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Golf in the Nebraska Sand Hills: The Next Mecca for Golf Paperback – November 19, 2012
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The star of this book *should* have been the world-renowned Sand Hills Golf Club, but Kratz saw fit to include only two low-resolution, 3½" x 5" pictures of part of the course. Worse, most of his research on Sand Hills was second- or third-hand. Almost no descriptions of playing the course are included. Kratz even wasted one chapter summarizing where Sand Hills ranks in other people's "best of" lists.
Instead, Kratz spent most of his time on Dismal River, the club where he is obviously a member and about which he attempted to wax poetic. Kratz even wasted eight pages on how five-time Open champion Tom Watson had staked out a preliminary plan for a second course. After five paragraphs, he finally revealed that the design job went to Tom Doak, instead. Talk about bait-and-switch!
Similarly, the author apparently could not be bothered to travel to the Prairie Club in Valentine or Ballyneal near Holyoke, Colorado. Virtually all of the information about those course comes second-hand, although Kratz was at least smart enough to include photography by Mark Adamson (Prairie Club) and Dick Durrance II (Ballyneal).
Kratz apparently did not want to be caught dead slumming at several excellent public-access courses across the region. He managed to grind out four very insufficient paragraphs about Wild Horse in Gothenburg, but with no original research or even an interview with architects Dan Axland and Dave Proctor. Not surprisingly, the author also ignored Axland and Proctor's Bayside Golf Course near Brule, Jeffrey Brauer's Highlands GC in Lincoln, and Jim Engh's Awarii Dunes near Axtell.
The author clearly attempted to edit his own book, because the writing is stilted in some places, while some amateurish misspellings made it into print ("Jack Nichlaus" on page 147). Kratz's own photography from Dismal River was reasonable in a couple of places, but completely irrelevant and very badly executed in others.
Do *not* spend $30 on this book, period. If you can find it used for $5 to $10, then it would be an interesting curiousity as far as Dismal River is concerned. Simply put, Dean Kratz is the Barack Obama of golf writers.