Prairie Green Golf Course (Sioux Falls, SD on 05/27/17)

Well, I figured if I played early on Saturday I’d have no trouble making it to the wedding! Prairie Green was 10 minutes from where we were staying and they said they’d be able to get me out around sunrise, no problem. That’s all I needed to hear, and I got there just after 6am! Yep, that’s the earliest round that I can recall having in years! I saw a single a couple holes ahead, but no other golfers until I returned to the clubhouse. I played in 2.5 hours and certainly can see the luster of playing so early, which isn’t my thing.

The forecast called for showers and sure enough, on the 5th hole it started to spit rain. It was never really heavy, but just enough to get everything wet, cause me to put on the rain gear, and be an annoyance! The rain never fully let up until mid morning, after my round. But much better for it to rain during my round than during the outdoor wedding that evening!

Although my main reason for playing Prairie Green was that they opened for play at 6am, an added benefit was that I’d get to play one of the top public golf courses in South Dakota. Prairie Green is currently ranked among the top five public courses in the state by a major golf magazine. I know, I know you are probably thinking there have to be just five courses in the state! Truth be told, I spent 10 minutes searching online to find how many courses are in South Dakota. And, I was unsuccessful! I don’t think anyone would object when I say that most of the good golf in South Dakota is located in the western part of the state, near the Black Hills. I played Red Rock in 2012 during my move to Virginia and can confirm that it is in a scenic area.

So, South Dakota isn’t a hotbed for golf, but I wouldn’t mind coming back one day to play out here again. There is just something about how well the grass grows! I don’t know if the ground being snow covered during the winter helps, or if the bent grass thrives at these temperatures but the conditions at all the courses I played were very good. Prairie Green was no exception! The greens here had ball marks, but other than that they were full and cut short. The mowers were out cutting the greens while I was playing so I got some inconsistent speeds. Some greens rolled quicker than others, but had I played a couple hours later they would have been fairly speedy. The fairways weren’t quite as lush here (with some thinner lies and different grasses) compared to the other two courses that I played in the area.  It was almost impossible for me to square the face from the rough, I was trying to get enough club on it to get it near the green! For the $35 early bird rate, it was a good value!

Well, I’m disappointed to say that the design didn’t quite live up to the hype. I know the rain and the fact that a mower chased me around most of the front nine didn’t help my enjoyment of the course. But, Prairie Green is routed through a community and around some wetlands, on mostly flat terrain. It isn’t exactly the best property in Sioux Falls for a course, at least compared to my prior two course experiences. All the holes, except for a stretch to start the back nine seemed the same to me! My miss is typically right and I swear there is so much trouble off to the right here! Basically, it seemed that there was out of bounds and houses to the left and then hazards to the right, on each hole. I’m exaggerating some, however the holes felt very repetitive.

The couple highlights from the course are the green complexes and the par 3’s. The green complexes have just enough mounding around them to make you dream up the shot you want to hit while not being excessive. Slopes feed to certain pins and there were different ways to get to various pin locations. Too often I play courses where the mounding kicks shots away from the target, but around these greens you can get some good bounces if you know what you want to do. The mounding is well done at Prairie Green. There are chipping areas and grass bunkers around the greens too, which allowed for some chipping recovery. For reference I played the championship tees which are 73.1/125/6667.

While all the par 3’s play between 149 and 169 yards, I thought three of the four par 3’s were very good! I liked the 2nd, the 11th, and the 16th. The 2nd green is shallower on the right side and deeper on the left, but those parts are separated by a large ridge. Unknowing, I missed it on the wrong side of the ridge and was thrilled to two putt! The 11th is 157 yards and plays about half a club downhill over water. The water will grab shots short and right, but missing left leaves a downhill chip from the mounds. By far, the 11th is best hole on the course! And for whatever reason, the 16th just looked good to me as it plays over some wetlands that don’t really come into play.

From the three courses that I played while in Sioux Falls I’d put The Falls at the top, Willow Run in the middle, and Prairie Green at the bottom. Prairie Green has plenty of playable features including large fairways, but I never got comfortable and struggled. Like just about every course, you can check it out and make up your own mind!

#1 (415 yard par 4):

#2 (149 yard par 3):

#3 (540 yard par 5):

#4 (390 yard par 4):

#5 (344 yard par 4):

#6 (519 yard par 5):

#7 (375 yard par 4):

#8 (168 yard par 3):

#9 (417 yard par 4):

#10 (427 yard par 4):

#11 (157 yard par 3):

#12 (397 yard par 4):

#13 (545 yard par 5):

#14 (334 yard par 4):

#15 (533 yard par 5):

#16 (169 yard par 3):

#17 (366 yard par 4):

#18 (422 yard par 4):

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *