The Takeaway: The tale of two nines, the front nine features huge elevation changes before embarking on the mostly flat back nine. The closing holes on each side highlight the course while the thick rough will make you think you are auditioning for the U.S. Open. Grade B
Designer: William Langford and Theodore Moreau 1924
Phone Number: 402-391-3559
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Happy Hollow Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 1701 S 105th St, Omaha, Nebraska 68124 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Happy Hollow is a family country club in Omaha and is a classic example of the tale of two nines; the super hilly front nine followed by the nearly flat back nine. The front nine will draw natural comparisons to Omaha Country Club with the constant movement in terrain but OCC manages to execute it better overall with more compelling architecture, bunkering, and overall conditions. That being said, the front nine is still easily the more compelling side of the course to play with some dramatic shots. The course features a classic country club setting with grass encompassing the entire property and trees lining every hole so there is little question where you are asked to play your ball to. The impressive palatial clubhouse creates the backdrop for the closing hole of each nine and compliments the dramatic tee shots and approach shots those holes offer. If you have aspirations of playing in the U.S. Open, you can have your own lite version of it at Happy Hollow each time you leave the fairway and find the thick rough that compares with what you contend with at Winged Foot and Bethpage Black, so keeping it in the short grass is imperative. In the end, Happy Hollow is a solid offering but struggles to stand out among the best courses in Nebraska; especially considering how impressive golf has become in the Cornhusker State since Sand Hills burst onto the scene in 1995 and introduced the world to the fantastic terrain and sandy soil available there.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 18th Hole – 445 Yard Par 4 – The 18th provides an impressive visual for the home hole with the clubhouse taking a commanding place in the backdrop. The tee shot plays 40 feet downhill before ascending back uphill to the greensite that sits higher than the tee box. The fairway bunkers are a new addition to the hole and provide some strategic elements to compliment the aesthetics they offer. The approach shot plays to a challenging green that slopes hard from back to front on the left side of the putting surface while the back right shelf is more manageable but is protected by a trio of bunkers you want nothing to do with. Walking off the 18th with a par is an impressive accomplishment.
Best Par 3: 8th Hole – 230 Yards – The front nine of Happy Hollow features huge elevation swings and the 8th has that terrain on full display. The tee shot plays 40 feet downhill to a large green with a bunker on the left side and a smaller bunker paired with a pond on the right. A fade that starts at the left side of the green and fades to the center of the putting surface is a perfect shot to execute no matter where the pin is.
Best Par 4: 7th Hole – 333 Yards – An exciting hole to take advantage of, the dogleg left 7th can be played aggressively with driver as long as your tee ball keeps right of the three bunkers ascending up the left side. Laying up simply requires hitting a 200 yard tee ball that stays short of the sand and sets up nicely for an uphill approach that ascends 40 feet to a green surface that is challenging to see given the rise in elevation. Bold tee shots can be rewarded, but there is no reason to risk a bogey here when par should be in the bag.
Best Par 5: 12th Hole – 551 Yards – The 12th hole is all about the second shot. The tee shot plays to a bunkerless fairway and then asks players to contend with a creek that carves across the fairway 100 yards short of the green. Stay short of it and you'll need to try and keep it out of your head on the third shot, but if you try to fly it with your second shot you'll need to make sure your ball doesn't find the bunker on the right or sand pit further up on the left before reaching the green. The subtle undulations in the putting surface stand as a final defense that can catch the unsuspecting golfer off guard.
Birdie Time: 5th Hole – 474 Yard Par 5 – A well executed drive will give players the green light to attack this green in two and a fantastic opportunity to throw a birdie on the card. Langford and Moreau aren't going to let you off too easily though as the fairway tightens down to 20 yards in the driving zone beyond the fairway bunkers and between the large oak trees. The left side of the green features an opening in which balls can be bound in from, but most players will use that as their line and hope to hit a fade that lands the ball in the fat part of the green. Keep it out of the three greenside bunkers and birdie is all but in the bag.
Bogey Beware: 2nd Hole – 446 Yard Par 4 – Players may feel that Happy Hollow is an oxymoron for a name after stepping up to the second hole and instantly feeling pain. The ideal tee shot stays just left of the fairway bunkers on the right side that are ready to catch wayward drives and snatch any hope of par from the player. The approach shot then plays 25 feet uphill to a nasty green with a five foot tier in it that reduces the effective landing area considerably. If you get on the top tier and are putting to a front pin, you should bring your wedge with you because you likely will find yourself chipping after the ball scoots off the front edge of the green. Add on top of it that this hole often plays into the wind and you have the makings for a bogey or worse right off the bat.