As a mad keen golfing Brit living in the states for 2 years there are some courses that I consider ‘must plays’: Bethpage Black, Pebble Beach, Pacific Dunes are some of the top public courses (hopefully by next Wednesday I’ll have played them all) and amongst the long list of private courses which I dream of playing sits Sand Hills. Last Monday that dream became a reality! Through a friend in Kansas I met a member who kindly ‘sponsored’ me to play there. I took his advice, well as much as I could, and stayed a night and ate supper there. It was fantastic and we were treated like royalty by the extremely professional staff. The accommodation cost $100 per person and there is a cheaper motel option for the cash strapped in nearby Mullen. The food in the club house is sensational.
It is easy to be too effusive when writing reviews but in the case of Sand Hills it really is difficult not to be! The golf course was tremendous, the par 3s and 5s in particular, although my favourite hole was 8: a great short par 4. The greens were fantastic; pure, sensual and quick; rather like I imagine putting on a Cuban cigar rollers thigh might be! The $195 green fee was great value for money and although I only played once it’s actually a daily fee. Although most only play 36 you could play more if you had the appetite! Initial I walked off the course somewhat nonplussed. I hadn’t scored as well as I felt I should have and I was cold and soaked to the skin. However, after a great burger at Ben’s Bar (the half way house), a warm shower and several hours reflection as I drove north to Badlands National Park I came to realise what a great track it is. Great variety, relatively straight forward off the tee and, as with any half decent links course, extremely well defended greens. A short game is required if you’re going to score well at Sand Hills. Is it a top 10 course? I’m not sure. But it is a great trip, probably a once in a life time experience and one that I would whole-heartedly endorse to anybody who gets half a chance.
Date: June 27, 2010