The Early Break Golf Course Tour continues with…Tatanka Golf Club!

-Located in northeast Nebraska in Niobrara…what did Jake think of the course and what questions does Sip have?

-Also, SONG OF THE DAY (sponsored by Sartor Hamann Jewelers):

Show sponsored by CARTRIDGE WORLD

Highlands Golf Course

The fifth stop on the 2020 Early Break Golf Tour is Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln. It’s one of the five courses considered part of the public Lincoln City Golf courses, and always brings a different feel than any of the other courses in town. Located in northwest Lincoln, Highlands is a links-style course, unlike the other public courses in town which have tree-lined fairways on what for a long time turned into the traditional type of course.

Highlands has challenging and rewarding holes all the way through. Hole 1 is a beautiful par 5 with a slight dogleg left with bunkers in the landing area on both sides of the fairway. Hole 2 is another dogleg left, with bunkers again on both sides of the fairway in landing areas. If you’re a big hitter, you can carry the left bunker and have a small wedge into the green, a par 4. Hole 3 is one of the most difficult holes in town. There’s no water or hazards—it’s just a long par 4, playing about 430 from the tips, and uphill. Again, a bunker left in the landing area, and another bunker on the front right part of the green. Take a par here and celebrate it as a birdie if you get one.

Hole 5 is a good risk-reward hole. It’s a shorter par 4, but you can try to get the corner and get close to the green, but if you don’t cut the corner (dogleg left hole), you’ll end up likely losing your ball in the tall grass. A safe play puts an iron or hybrid to the right in the fairway. Hole 6 is another dogleg left par 5 with long grass on the left side for the entire duration of the hole. Bunkers are in play near the green, and the green is tricky with two tiers.

Hole 7 is a short par 4 that long hitters can drive, as it’s around 320 yards from the tips. There is a greenside bunker on the left, and also a bunker short of the green if someone doesn’t catch their drive clean. Hole 9 is a scary par 4, where daring hitters will hit their teeshot directly over the lake, but require a 230 carry to do so. If you’re not as confident, play your teeshot right, and the approach shot goes uphill with a bunker protecting the front right.

Hole 10 is a good-looking par 4 that goes into a valley and then back up. A bunker once again is in the landing area on both sides of the fairway, and also on the right side of the green. Out of bounds right on tee shot and long grass left. Hole 11 is a par 5 that has the entire right side protected by trees. It’s one of the few holes that trees are relevant on the course. Keep your drive left and you’ll have a chance at getting on the green in 2 or close…but if you’re right, it’s a world of hurt.

Hole 12 is a short par 3 over a pond, playing about 165 yards from the tips. This green has three different tiers and is hard to make putts on. Hole 14 is one of the toughest par 3s in the city, measuring 230 yards from the tips. No bunker on this hole, but very difficult green to hit. Hole 16 is another tough par 4, going back uphill and playing 450 yards from the tips. Even if you hit a good drive here, you’ll have a long iron at the least for a second shot, with a green that is protected on the left by a huge bunker. Hole 17 is a nice dogleg right par 5, and hole 18 is a par 4 going back to the clubhouse that has a pond on the right side for your teeshot, and a huge tree on the left side of the fairway that presents problems if your drive goes that direction. Another very difficult two-tiered green awaits you on the finishing hole.

Highlands is a wonderful course that is difficult, and is extremely difficult if there’s any wind at all. With hardly any tree protection, this course can add 5+ shots to your score in windy conditions. Make your way to northwest Lincoln today to play one of the city’s top courses!

 

Course Info:

Head Pro:  Denis Vontz

Phone #:  402-441-6081

Website:    www.lincolncitygolf.org/highlands

Lakeside Country Club

The fourth stop on the 2020 Early Break Golf Tour is Lakeside Country Club, just to the south of Johnson Lake, near Elwood, NE. I’d never played the course before, so I was excited to get on the road out west and see what there was to offer. I was immediately intrigued on the drive in by seeing the lake so near the course—it made it pretty easy to decide what I’d be doing after my round.

Lakeside was in great shape. It’s been a pretty wet spring in Nebraska, and the course was indicative of that with green grass everywhere and fast greens. I played the tips, which is just shy of 6,400 yards for the entire course. Hole 1 is a straightaway par 5 that goes downhill the last 100 yards—I was informed by Richie (the course’s general manager) that the hole was flooded last year, but you couldn’t tell. The course has been well taken care of by the maintenance staff.

