Ryan Vermeer held on to the PGA Professional Player of the Year title, and the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club will try in 2020 to be only the third to win the award three years in a row.
His 2019 season included a third straight Nebraska PGA Player of the Year award and making two cuts on the PGA Tour, including the PGA Championship. He broke the scoring record while winning a third Nebraska PGA Championship at ArborLinks.
In a news release, the 41-year-old Vermeer said last season had special “bookend moments” that raised his confidence. In events outside the Player of the Year standings, he won the TaylorMade National Championship in March at Pebble Beach and helped the United States recapture the PGA Cup in September.
“It’s been another awesome year on the golf course. My game held up pretty well considering I was playing in some high-level competition,” Vermeer said. “To be able to come back and win an award like this — once is incredible — but to win a second year in a row is something that not many have been able to do. I am extremely proud and honored to be able to do it.”
He’ll receive his award April 24 at the PGA Professional Championship in Austin, Texas.
CapRock Ranch update
Before the snows came, the new CapRock Ranch private club southwest of Valentine had 11 holes, the two practice greens and the range contoured and seeded.
Managing partner John Schuele of Omaha said of the seven holes remaining, three are par-3s.
“There’s not a whole lot left,’’ he said. “The fall was cool up there. It was a little interesting when we seeded late in the fall. We didn’t get as good of a grow-in as in nine falls out of 10. But the good news is we’ve had great snow cover.”
Schuele said Landscapes Unlimited of Lincoln and course architects Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner will return in June to finish up the shaping. Work on the maintenance facility and cart storage building is more than 50% completed, and construction of the cottages and clubhouse will begin in March. The targeted opening date is 2021.
Bright outlook at Dismal
With a near-tripling of its membership, Dismal River Golf Club near Mullen “has lots of good momentum,’’ Joel Jacobs said.
The club’s chief executive said the two 18-hole courses, the White by Jack Nicklaus and the Red by Tom Doak, have attracted 450 members from 30 states compared to 165 members three years ago when his investment group became Dismal’s fourth set of owners.
Golf Digest has the Red course among its top 140 courses in the U.S. Nicklaus, in a special Golf Magazine issue for his 80th birthday, lists the White in the top 16 among his 400 courses worldwide. Jacobs said more course raters have played Dismal the past couple of years.
“We know the product is incredible and is world class,’’ he said. “And we have people come in from all over the country that ask the same question: ‘Why is this not a world-renowned course?’ And having these conversations with some of the raters and getting feedback, we’ve seen additional traction.
“We probably care about being the best experience more than the rankings, but the rankings will come.”
The new owners have introduced free-range (turkey, deer), estate-hunt (buffalo, elk) and bird hunting along with fishing and shooting facilities, are sponsoring mentoring programs to expose area youth to hunting and are working with Pheasants Forever for habitat improvement. Clubhouse upgrades include a spa, exercise room and pool. Additional lodging is in the works, and Jacobs said corporate member retreats are part of the club’s 2020 plan.
Last year’s Pinnacle Bank Championship raised more than $120,000 for charity, pushing the Korn Ferry Tour tournament’s three-year giving total to youth-based programs to $252,000.
Tournament officials recently presented TeamMates, their charitable partner, with $30,000. The mentoring program started by Tom and Nancy Osborne has received $95,000 over the three years.
This year’s PBC will be almost two weeks later on the tour schedule, returning to Indian Creek July 30-Aug. 2.
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Happy Hollow Club will host the Nebraska Amateur in July, a week after Kearney Country Club greets the Nebraska Women’s Match Play Championship.
The schedule of major Nebraska Golf Association, Nebraska Women’s Amateur Golf Association and USGA events:
» Men’s Four Ball, April 25-26, Players Club, Omaha
» U.S. Open local qualifying, May 4, Beatrice Country Club
» Women’s Amateur, June 1-3, Country Club of Lincoln
» Senior Amateur, June 4-5, Norfolk Country Club
» Men’s Match Play, June 22-26, Hillcrest Country Club, Lincoln
» U.S. Amateur qualifying, July 13, Lochland Country Club, Hastings
» Women’s Four Ball, July 13-14, Tatanka Golf Club, Santee
» Women’s Match Play, July 20-22, Kearney Country Club
» Men’s Amateur, July 27-30, Happy Hollow Club, Omaha
» U.S. Senior Amateur qualifying, Aug. 3, Fremont Golf Club
» Women’s Senior Amateur, Aug. 3-5, Wayne Country Club
» U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying, Aug. 18, Shadow Ridge Country Club, Omaha
» Men’s Mid-Amateur, Aug. 29-30, Awarii Dunes, Axtell
» Men’s Senior Match Play, Sept. 14-16, York Country Club
» U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifying, Oct. 5, Firethorn Golf Club, Lincoln
The Nebraska 100: Our greatest athletes
The Nebraska 100, originally selected in 2005 and then updated and re-ranked in 2015, came from a pool of nearly 500 names from the ranks of high school, college, amateur and professional sports from the past 140 years. Assistance came from a panel of veteran sports observers from across the state, with the newspaper's sports staff determining the final rankings.