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

An esteemed heartland course that’s 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 be the host site for the 2029 U.S. Senior Open and 2032 U.S. 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 10th time the Perry Maxwell treasure will host a USGA Championship, although 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 championships officer. “We know that Prairie Dunes, its surrounding community and the entire state of Kansas will be thoroughly engaged in hosting the best senior players from around the world. In addition, Prairie Dunes remains committed in its support of both amateur and professional competition.”

The private club’s layout dates to a 1937 design by Maxwell, one of the most underappreciated 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 crumpled land into fascinating playing ground that had to be interpreted and negotiated. Prairie Dunes, 55 miles northwest of Wichita and with a very modest membership, originally was only a nine-hole course; its routing was expanded 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, winning 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’s routinely ranked highly. In fact, it was recently ranked the top private golf course in Kansas by Golfweek’s Best 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 U.S. Women’s Amateur was played in Hutchinson. Also, Prairie Dunes was the venue for a Curtis Cup, a U.S. Mid-Amateur and a U.S. Senior Amateur.

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

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

Four years later, the United States Golf Association returned to Hutchinson for the U.S. Senior Open at Prairie Dunes. Allen Doyle snagged his second consecutive championship with a two-stroke win over native Kansan Tom Watson. Doyle also held off the likes of longtime tour staples Bruce Lietzke and Peter Jacobsen.

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

Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play 2023: State-by-state rankings for public-access layouts

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