Hole 1, Lakeside Country Club

After a few short par 4s on holes 2 and 3, you reach the toughest hole on the course, which certainly defeated me. I was 1-under going into the hole, and ended with a double-bogey. It’s a 430 yard par 4 that doglegs left the final 100 yards of the hole, and the green is protected by a massive tree on the front left side. So, if you want a chance of getting on for a birdie, you’d be best served by going to the right side of the fairway, or even in the right rough. I pulled my drive left and had to drop, and then played the rest of the hole poorly after that.

Hole 4, Lakeside Country Club

Hole 5 is a nice looking par 3—164 yards from the tips. Hole 6 is a gettable par 5, and holes 7 and 8 are par 4s that take a slight dogleg to the right, with protective bunkers on hole 7 in the landing zone from your drive. Hole 9 is a difficult 165 yard par 3 that is downhill, but has a very narrow green that is tough to hit. If you go right at all, it will carom off the hill and present a difficult chip. If you’re left at all, you’ll find a bunker. Richie said that even though it’s a shorter par 3, bogey is the most common score on the hole.

Hole 7, Lakeside Country Club

The back 9 is the easier side for sure. Hole 10 is a 340 yard par 4, and hole 10 is a 515 yard par 5, but plays much shorter than that since it’s a severe dogleg right, and if you hit it over the trees, you can have a short iron into the green for your 2nd shot—eagle and birdie are common here. Same goes for hole 12, another short par 4, about 320 yards in length, straightaway. Hole 13 is another good-looking par 3, about 170 from tips, and 150 yards from the next tees up.

This brings us to hole 14. I had a group behind me and they asked me if I was looking for the back tees, and I said yes—because they are so far behind the other tees. The guys said they had never seen anyone hit from those tees (Richie informed me before the round that 95% of players play the tees up from the backs). That hole played as a 520 yard par 4 (!), which doglegs left. If you make a birdie or par on 14 from any of the tees, you’ve done well. I pulled my drive left again and had to drop, and came away with a double bogey. Very difficult hole.

Hole 15, Lakeside Country Club

Hole 15 is a nice break after that, as a short par 5. Hole 16 and 18 are both 165 yard par 3s.

Lakeside is a very enjoyable course that is in great shape. I was a little bummed I couldn’t see the actual Johnson Lake at all from the course, because it’s below the dam on the other side of it, but otherwise, it is a course worth playing if you’re headed out that direction for the weekend for camping.

General Manager:   Richie Bennett

Website:      www.playlakeside.com

Phone:   (308) 785-2818

Mahoney Golf Course

The third stop on the 2020 Early Break Golf Tour is Mahoney Golf Course in Lincoln. This long-standing public course gets a lot of traffic, and is generally considered the best course for a beginner to play on, as it’s the least punishing of Lincoln City Golf courses. You’ll arrive to see a large driving range to the east of the clubhouse, which also has a massive net on the south side to protect golf balls hit from the range to go on Adams Street or the surrounding neighborhoods. The practice putting green is also spacious enough to hold many golfers, as there are often high school tournaments played there.

Hole 1 is a massive dogleg right par 5 that has in-course out of bounds left, and also right (the driving range). If the wind is from the south, this hole is easy to reach in 2. If not, placement of your drive becomes that much more important to give you a chance at a birdie still. Hole 2 is a 190 yard par 3 (from tips) with a large bunker on the left side. This two-tiered green causes issues putting often. Hole 3 is a dogleg right par 4 that requires an accurate drive to have a chance to get to the green for birdie. Holes 4 and 5 are straightaway par 4s, followed by another 190 yard par 3 uphill on 6.

Hole 8 is undoubtedly the toughest hole on the course, and considered by many as one of the hardest holes in Lincoln, in general. With two ponds on the left side of this long par 4 (440 yards from tips), it becomes a mental grind. If you don’t hit in the first pond, the second pond is closer to the green, and any chunked shot will surely find the pond. If you get past the pond, you could still end up short in the bunker right before the green. Hole 8 is where many good rounds go to suffer. Hole 9 is a nice par 3 with a protective bunker on the front right, and again, is about 190 yards from tips.

