Designed by architect Ron Farris and opened for public play in 2003, the Golf Club at Red Rock golf course lies on the edge of the Black Hills National Forest, near the historic mining town of Rapid City.
Reputed to be the only course in South Dakota that remains open for play during every month of the year, the layout measures between a manageable 5,032 yards and a monster 7,114 yards (attracting a 138 slope rating), with multiple tee placements on every hole.
Rolling fairways are routed into, out of and over a series of canyons that occupy the dramatic landscape. Apart from a few small creeks, the only real water hazard of note is the pond that protects the front left side of the green on the par four 10th.
The dramatic elevation changes of the fescue fringed fairways, the degree of difficulty presented by the links-style bunkers and the challenge of the undulating USGA-spec greens presents golfers with a truly exhilarating Black Hills golf experience.
Feature holes at Red Rock include the par five 2nd – rated stroke index 1 – and the left doglegged par four 4th. On the back nine, the 155-yard 12th and 214-yard 15th offer contrasting tee length challenges from the back tee positions.
For those making the trek to visit Mount Rushmore it pays to stop off at nearby Red Rock. Designed by Ron Farris -- he worked initially for Pete Dye when Long Cove was constructed -- the layout is on hilly terrain and Farris has done well with the inclusion of a number of fun holes. The holes are framed well -- despite the nearby housing -- and the routing does provide plenty of shot differentiations to keep things interesting. Given the limited number of quality options in South Dakota -- Red Rock is clearly one to savor when there.
by M. James Ward