Pioneers Golf Course

The latest stop on the 2019 Early Break Golf Course Review Tour is Pioneers Golf Course in Lincoln. Pioneers is the oldest public golf course in Lincoln and the surrounding states, actually–constructed in 1930 originally as a 27 hole course, but it’s now just 18 holes. I’ve always viewed Pioneers as one of my absolute favorite courses to play in the city because of the location feeling secluded for being a public course, but also great scenery in general. I’ve been fortunate to play Pioneers quite a few times growing up with high school tournaments and also having lived in Lincoln for the past 10 years.

Pioneers begins with a straightaway par 5 which is in play for an eagle or certainly a birdie if you put a decent drive in play. After a slight dogleg par 4 on hole 2, a blind drive awaits on hole 3, but don’t push it too far right or you’ll be out of bounds and into Pioneers Park. Hole 4 is one of the best looking holes in all of Lincoln, a par 3 over a lake that plays about 185 yards from the tips and requires a carry of at least 150—don’t chunk your teeshot or you’ll be in big trouble! Hole 5 is a short, downhill dogleg right par 4 that requires an accurate teeshot, or else the trees become a world of hurt. Hole 6 is another straightaway par 5 that is totally dependent on wind for how it plays; if it’s downwind, you can get home in 2 easily, but if it’s into the wind, you’re playing for a birdie or par at best.

Hole 7 is a short uphill par 3, followed by a straightaway par 4 that is big trouble if hit it right, and into the trees. Same goes for hole 9; a slightly uphill par 4. I have been in huge issues on this hole with pulled drives and occasionally an overcooked fade, both which head into more tree-lined areas. It’s not an overly long hole, but high scores can be taken here if an accurate drive is not in play.

Hole 10 is a beautiful, downhill par 4 that feels like a funnel back to the fairway if you go left or right; however, you can still get in plenty of trouble with an errant tee shot. Hole 11 is a nice dogleg left par 5, and hole 12 is a short par 4 that you absolutely cannot go left on (OB and forest), and going right also gets you in the trees. If driver is shaky, take a long iron or hybrid here.

After that is what I view to be the best 4-hole stretch on the golf course. Hole 13 is a beast of a par 3, playing slightly uphill and at 215 yards from the tips, but it always feels longer than that. If you can escape that hole with a par, you get the short par 4 14th, which plays about 310 yards from the tips. If you go driver, you can certainly get close to the green or get on it, but going right puts you in trouble for a second shot, and going left puts you behind 2 massive trees protecting the green. It’s viewed as a birdie hole. Hole 15 heads right back uphill and plays around 440 from the tips; there’s been times into the wind where I’ve crushed a drive though (I usually hit driver 275-300 yards), and have still been about 200 yards out because of wind  and the uphill nature of the hole. You feel fortunate to walk away with a par here. And to finish the 4-hole stretch, hole 16 is a dogleg right where left is dead, and far right is dead, too. A good drive is very important for a birdie chance or saving par.

Hole 17 is a short par 3, playing about 130 from the tips, and hole 18 wraps up with a slight dogleg right where you can’t go too far left; you’ll hit some cars in the parking lot. Going too far right puts you in long grass and tree trouble. The hole is only about 330 yards, so if you bomb a drive straight, you’re in major birdie range.

There’s no bunkers at Pioneers, so it’s a good course for novices to learn on; but also challenging enough without bunkers for talented/experienced players to enjoy, too. The greens are in great shape and have decent pace, despite the course being first in amount of rounds played in Lincoln for 12 straight years. There’s a reason why so many people love to play Pioneers—make it a priority on your next golf outing in Lincoln!

 

Course Info:

3403 West Van Dorn St. 

Lincoln, NE 68522

Phone:  (402) 441-8966

Head Pro:  Timothy Rowland