Hole 10 is a straightaway par 4, and hole 11 is the same, but a par 5. Hole 12 is a pleasantly short par 3, playing 124 yards from the tips, but an uphill shot where you can’t really see what the ball does once it gets to the green. Hole 13 is a short par 4 that is a ‘birdie hole.’ Hole 14 is another 190 yard par 3 with a protective bunker on the front left. Hole 15 looks identical to hole 7, as they are both right next to each other and are both dogleg left par 5s. Reachable in 2 on most days. Hole 16 is a difficult 90 degree dogleg left that long hitters can carry the large gathering of trees on the left side, but short hitters must go right of them and it creates a very long second shot. Hole 17 is a good-looking downhill par 3 with a bunker in the front right, and hole 18 is a dogleg left par 4 that if you go right, you’re in trouble–if you’re left, you’ll likely have a punch shot but a chance at getting to the green, still.

Overall, Mahoney Golf Course isn’t considered the toughest course in Lincoln by any means, but it can provide a fun time for beginners and also for advanced players. The greens and fairways are in excellent shape. I enjoy walking when I play, and it’s a fairly easy course to walk. Book your teetime today at lincolncitygolf.org!

 

Head Pro: Jonathan Benson

Course address:  7900 Adams Street, Lincoln, NE  68507

Website:   www.lincolncitygolf.org/mahoney

Phone #:   (402) 441-8969

 

 

Fremont Golf Club

Our second stop on the 2020 ‘Early Break’ Golf Tour is Fremont Golf Club! I had the chance to play the course last year, too, and it looks even better now than it did then. What a tremendous looking course. I played the tips (black tees–6,532 yards). The putting green indicates quick, smooth greens, and that’s exactly what you find on every hole on the course. No bumps, no dry areas of greens–they are taken care of to the fullest extent. The course isn’t long, but pretty much every hole is tree-lined, so if you find yourself erratic off the tee (which I was when I played this time), prepare for a tough day of scoring. If you can keep the driver in the bag and hit long irons or a hybrid consistently straight, you’ll have a chance to score well.

 

The bunkers were redone two years ago and they are immaculate. They honestly look like the sand you’d see on a beach, as they are white and refined. The rough at Fremont Golf Club is fair but punishing, and the fairways are always in great shape. Memorable holes on the course are hole 3, which is a long straightaway par 4 with a creek that runs about 75 yards short of the green. If your teeshot doesn’t find the fairway, good luck making par. Hole 4 is a par 3 that has a massive bunker on the left side of the green. If you’re left on the hole, you’re looking at a bogey at best, as the green runs away from that side and the ball is impossible to stop on a chip from the bunker or rough.

Hole 8 is listed as the toughest hole on the course, as a long par 5. However, if your drive is straight, you can reach the green in two. The green is the difficult part, as it’s a smaller green than normal with lots of curve to it. Hole 9 is 90 degree left turn that requires a long iron or hybrid off the tee, and a second shot into the green will need to be struck well to avoid the pond that protects the green.

Hole 13 is a difficult dogleg right hole that has OB right to prevent players from trying to hit into hole 14 fairway for a better angle at the hole. If your teeshot is off-line, par becomes hard to achieve, as you’ll have to either punch out or lay up for your 2nd shot, assuming you get that shot into open area for an approach. Water comes into play on holes 14 and 15, with both doglegs left requiring accurate tee shots. The course finishes with a straightaway par 4, hole 18 that does have OB left, but is otherwise gettable.

The bunkers were redone last year and they are immaculate. They honestly look like the sand you’d see on a beach, as they are white and refined. The rough at Fremont Golf Club is fair but punishing, and the fairways are always in great shape. Water does come to play on holes 14 and 15, with both doglegs left requiring accurate tee shots.

The unique feature of the course is the train track that goes through the middle of it. The 18 holes are pretty much divided right in the middle of the tracks, so you’ll go across them several times in the round to get to your next set of holes. I thought it was impressive how they fit 18 holes into smaller area of territory than usual—it seemed like a puzzle piece in how they fit all the holes in, which was creative.

I highly recommend a visit to Fremont Golf Club! If you have a Nebraska Golf Passport, you can play the course. Otherwise, it’s a private course, so membership is required to get on. They always have great membership specials going on, so check them out to get more info.

 

Contact Info:

Fremont Golf Club
2710 N. Somers Ave.
Fremont, NE 68025

(402) 721-6642

www.fremontgolfclub.org

Head PGA Professional:  Nathan Kalin

Indian Trails Country Club

The 2020 Early Break Golf Tour kicked off over the weekend, and what better way to start than with a trip to Beemer, Nebraska to play scenic Indian Trails Country Club! I’ve had the privilege of playing Indian Trails a handful of times in my life, and the scenery and elevation blows me away every time.

