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Opened in 1995, Sand Hills Golf Club near Mullen, Neb., is the granddaddy of all remote destination courses. Two-time Masters champ Ben Crenshaw and design partner Bill Coore saw 130 golf holes in those sand hills five hours away from a major city and built 18 that have been ranked as the best modern course in America.

Others that have followed, often providing hunting and fishing as well for an exclusive, private membership:

  • Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club in eastern Colorado.
  • Dismal River Club near Sand Hills in Mullen, Neb.
  • The Prairie Club near Valentine, Neb., is semi-private and features a Tom Lehman design as one of its two 18-hole courses.
  • Sutton Bay on the shores of the Missouri River and Lake Oahe in South Dakota.
  • Sand Valley in Wisconsin, where the king of public destination golf Mike Keiser with Bandon Dunes in Oregon now is adding the private Lido Club to three public courses.
  • The Harvester in Rhodes, Iowa, not far from Des Moines and Ames, went private after opening in 2001 as a public daily-fee course.

Also planned: private GrayBull and CapRock Ranch in western Nebraska, and public Landmane in northeastern Nebraska.