Prairie Dunes—Hutchinson, KS


Rankings as of 6/2/2012—
-16th best US Course; 25th best course in the World (Golf Magazine)
-25th best US Course (Golf Digest)
-13th best US Classic Course (Golfweek)


Prairie Dunes is the combined work of Perry Maxwell and his son, Press and the legendary crew of Bill Coore and
Ben Crenshaw are the current consulting architects.  To say this is a dream team would be an understatement, as
the combined number of “Unanimous Gems” among these architects totals 7 (4 for Coore/Crenshaw and 3 for
Maxwell).

Furthermore, the current genre of courses located on the prairie, in the Chop Hills, and Sand Hills have a shared
genesis with Prairie Dunes.  I think it would be a wonderful golf course tour if a golf course architectural student
would start in Hutchinson, KS with Prairie Dunes, make their way to Holyoke, CO, then to Mullen, NE, and end up in
South Dakota.  This could be called the “Prairie Trail”, or something like that.

Regarding the specifics of Prairie Dunes, the dunes and bunkers are the first thing that jumped out at me as
amazing.

Prairie Dunes 1.jpg

And as you make your way around the course, you will take a twisting/turning counterclockwise loop around the
property as you explore the front nine.  And that front nine will show you some killer par 3’s,

Prairie Dunes 2.jpg


Long and short par 4’s,

Prairie Dunes 3 II.jpg


And one of the world’s best par 5’s.

Prairie Dunes 7 II.jpg

This entire front nine has a dune-sy feeling very akin to Sand Hills, just on a smaller scale.  The back nine goes
around in a clockwise loop and has a bit of the dunes vibe to it,

Prairie Dunes 17.jpg

but it is also has a meadow feeling in the middle few holes.

Prairie Dunes 13.jpg

The one knock I have on the course is not related to the architecture at all, as the architecture is darn near
flawless.  Rather that issue is focused solely on the maintenance.  You see, the long native grass/rough, called the
“gunch”, is way too thick, lush, and severe and too close to the fairways in a few instances.  Trim this back and/or
stop watering and fertilizing the gunch and I believe this course would be even better than it already is.  And trust
me, it is already exceptionally good!