If you are heading north by northwest from Omaha, one rural town on your way is Norfolk, Nebraska. Like many towns in northeastern Nebraska, Norfolk, formerly “North Fork,” was a village settled by Europeans and Americans in the 19th century. Norfolk is an industrial town and a railroad town. Before “the West” was “the West,” there were towns like Norfolk which help build our country. In terms of golf, the quality of courses isn’t as rich as the town’s history, but a highlight is surely Eldorado Hills.
Located in the middle of town, Eldorado Hills is surrounded by nice residential and business areas. After your round of golf, there are many family-type restaurants around, like Prenger’s, but if you want to, the Eldorado campus houses a lounge with food. Check out Eldorado Hills’ Web site for more information.
The clubhouse: With an onsite lounge which serves food, one can complete the round with food and drink without venturing far. The pro shop has few items for sale, like shoes and Eldorado Hills apparel, but the selection is a bit limited as far as actual “golf” equipment and supplies. With the lounge, the building is spacious, yet comfy.
The staff: The staff in the pro shop and snack bar is friendly, which is indicative of the town it is located in. The course’s superintendent, Kevin Bruening, keeps the tees, fairways, and greens in top shape. The course is open to the public, but is listed as a “semi-private” course. There is a country club feel to the place, but the public is surely welcomed by all staff members.
The course: Playing nearly 6,800 yards from the tips, the course provides a test for all golfers- especially those who are a bit wild off the tee. Par 3s are demanding and require mid-to-long iron shots, if not hybrids from the back tees. Par 4s are average in length (380 yards), but some stretch much further than that. The 4th and 7th holes measure at least 440 from the back and most Par 4s have a bit of bendiness to them. One par 5 is short (No. 18, 456 yards), another is average (No. 6, 509). The other two average over 615 yards from the blues with No. 16 measuring 658 yards (Driver, 3-wood, 6 iron for me). The bent grass tees and greens are very nice, but areas outside the fairways tends to be better for goats than golfers and is a bit gnarly at times. Many mid-irons must be hit into the par 3s and on second shots into the 4s, so make sure you’ve got them under control or you’ll be scrambling all day. Take advantage of the shorter par 4s and 5s because there are some really testy ones to follow. Of the courses I’ve played in Norfolk, or the area in general, Eldorado ranks at or near the top of the list as far as quality, difficulty, and aesthetic value.
The value: During the week, it costs $35 to ride 18, which is average or a little above for this course in this area. The weekends are a bit more, but the overall value is good given the quality of the course. Food and drink is reasonably priced as well. Compared to joining the country club in Norfolk, the membership options here are probably a bit better given the quality of the course and the fact that a restaurant is on site. Compared to other public courses in the area, value is average, but quality is higher at Eldorado Hills.
Overall, if you are in or around Norfolk, this is a must play. The greens are true, the course is mature and relatively beautiful. The pace of play was great (3.5 hours for 18) and compares very favorably to golfing experiences in bigger places like Omaha and Lincoln. If you are a walker, know this: there are two or three times where you will walk a fairly long distance between holes. One instance, in my estimation, provides a quarter-mile walk between the green and the next tee. I would recommed biting the bullet and paying for a cart when playing Eldorado. Other than that bit of bad news for walkers, the overall experience at Eldorado is wonderful.
Check out my other reviews for Omaha area courses in the suggested links box below.