Dodge Riverside Golf Club

The next stop on the 2019 Early Break Golf Course Tour is Dodge Riverside Golf Club in Council Bluffs! I had played this course once when I was in high school for a tournament about 11 years ago (aging myself here), but didn’t remember much of it, so I was glad I was able to play it again with a new perspective.

First things first: it’s a pretty dang easy course to find, as it sits directly across from Harrah’s Casino in Council Bluffs, just off the interstate. The clubhouse is nice and inviting, with plenty of merchandise to buy in the pro shop, and good food/cold drinks in the dining area. I played on a day of 98 degree heat, and was given plenty of ice to keep drinks cold all day long, which is easier said than done.

Dodge Riverside GC is full of doglegs, and you see that off the bat with a dogleg left par 4. I played the tips again, and found myself in the trees, but was able to get up-and-down for a par. The course isn’t overly long anywhere outside of two 500+ yard par 5s, so if you are struggling with the driver (which I often do), a long iron or hybrid should keep you in position to score, if you can hit it straight off the tee or to a specific landing area. This was the case on holes 3 and 4, as 3 is a dogleg left with a huge tree sticking out on the left that you must either go over or around with a draw. Hole 4 is a par 4 that requires specific placement, as a bunker lines the right side, and I hit into it with a hybrid. You can be rewarded by simply hitting a long iron on both of these holes off the tee.

Hole 5 is another challenging dogleg left, before you can go bombs away straight down 6 and 7. I was able to stop a tough start by getting par on both of those holes. Hole 8 is the No. 1 handicap hole on the course, and you can understand why: it’s only 398 yards in distance, but for a guy like me who plays a draw, you have to play your teeshot over an apartment complex AND trees on the right to get into proper position for your second shot (if I could play a fade on command, this hole becomes a lot easier). Regardless, if you hit a bad shot off the tee here, you’re toast.  Hole 9 finishes off the front with a long par 5 that plays 545 generally from the tips, but it was moved up to about 515 on the day I played, but another dogleg left.

Hole 10 is the second toughest hole on the course, a 427 yard dogleg right par 4 from the tips. The greens were starting to bake in the heat, but weren’t showing signs of brown or fatigue; they just started to roll pretty quickly, which is the way I like them. Good maintenance all the way around the course, in general, on the greens, bunkers, fairways, and teeboxes.

Hole 11 is a nice 175 yard par 3 which landed me my first birdie of the day, followed by a very straightforward 12th hole which is big-time birdie territory, too. In fact, holes 12 through 14 should be considered as birdie territory, with hole 13 being a tempting 275 yard par that’s reachable with driver or 3-wood, but comes with the risk of hitting into a pond that protects the front portion of the green. I was able to clear the pond with my drive, but biffed a chip and ended up with par.

Hole 14 is a dogleg right par 5 with OB left, and hole 15 is a 190 yard par 3. Both were nice holes. Hole 16 is a reachable dogleg left par 5 which I was able to birdie, as it was downwind and playing 482 yards from the tips. Hole 17 is a challenging dogleg right par 4 with tree trouble left and right, and hole 18 finishes up with a 374 yard par 4 that can be birdied if you keep your drive in play. The course from the tips plays just shy of 6,500 yards when all is said and done.

I started the round +4 through 5 as I was not very warmed up; but I closed strong and stayed +4 the whole rest of the way, to shoot a 76 on the par 72 course. It’s tree-lined all the way throughout and with all the doglegs, I’d recommend keeping the driver in the bag more often than not and playing strategic golf with long irons and hybrids. For playing on such a hot day, the course looked great and the clubhouse employees were in good spirits. The next time you’re in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area, give Dodge Riverside Golf Club your best shot for 18 holes!

Contact Info:

2 Harrah’s Blvd

Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Phone: (712) 328-4660



General Manager:   Kyle Matson

Holdrege Country Club

The latest stop on the 2019 Early Break Golf Tour is Holdrege Country Club! I had never played this course before, so I was excited to get a chance to go out and play it. I played with David, a local member, who was a fantastic host, and even hooked me up with a nice new water bottle and divot tool upon my arrival. He was extremely helpful in knowing what to do on certain holes, as well as giving many pointers on what my putts might do on the greens. Always great to play with locals who are listeners of the show and also are awesome playing partners!

Regarding the course, it is in fantastic shape. It’s as green as can be for late June–thanks, in part, undoubtedly to the very wet spring/summer we’ve had in the state. The greens are so true and smooth, but not unfairly quick. You can definitely make a lot of putts at Holdrege CC once you figure out the pace of the greens. I started off +6 on the front 9 and shot 3-under on the back 9 once I got things figured out.

The course plays 6300+ yards from the tips, so it’s not overly long, but does provide many challenges. I didn’t hit a driver until hole 4, which is the start of three straight par 5s—something I’ve never seen before anywhere, but found it interesting. Before that, you have two pretty short par 4s to start, and then a scenic par 3 that’s lined with trees and also a pond before the green.

Regarding the three straight par 5s–you can make birdie on them all if you play it smart, as none are extremely long. Holes 4 and 6 are both under 500 yards, while hole 5 is just longer than 500 yards. I didn’t trust my driver and didn’t hit it great, and actually had big problems on hole 6 because of that, but I learned later on that if I just hit a hybrid down the middle, I could still make a birdie if I had a big second shot, too.

Hole 7 was a challenging par 4, playing about 430 yards from the tips. It’s straightaway, but if you go right or left, you’re in tree trouble, and bogey is likely. The front 9 raps up with two nice par 3s, which I was able to par both of.

The back 9 starts with a pretty simple par 4 that’s a dogleg right, but with not much tree trouble to worry about. Hole 12 can be birdied, as it’s another straight par 5 with tree trouble on the right, but I was in the trees and still almost made birdie. Hole 13 is a 152 yard par 3 over water that can be daunting into the wind, but there wasn’t much wind the day I played. I actually almost aced the hole and had a tap-in birdie, and David had a remarkable scramble with a nice chip and long putt for par. Hole 15 is another challenging hole, a dogleg right with tree trouble right. I was in the trees again and made bogey.

Hole 16 is another nice looking par 3, with water short and right. David made a nice birdie and I made an up-and-down par, before we headed off to the par 5 17th, and then wrapped up with the straightaway par 4 18th hole.

It’s a course that you can go low on if you play well, but I can see it being a lot tougher when it’s windy. I was impressed with the speed of the greens and the trueness of putts, as well as the overall maintenance of the course. Only a 2 hour, 15 min drive from Lincoln, it’s well-worth the drive for a day on the course.


Contact Info:

314 W. 18th Ave.
Holdrege, NE 68949

Phone: (308) 995-5744