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Richard Hetzel

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North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« on: July 04, 2022, 11:02:02 PM »
I am headed to North and South Dakota in a few weeks. Was wondering if anyone has any experience golfing in these states? I can't play everywhere (wife will kill me) I would like to so I have to pick and choose between a few courses.


Here is my tentative itinerary:


Links of Lawsonia  (WI)

Hawktree or Painted Woods (ND) ???  Can probably only play one of these two

Links of North Dakota


Medicine Hole 9 (ND)

Bully Pulpit (ND)

Spearfish Canyon (SD)

Elkhorn Ridge or Golf Club Red Rock (SD)??? Can only play 1


I am also going to try and play Jeff Brauer's Bent Tree in Iowa as well.


I am not sure of I will ever get out to the Dakotas again, so I am hoping you guys can help me pick between the courses above.


Thanks!



Last Ten Played: 
Donald Ross Course French Lick (IN), Covered Bridge (IN), The Trout Club (OH), Elkhorn Ridge (SD), Bully Pulpit (ND), Links of ND, Hawktree (ND), Dakota Winds (ND), Links Lawsonia (WI), Connemara (KY)
Top 5 this year:
Yale
Culver
Hawktree
Charleston Municipal
Streamsong Blue

Tom_Doak

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2022, 11:09:44 PM »
When I went with a friend a few years ago, Hawktree and Links of ND and Bully Pulpit had a combo package price to play all three!  I think I have them all the same score on the Doak Scale, but I had higher expectations for Links of ND and felt disappointed, whereas the other two were low key pleasant surprises.


We also toured Red Rock which was built by a friend of mine - some good stuff there, but kind of limited by development around the course.  I donít know the other course you asked about so I canít help w that choice.

Richard Hetzel

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2022, 11:13:25 PM »
When I went with a friend a few years ago, Hawktree and Links of ND and Bully Pulpit had a combo package price to play all three!  I think I have them all the same score on the Doak Scale, but I had higher expectations for Links of ND and felt disappointed, whereas the other two were low key pleasant surprises.


We also toured Red Rock which was built by a friend of mine - some good stuff there, but kind of limited by development around the course.  I donít know the other course you asked about so I canít help w that choice.


Thanks Tom! The Medicine Hole 9 was a course Jim Engh designed on a shoestring budget IIRC. Or he did it very cheap for the locals there, and it's in the middle of nowhere. It's only 9 holes.
Last Ten Played: 
Donald Ross Course French Lick (IN), Covered Bridge (IN), The Trout Club (OH), Elkhorn Ridge (SD), Bully Pulpit (ND), Links of ND, Hawktree (ND), Dakota Winds (ND), Links Lawsonia (WI), Connemara (KY)
Top 5 this year:
Yale
Culver
Hawktree
Charleston Municipal
Streamsong Blue

Daryl David

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2022, 11:18:01 PM »
Definitely play Hawktree over Painted Wood. Agree with Tom on Links of ND. Wasnít worth the drive. Take a detour and add Minot CC instead.

Ken Moum

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2022, 01:22:07 AM »
I haven't played Elkhorn, but drive by it regularly since I summer in Sturgis and don't see anything that makes me want to stop.


I have played Red Rock and Spearfish. The former is good, the later, not so much. Although they have made a few changes since I played it.


Personally, I'd expect you to be disappointed in Black Hills golf.


I play several times a week at the 9-hole Belle Fourche CC but don't have any delusions about it.


Arrowhead CC and Meadowbrook GC in Rapid are better than Spearfish IMHO.
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

Buck Wolter

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2022, 05:45:00 PM »
When does Landmand open? Its almost South Dakota
Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience -- CS Lewis

Pete_Pittock

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2022, 07:20:52 PM »
Sutton Bay a smidge north of Pierre, SD?
If you are in the Rapid City area it is just a bit further to Hulett MT and Devils Tower GC (private) by Phelps-Atkinson. Have never played there, just read about it. I think Matt Ward was the only one to chime in, but no particulars.


