Ohiya Casino Resort Develops Tatanka in Nebraska

Niobrara, NE – The word Tatanka is a Lakota word that translates to buffalo, and the great buffalo will forever remain a part of the historic culture in northeast Nebraska.

The Ohiya Casino Resort of the Santee Sioux Nation plans for Tatanka to become synonymous with great golf there as well.

Golf course designer Paul Albanese has designed and is developing the new Tatanka Golf Club, which is scheduled to open in 2015. Seeding of the course was recently completed.

“This is easily one of the nicest pieces of property I have ever been involved with, and it has been incredibly interesting,” Albanese said regarding the land that features bold movements of rolling hills and ridges with views that stretch for more than 30-40 miles.

Ron Whitten, architecture editor for Golf Digest, described it as; “Nebraska’s Sandhills with trees,” as he included it among a group of sneak peaks in his listing of Best New Courses in 2014.

During the construction, Albanese researched the history and culture of the Sioux Nation in order to incorporate cultural stories into the design. With each creation of a fairway, green and bunker his team would discuss ideas presented by the Sioux Nation.

“We took the history and the culture of the area and the Sioux Nation, and used it as a design inspiration in a subtle and respectful way.”

“We looked at the land forms and designed something that might reflect local stories. For instance, how a certain mountain looked and got its name would be the kind of thing we tried to incorporate. I remember a story about a medicine woman we used as inspiration.”

In his research of the culture, area and natural landforms, Albanese found the Sioux have a great respect for nature.

“I knew then we had to blend the golf course into the natural surroundings,” he said. “In beginning our process, myself, shapers, construction people, we all learned the stories. Some of the bunkers, though they may not literally look like something from a story, they were made with that story in mind. We looked at the clouds. We looked at the rocks, trees, all the natural surroundings and made the golf course fit there as if it belonged. One hole, inspired by a spiritual story, has a spirit bunker shaped after thinking about the story. It’s all very subtle, but impactful I feel to those who live there.”

Many of the stories, of course, include the great buffalo. In this, Albanese opted for literal interpretation. In some fenced in spaces very close to the golf course, great buffalo roam.

“You can actually hit a tee shot and have buffalo 20 feet from you,” Albanese said. “We were very careful on where and how we routed the golf holes close to the buffalo, but we felt it was important to have them within the course to be true to the culture of the area.”

The resort decided upon a golf course as part of an expansion to give visitors a reason to stay longer. Albanese expects there will be an economic impact on the area in jobs and increased tourism.

“This is a template used by other Native American tribes with casinos,” Albanese said. “They use the golf to create a destination resort, more of a weekend trip instead of a simple visit to the casino. Take a break from gaming, and play golf, that kind of thing.”

The finished design is unique, each hole is different and memorable and each hole is named and derived from a different story from the Sioux culture. For Albanese it wasn’t as big a transition from his design work as some people might think.

“We try to get into all the stories and backgrounds that reflect the owners of the courses we design and build,” Albanese said. “Then we try to reflect those in the design.”

Ohiya Casino Resort was the first casino in Nebraska, and was developed almost 17 years ago. It continues to be an ideal entertainment destination for those seeking excitement across the upper Midwest in northeast Nebraska, southwest Minnesota, southeast South Dakota, and northwest Iowa.

It is located just a few minutes east of Niobrara, NE, and it offers a modern casino with high payouts, bingo, multiple dining options, comfortable hotel rooms, events and entertainment, and now world-class and inspired golf, too. Tatanka will soon stand for great golf as well.

Visit http://www.ohiyacasino.com.

Golf writer Dan Jenkins to receive Old Tom Morris Award from Golf Course Superintendents Association

Lawrence, Kan. (Oct. 28, 2014) – Dan Jenkins, one of a handful of writers in the World Golf Hall Fame and someone who covered each of the sport’s major championships for more than 60 years, will be the recipient of the 2015 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Jenkins will receive the award Feb. 25 at the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta, of the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. The award has been presented annually since 1983 to an individual, who through a lifetime commitment to the game of golf, has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris. Morris, a four-time British Open winner, was the longtime superintendent at St. Andrews in Scotland until his death in 1908. Some of the past winners include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Ken Venturi, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam.

In addition to writing about golf for the last 30 years in his own biting, honest and often hilarious prose for Sports Illustrated and now Golf Digest, Jenkins has also published more than a dozen books, with his most famous being the football-themed “Semi-Tough” in 1972, to this year’s “His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir.”

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, where he still lives, Jenkins, 84, began covering sports while he was still at Texas Christian University, before graduation, and the 1951 Masters was his first golf major. The 1951 U.S. Open later that year remains one of his most memorable, as legendary Ben Hogan shot a final round 67 at tough Oakland Hills (Mich.) Country Club to win.

“There are few in the media who have ever written more compellingly about golf than Dan Jenkins,” said Keith Ihms, CGCS, GCSAA president. “Through his words, we have all felt closer to the greats of the game. We are thrilled to present Dan with the Old Tom Morris Award.”

Jenkins has covered all the greats: Hogan, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. He has also known almost everyone who has mattered in sports, including Bear Bryant and Howard Cosell.

“I’m honored to win this award, especially named for a guy who I’m almost as old as,” Jenkins quipped in reference to Old Tom Morris. “It’s terrific. I didn’t know a lot about grass, but I knew a lot of superintendents all around town. The profession has made a lot of progress. Courses nowadays are so consistently wonderful with all the things they can do with them.”

Jenkins won his first writing award from the Golf Writers Association of America in 1957 while working for the Fort Worth Press and has been a frequent winner ever since. He earned the GWAA’s William Richardson Award in 2005 for his contribution to golf.

His friend and golf writer colleague Jaime Diaz put it simply and best in addressing why Jenkins has won so many awards: “He has more talent than the other guys, just like Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods.”

Even upon his World Golf Hall of Fame induction in 2012, when he joined fellow Texans Hogan and Nelson, Jenkins couldn’t resist offering a sample of his engaging and entertaining style.

“There aren’t many writers in here,” he said. “It’s a small group, and I’m pleased to be part of it. I’d follow Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson anywhere.”

Jenkins follows Nelson, along with other golf legends such as Palmer and Nicklaus as a recipient of GCSAA’s highest honor, but this time he leads the way as the first member of the media to receive the Old Tom Morris Award.

About GCSAA and the EIFG

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at http://www.gcsaa.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at http://www.eifg.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.