Course History

Prairie Dunes was created by the Carey family of Hutchinson, who still enjoy membership at the club. The Careys were avid golfers and traveled around the country and around the world visiting and playing outstanding courses. In 1937, the Carey family commissioned Golf Course Architect Perry Maxwell to design a golf course that would compare favorably with the championship courses that the family had seen on their many golfing ventures. Maxwell designed a nine hole course in the sand hills east of Hutchinson that would generally be regarded as the best nine hole course in the country for twenty years. In the early 50's, Maxwell's son Press Maxwell built the back nine at Prairie Dunes, giving the membership the 18 hole course as it stands today. Prairie Dunes is now owned by the membership.

Maxwell reportedly walked the original 480 acre site for weeks before deciding where and how to construct the original nine holes. After his initial exploration, he is said to have stated, "there are 118 golf holes here...and all I have to do is eliminate 100." The original nine holes were built without the use of modern equipment. Teams of mules hauled soil to create the highly regarded "Maxwell rolls" that are prominent on the course today.

The sand hills, constant wind, prairie grasses and "links style" look of the golf course are chief characteristics of coastal courses and are very unique features to be found in the central part of the country.

Prairie Dunes is ranked 13th nationally by Golf Digest and 17th worldwide by Golf Magazine. The eighth hole has been recognized by Sports Illustrated as the best 8th hole in the country. Golf Magazine cites holes 8 and 10 as among the "Best 100 Holes in the U.S.". Prairie Dunes has been the site for many significant events, including the Curtis Cup Match (1986), the Trans-Miss Men's Amateur (1958, 1973, 1987, 1996), the U.S. Women's Amateur (1964, 1980, 1991), the U.S. Mid-Amateur (1988) and the U.S. Men's Senior Amateur (1995).

Honorary members at Prairie Dunes include: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Juli Inkster, Judy Bell, Amy Fruhwirth, Gardner Dickinson, Bruce Lietzke, Barbara McIntire, Dayul Donaldson, Ross Wilson and Johnny Miller.

U.S. Women's Open Home Page


Home - Press - Scoring - History - Course - Players - Guests - USGA

U.S. Open, U.S. Open Championship and United States Golf Association are
registered service marks of the United States Golf Association (USGA)

Copyright © 2002. United States Golf Association. All Rights Reserved
Use of this Web site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy