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.