Agree on Links of ND with gasoline costs, Bully Pulpit's reputation is built on about 3-4 photogenic holes.

Tom_Doak

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2022, 08:41:04 PM »

Agree on Links of ND with gasoline costs, Bully Pulpit's reputation is built on about 3-4 photogenic holes.


They do hype those three holes that play up to the bluff and back down, they take a good photo but ruin the walk.  I actually preferred the rest of the holes down in the valley.

Ken Moum

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2022, 08:51:22 PM »
Sutton Bay a smidge north of Pierre, SD?
If you are in the Rapid City area it is just a bit further to Hulett MT and Devils Tower GC (private) by Phelps-Atkinson. Have never played there, just read about it. I think Matt Ward was the only one to chime in, but no particulars.


Agree on Links of ND with gasoline costs, Bully Pulpit's reputation is built on about 3-4 photogenic holes.


Our pro in Belle Fourche just went back to Devils Tower so I looked up what green fees were.  Prospective members can get on for $200 Monday through Thursday and $250 on Friday through Sunday.


It is, however, said to be wonderfully conditioned.


It's about 100 miles from Rapid City, though.
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

Daryl "Turboe" Boe

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2022, 11:57:32 PM »
SD native here but have been gone for many years.


I enjoyed Hawktree, and Bully Pulpit was interesting, but the horseflies were almost unbearable when I was there.


As far as SD goes, Sutton Bay is the best experience but in the middle of the state and access can be difficult (not as good as before the original course slid into the lake, but still the best in SD).  Red Rock is fun, especially if you are lucky enough to get Ron Farris (whom Tom mentioned above) to tee it up with you like I did.   Meadowbrook is a good public course (actually municipal) in Rapid City that I think had a Women's Amateur Public links Championship years ago.


Sioux Falls probably overall has better golf than Rapid City but again the best couple are private.


Good luck!!
"Time spent playing golf is not deducted from ones lifespan."

"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Instagram: @thequestfor3000

Bill Seitz

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2022, 04:16:20 PM »
Bully Pulpit's reputation is built on about 3-4 photogenic holes.


I agree with Tom that the three holes in the Badlands are the holes that stand out visually, but the par 3 plays a little goofy, and the holes down by the river are actually quite good, with a fair amount of width, and a couple good short par 4s.  I like Links of ND too, but it might be because it's an hour from where my dad grew up, and it was the first course that "looked" like a Links course that I remember playing, even if it doesn't entirely play like one.  I wasn't very GCA savvy back then (may still not be).

Adam Lawrence

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2022, 05:29:25 PM »
When does Landmand open? Its almost South Dakota


Soft opening September 3.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

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Richard Hetzel

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2022, 09:46:10 PM »
All great recs, thanks!


Landmand will have to wait for a bit. My kids are older now and the wife has been allowing me to travel a bit to golf, even alone and I am enjoying it. I still have not told my wife how much golf is being played on this trip, lol. A few mornings my plan is to tee off as early as possible and be back by the time she is up, dressed and ready to go.


I did check out the Devil's Tower GC, but it is cost prohibitive this trip, and I want to stay a few days at Streamsong Resort In December to play the Black and Red courses since I only played the Blue 2 weeks ago. Love that place and the hotel.


I'll play almost anything ONCE. North Dakota is pretty well set (Thanks for that 3 course deal idea Tom, I appreciate it!) South Dakota is where I am going to have to pick and choose my spots so as not to interfere with what she has planned.


Marketing photos of golf courses can be nothing like the course in real life.


RedRock looks like it is a residential course, and ELkhorn looks better but you can never tell until you get there!
Last Ten Played: 
Donald Ross Course French Lick (IN), Covered Bridge (IN), The Trout Club (OH), Elkhorn Ridge (SD), Bully Pulpit (ND), Links of ND, Hawktree (ND), Dakota Winds (ND), Links Lawsonia (WI), Connemara (KY)
Top 5 this year:
Yale
Culver
Hawktree
Charleston Municipal
Streamsong Blue

mike_beene

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2022, 11:52:12 PM »
In my half asleep mode I read North and South KOREA. I was going to suggest cutting the north part of the trip!