When you get to the parking lot at the course, you are stunned by how far you can see into the distance to the north. The clubhouse sits on a bluff of the Elkhorn River, and everything feeds down toward the river. Only holes 1, 2 and 10 are on the upper level. Hole 1 is a par 5, and if you hit it left, you’re going to go a long way down, as the hole feeds down into the valley. If you keep it in the fairway, you’ll have a good chance at birdie, depending on the wind. Hole 2 is a challenging par 3 that plays 208 yards from the tips, but it feels longer than that—it played straight into the wind when I played. The green all feeds toward the front, and if you hit over the back on your tee shot, you’re in a world of hurt.

Hole 3 is a gorgeous downhill par 5 that feeds to the right from your teeshot, where you also drop (what feels like) a few hundred feet in elevation to the fairway. Hole 5 goes right by the road that leads you up from the village of Beemer to the golf course, and if you have any sort of fade or slice, you’re heading out of bounds. Keep it in play to the right and you should be able to walk away with a par.

Holes 6 and 7 are short par 4s that long-hitters can drive depending on where the wind is at–but you can also go out of bounds on 6 if you go right. A bunker to the front left of the green creates issues for long-bombers. Hole 7 is a straight-forward par 4 that if you’re feeling errant at all with your driver, you should take whatever you trust to get in the fairway and get your birdie or par (only 310 yards from tips).

Hole 8 is a brutal par 3 that is 220 from the tips and 160 from the tees up from the tips–it actually plays as a par 4 for women, as their tee box is just behind the tips. Hole 9 is a boomerang hole that goes almost 90 degrees to the left. Hit a long iron or hybrid on your teeshot and you’ll have a chance to score. However, the two-tiered green causes lots of problems for golfers, especially when the summer temps get high and the greens get even faster than they are in the spring. What feels like a birdie hole can often become a 3-putt bogey.

After you’ve rode the cart back up the big hill to the clubhouse (if you walk the hill, your legs will be burning), you’ll head to hole 10. It’s a par 4 with OB left for the driving range—and make sure not to hit your 2nd shot long, or you’ll end up in a cemetery!

Then comes one of the absolute coolest holes in the state. Hole 11 again drops hundreds of feet downhill, going back to the Elkhorn River. Your teeshot will hang in the air for what feels like forever, and it’s so fun to see how far it goes with the help of elevation. If you avoid the greenside bunker, you can get a birdie on this hole. Par is a good score. Hole 12 is a challenging dogleg right–for someone who draws the ball right to left like me, it’s difficult.

Holes 13 and 14 are the 3rd and 5th hardest handicap holes respectfully on the course per the scorecard, despite being par 4s that are less than 400 yards from the tips. 13 is a straightaway par 4, but has a difficult green that has so many bending putts. 14 goes straight up the hill and is a little intimidating on the tee shot, going through a tight opening on your drive.  Most shots will feed left to right on the hole with the landscape.

Hole 15 is a short but good-looking par 3, playing between 125-135 for all tees. You’ll have to carry a pond on your tee shot and avoid the bunker on the front right of the green. But, this is another two-tiered green that is challenging to make putts on. Hole 16 is another par 3, but another monster, playing 205 yards from back tees. It’s one of the most difficult holes to make putts on for all of Indian Trails, as pretty much every putt has significant bend to it. If you par 16, you’ve done well for yourself.

Hole 17 is the only really long par 5 of the course, measuring at 575 yards from the tips. If you don’t hit a long and straight drive, it’ll be hard to make birdie. I found the trees on the right, but was able to punch out and still get on in 3, and missed my birdie putt. Finally, hole 18 is the number one handicap hole on the course. It’s a longer version of hole 9; a boomerang hole that goes 90 degrees to the left from the teebox. Driver can sometimes be too much, and a hybrid leaves you still a long approach shot. If you par this hole, you probably had a good round of golf. If not, welcome to the life of most who play Indian Trails.

I HIGHLY recommend a visit to Beemer. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, you can pay for 18 holes and play the whole day beyond that for free. The most they’ve seen someone play one day is 81 holes–all the cost of only 18 holes. Grab some buddies and enjoy a full day at this gem of a golf course as soon as you can!

 

Head Pro:   Adam Person

Website:  www.indiantrailsclub.com

Phone:   (402) 528-3404