an expansive canvas to work with when laying out the fairways here.
It’s said that less than 15,000 cubic yards of earth was shifted during construction but, following initial comments from golfers about the difficulty of the layout, Jack returned to widen fairways, shorten carries off the tee and soften green slopes, repositioning both the 13th and 18th greens in the process.
The Nicklaus course at Dismal River is certainly rugged in style, with a routing that encompasses elevation changes, blind shots, blowout bunkers and contoured greens; all of which encourages a more imaginative game for golfers, especially when playing in the normally firm and fast conditions.Tom Doak has now added a second course at Dismal River and his Red layout is routed down towards the river, away from the big dunes, which is quite a departure from the style adopted by other architects who’ve worked in the sand hills region.