PCCraig

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2022, 12:10:58 AM »
I'd say postpone your trip until the fall and spend your time chasing a different kind of birdie!!  ;D ;)
H.P.S.

Daryl "Turboe" Boe

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2022, 10:37:55 AM »
I'd say postpone your trip until the fall and spend your time chasing a different kind of birdie!!  ;D ;)


Best advice yet on this thread!!  While I dont want to denigrate my home state when it comes to golf, SD is the Pinehurst, Hilton Head, and Myrtle Beach of Pheasant hunting all wrapped up in one!!  Opening weekend (3rd Sat of Oct) is a spectacle to behold!
"Time spent playing golf is not deducted from ones lifespan."

"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Instagram: @thequestfor3000

Garland Bayley

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2022, 11:12:31 AM »

Agree on Links of ND with gasoline costs, Bully Pulpit's reputation is built on about 3-4 photogenic holes.


They do hype those three holes that play up to the bluff and back down, they take a good photo but ruin the walk.  I actually preferred the rest of the holes down in the valley.

Concur. The cart path up to holes on the bluff even has a scenic turnout, and one of them led to the name of the course. But, there are fine holes in the valley.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Daryl "Turboe" Boe

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2022, 12:06:59 PM »

Agree on Links of ND with gasoline costs, Bully Pulpit's reputation is built on about 3-4 photogenic holes.


They do hype those three holes that play up to the bluff and back down, they take a good photo but ruin the walk.  I actually preferred the rest of the holes down in the valley.

Concur. The cart path up to holes on the bluff even has a scenic turnout, and one of them led to the name of the course. But, there are fine holes in the valley.


Garland, I was hoping you would see this thread and chime in...  Hope you are doing well.
"Time spent playing golf is not deducted from ones lifespan."

"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Instagram: @thequestfor3000

Andy Shulman

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2022, 03:02:10 PM »
Go to Devils Tower.  Not the country club, the national monument.  Itís worth the drive.


As for the golf, Iíve only played Red Rock.  It was fine, but not a must play, especially on a family focused trip.


Thereís some cool stuff to do on the 5+ hour drive from Rapid City to Gothenburg, NE, where Wild Horse is located.  But, thatís clearly not in the cards this trip.


« Last Edit: July 07, 2022, 03:11:23 PM by Andy Shulman »

Kalen Braley

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2022, 03:28:29 PM »
Lawsonia is an interesting starting point. Its ~12 hours to ND from there, but at least Fargo is on the way, so there's that!

But assuming he's driving from the ND courses south to Rapid City, its not much of a detour to perhaps have your own close encounter at Devils Tower ;D

P.S.  My wife and I had a trip planned to visit the Rapid City area last fall, but COVID infected those plans...especially after the massive post-Sturgis spike.

Daryl "Turboe" Boe

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2022, 04:35:53 PM »
Lawsonia is an interesting starting point. Its ~12 hours to ND from there, but at least Fargo is on the way, so there's that!

But assuming he's driving from the ND courses south to Rapid City, its not much of a detour to perhaps have your own close encounter at Devils Tower ;D

P.S.  My wife and I had a trip planned to visit the Rapid City area last fall, but COVID infected those plans...especially after the massive post-Sturgis spike.


When/if you rekindle that Rapid City visit, keep us posted. A warm spot in my heart for Rapid!  As proud Alumni of SD School of Mines & Technology - Hardrockers, Garland Bayley and I can probably give some off the course recommendations on watering holes, etc. as well.   Although probably most of our favorites might not be there anymore...


