Golf in Lincoln

Golf is very much like a love affair, if you don’t take it seriously, it’s no fun, if you do, it breaks your heart.
Don’t break your heart, but flirt with the possibility.  —Mae Louise Suggs

There are so many choices and so much green, and so many greens, golf in Lincoln is one of the city’s treasures.

Five public courses, owned by the city, including the award-winning Ager Junior, par 3 course, and four championship length courses are the gems of the area.

Those courses are easy to get to, a pleasure to play and affordable.

That would be enough for many people.

But wait. There’s more.

Add the premier privately-owned, public access courses—Woodland Hills, Crooked Creek, NuMark, Hidden Valley, Pine Lake (par 3) and the exclusive Country Club of Lincoln, Wilderness Ridge, Hillcrest Country Club and Firethorn Golf Club and you have a banquet of golf that is easy to get to and fun to play.

That all means golf is just waiting for you.

The city courses include Highlands, Pioneers, Holmes and Mahoney.

Each has great greens, multiple tee boxes. Each has its particular personality. And all five city courses are paid for, not with tax dollars, but by golf fees.

Pioneers, built in 1933, is bordered by Pioneers Park and the Pioneers Nature Center.

Trees line most of the holes, water comes into play on two holes and the changes in elevation make Pioneers one of the local favorites. One of the top features is the view from the clubhouse. You can see to the southern horizon and the farm fields, to the West a pasture and the local nature center, and to the East is Pioneers Park and the famous Pinewood Bowl. The course recently rebuilt the fairway on No. 5 and has a new irrigation system.

The popular city course doesn’t have sand, but those who know understand grass bunkers are a serious challenge.

Often, the most overlooked aspect of golf are the Par 3 holes. The Pioneers par 3 holes range from the 135-yard, uphill No. 7 to the 185-yard No. 4 over a pond, to the 200-yard No. 13.  

The par 4, 300-yard 16th hole over a deep draw to a slight dogleg to the right may be the signature hole of the course. No two holes are identical.

Holmes, built in 1962, has views of downtown and the Capitol, and plays alongside Holmes Lake on the back nine. Big greens, hungry bunkers and the most elevation changes on the city courses make the Arnold Palmer-inspired course a favorite.

Often speedy greens and well-placed trees give more than enough to consider for any approach shot, especially on the par 4 No. 7 that requires the best of approaches.

Mahoney was built in 1975 and used to be a
relatively easy course—until the trees matured and the five par 3 holes grew into big, slick, well-protected greens.

Mahoney was once a slammer’s dream because a long tee shot in any direction was salvageable. That’s not the case anymore.

Lincoln’s newest city course, Highlands, has grown into a destination course. Located near the airport in northwest Lincoln, the links-style course has become a favorite in the area.

The longest course in the city. Highlands, has wide fairways and deep fescue roughs as well as rolling greens and plenty of bunkers and some water.

The privately-owned, public access course—Hidden Valley, award-winning Woodland Hills (near Eagle, about 20 minutes east of Lincoln), NuMark and Crooked Creek are appreciated by all skill levels of golfers.

If you have time for a 25-minute drive, you can get to Quarry Oaks, built around an old quarry near the Platte River. Iron Horse, just north and west of Quarry Oaks, has distinctive greens, water to clear and the daunting elevation changes throughout the 18-hole layout.

Add in Ashland Country Club, Country Drive Country Club, the Beatrice Country Club and College Heights Country Club, the famous nine-hole courses at Crete.

Got more time to drive and you can reach the courses in Omaha, the state’s best public course
in Wildhorse at Gothenburg, the very special courses at the Prairie Club in Omaha and, with permission, the best course in the state at Sandhills near Mullen

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