You’ll need to head for the prairies of Nebraska to play one of the best value courses in the US. The course at Wild Horse Golf Club was designed by Dave Axland & Dan Proctor – who have a track record of designing quality golf courses that are great value to play – and it opened for play in 1999. Axland & Proctor worked for Ben Crenshaw’s design company for more than ten years and their first solo project at Delaware Springs is one of Texas’s best kept secrets.
The inclusion of Wild Horse in our 2006 US Top 100 rankings raised a few eyebrows, but we felt its entry was valid as we're are always thrilled to shine a light on unhearalded courses.
In Tom Doak’s Little Red Book of Golf Course Architecture, the author commented as follows: “Look at Wild Horse… a very good golf course but one which nobody really goes gaga over, because it doesn’t have loads of bunkers and because it’s inexpensive to play. Everybody likes it, but hardly anyone really supports it as one of the great courses in America; it’s often dismissed as a “poor man’s Sand Hills,” precisely because it doesn’t have a lot of superfluous bunkers.”
Excellent pay-and-play golf courses are few and far between, but Wild Horse fits squarely into this bracket. With a scattering of wonderfully natural “blow-out” bunkers and tall native grasses waving in the prairie winds, Wild Horse is one of the most challenging and affordable municipal courses you could desire.
Along with Rustic Canyon, Wild Horse has a strong reputation for great golf at very affordable prices to the public golfer. But was I prepared for the greens at the public course in Gothenburg, NE to be the best-conditioned greens I’d played all year? Certainly not! With low budget isolated golf courses, one generally expects mediocre conditioning, but Wild Horse (July 2018) was in splendid shape with beautiful receptive putting surfaces.
On the outskirts of the Sand Hills region, the golf course has limited change in undulation, but does have more interesting land movements in the corners of the property.
In 2006, the Top 100 website graciously ranked Wild Horse among the US Top 100, while we’re all a lot more educated since then, the golf course has many delightful holes including the strong par 4 8th with a large blow-out bunker and the tricky short par 3 11th hole with a devilishly small green surrounded by bunkers. I can certainly see the appeal to play here and commend the green-keeping staff for a fun presentation at exceptional value.
Since its opening, Wild Horse has been consistently ranked in the Top 100 courses you can play and is ranked here as one of the top courses of Nebraska. After playing it, I have to agree with all the rankers.
The routing is mostly fantastic and there are a tremendous amount of blind shots. The fairways and greens were in great shape despite playing it in the middle of a hot summer and I bet during the Fall its even better.
It definitely helps to have played the course as the line off the tee is not obvious and there is an unfortunate overlap of the second and third fairways but for the most part this course is a great time and one you shouldn't miss.
Double bonus, Wild Horse has built several cabins which are right on the property that are well maintained and you should definitely stay there if they have availability.