Prestigious Perry and Press Maxwell design in Kansas to host two more USGA Championships

A prized heartland course that has hosted several top golf tournaments in the past is back in the USGA rotation after an announcement Tuesday that it will host a pair of future championships.

Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, will host the 2029 US Senior Open and the 2032 US Senior Women’s Open, the USGA announced. Hosting high-profile events is nothing new for the course, as these tournaments will mark the ninth and tenth times the Perry Maxwell treasure has hosted a USGA Championship, though the last came in 2006.

“The USGA is pleased to reunite with Prairie Dunes Country Club and continue what has been a long and mutually beneficial partnership that began nearly 60 years ago,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA chief championship officer. “We know that Prairie Dunes, its surrounding community and the entire state of Kansas will be thoroughly committed to hosting the best senior players from around the world. In addition, Prairie Dunes remains committed to its support of both amateur and professional competition.”

The private club’s layout dates back to a 1937 design by Maxwell, one of the most underrated of the Golden Age designers. The native Oklahoman was famous for his inventive greens contours — “Maxwell’s rolls,” as they were called — and for shaping rumpled land into fascinating playgrounds to be interpreted and negotiated. Prairie Dunes, 85 miles northwest of Wichita and with a very modest membership, was originally just a nine-hole course; its route was extended by Perry’s son, J. Press Maxwell, in 1957.

In 1958, Jack Nicklaus made one of his first marks on the national golf scene at Prairie Dunes, wins the Trans Mississippi Men’s Amateur in Hutchinson. Since Nicklaus captured that championship, Prairie Dunes has hosted marquee events regularly. The course’s reputation has grown and it is routinely highly ranked. In fact, it was recently ranked the best private golf course in Kansas by the Golfweek’s top state-by-state rankings and it is No. 11 on Golfweek’s best list of classic courses built before 1960.

Prairie Dunes has hosted five Trans-Mississippi Amateurs. Three times (most recently in 1991) the US Women’s Amateur was played in Hutchinson. Prairie Dunes was also the site of a Curtis Cup, a US Mid-Amateur and a US Senior Amateur.

Juli Simpson Inkster with the trophy after winning the 1980 US Women’s Amateur Championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas. (Copyright unknown/Courtesy USGA Archives)

In 2002, Prairie Dunes landed the 57th US Women’s Open. Hall of Fame golfer Juli Inkster etched her name on the trophy for the second time that year when she topped the legendary Annika Sorenstam by two strokes. Inkster was no stranger to Prairie Dunes either. Twenty-two years before, Inkster captured the 1980 US Women’s Amateur in Hutchinson.

Four years later, the United States Golf Association returned to Hutchinson for the US Senior Open at Prairie Dunes. Allen Doyle earned his second straight championship with a two-stroke victory over native Kansan Tom Watson. Doyle also held back, as e.g. longtime tourers Bruce Lietzke and Peter Jacobsen.

The Hutchinson club also hosted the 2014 NCAA Men’s Championship, which was won by the Alabama Crimson Tideand hosted the Big 12 Championship for the 13th time last spring.

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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