Richard away from the course, beyond the obvious things in the Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore, Badlands NP, Custer State Park, Etc.) make sure you drive the needles highway and get out and spend some time around the "needles eye" area.  Watching one of those mega-bus drivers navigate the tunnel there is a sight in and of itself.  Also if going out to the Badlands you should stop to see the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site visitors center.  Go online and check WAY in advance about tickets to get to see the underground portion of that site.  The times are very limited and I think get booked very early, (it used to be only in person sign up starting each day and the whole day would fill up very fast, I think they changed to online reservation system after Covid.)  Its a cool tour.


Good luck, and ask any questions that come up.  You can take the boy out of SD, but....
"Time spent playing golf is not deducted from ones lifespan."

"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Instagram: @thequestfor3000

Kalen Braley

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2022, 04:48:10 PM »
Thanks for the advice Turboe...

We had those things on the docket (except that underground part) along with a pass thru Deadwood (loved the series), Wind Caves Park, Teddy R park,  and perhaps the Crazy Horse memorial.

Weather wise, how soon does it start getting sketchy in that area.  Would late September/early October still be generally doable?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2022, 04:51:44 PM by Kalen Braley »

Daryl "Turboe" Boe

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2022, 05:50:23 PM »
Thanks for the advice Turboe...

We had those things on the docket (except that underground part) along with a pass thru Deadwood (loved the series), Wind Caves Park, Teddy R park,  and perhaps the Crazy Horse memorial.

Weather wise, how soon does it start getting sketchy in that area.  Would late September/early October still be generally doable?


That should still be good.  I usually use the 3rd Sat in October as a good barometer.  I have been home for opening weekend probably 50% off and on over the years.  And while it is normally warm enough I am shirt sleeves, some years it has been quite cold and windy, and on at least one occasion I can remember after a beautiful Saturday, it snowed 6-8" on Sunday.  But that was out on the prairie (usually the Black Hills are a little more mild weather wise) and obviously a one off rarity.


Overall I think OK, but keep in mind they dont call SD "The land of infinite variety" for nothing.  They say if you dont like the weather just wait one day!!

"Time spent playing golf is not deducted from ones lifespan."

"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Instagram: @thequestfor3000

Roman Schwarz

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2022, 07:00:17 PM »
Definitely play Hawktree over Painted Wood. Agree with Tom on Links of ND. Wasnít worth the drive. Take a detour and add Minot CC instead.


It pains me, but I agree. I grew up in Washburn and first picked up a club at Painted Woods. Back then it was a 9 holer with all 9 in the valley. It was pretty rudimentary but had some fun holes and contributed to the golf character of the area where every little town had its own 9 hole course. You saw more jeans than golf pants by far.
The land always had the ability to host a better course, and there are some great holes, but I think the effort to pack in drama left a lot to be desired. The first green is very severe with basically a crowned green and a bowl baked into one. It sets the tone that the course is not what it used to be. One of the strangest routing choices Iíve ever seen is where you come back across the creek to play one of the original par 4 holes (not among he better) and then go back to the tee because the tee box for the next par 3 is on a bluff going perpendicular to the previous hole. That bluff was the most prominent feature on the original 9 and had a shortish par 4 with the green tucked behind it alps style. There are a couple stunners on the back amongst the new holes.
I donít disagree with the idea of going to 18 and lengthening the course, but going from a pleasure walk to one of the more unwalkable courses Iíve played costs it character. Itís ok for the course to ďgrow upĒ but it felt like it lost its soul in the process. If you want that small town old school character play Square Butte near Center or Hazen. Depending on where youíre from, that may be a more memorable experience than playing a ďbetterĒ course.


If you do Hawktree is great, but pretty severe and not a pleasant walk, either. Once in July the guy in the clubhouse thought I might be the first walker of the year.

Pete_Pittock

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Re: North and South Dakota Trip Advice
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2022, 09:07:44 PM »
Richard,
I do hope your trip does not conflict with the Sturgis motorcycle rally, which runs Aug 9/14. Another must see sightsee is the Mammoth Site at Hot Springs, SD.

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