Ohiya Casino Resort to open Tatanka Golf Club this year

By |  January 26, 2015 0 Comments

The Ohiya Casino Resort of the Santee Sioux Nation is developing Tatanka Golf Club, which is scheduled to open this year. “Tatanka” is a Lakota word that translates to “buffalo.”

Golf course designer Paul Albanese has designed the club. 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 says. The land features rolling hills and ridges with views that stretch for more than 30 to 40 miles.

Ron Whitten, architecture editor for Golf Digest, described it as “Nebraska Sandhills with trees,” in his 2014 sneak peak of Best New Courses.

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,” he says. “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.”

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 says. “In beginning our process, myself, shapers, construction people… We all learned the stories. 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 include the great buffalo. With 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.”

Ohiya Casino Resort was the first casino in Nebraska, and was developed almost 17 years ago.

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