A.H. Blank Golf Course on Des Moines’ south side is one of the three public golf courses owned by the city. Opened in 1971, it’s also the newest city course by a large margin, with Waveland and Grand View opening in 1901 and 1902, respectively. Its youth shows in its modern design, length, large greens, and various water hazards. Overall, Blank Golf Course is a highly satisfying city golf experience for a number of reasons. It’s a well-maintained course with properly trimmed fairways and rough, high-quality greens that play faster than most public courses, and practice amenities that rank among the best in the area.
Before getting into the facilities, however, let’s start with the course. If you’re playing Blank for the first time and peek at the scorecard (listed below), you might be taken aback by the course’s considerable length. The white and red tees, which most golfers will probably play, come in at a whopping 6,465 and 5,647 yards respectively. If you fancy playing the tips like I do on occasion, Blank is one of the longest courses in the city at 6,745 yards. While the added distance provides a great challenge for low-handicappers, it shouldn’t deter others from playing here. For the most part, the length is unevenly distributed on the front nine, which spans almost 300 yards longer than the back nine despite the fact that they are both par 36s. Also, some of the length comes on longer par 5s (3 of 4 are 530+ from the whites) rather than mammoth par 4s. Blank also has a Gold set of tees that check in at 5,872. If you’re wiling to swallow your pride in exchange for a more enjoyable round of golf, Blank’s Gold tees are a great option.
As far as course layout, Blank is fairly straightforward, but only occasionally boring. Its weakness is definitely its par 3s, none of which include any water, significant elevation changes, or unique greens or bunkers. Fortunately, they’re only four holes, and the rest of the layout is more than impressive enough to make up for their lackluster nature. I’m particularly fond of the par-5 9th hole (seen in the photo above). With water lining the right side, the hole turns right and goes uphill toward a green guarded by rough in front and several bunkers on the right. Longer hitters might dare to cut the corner and go straight over the water (its furthest tip is 265 to clear from the whites), but it’s worth considering a 3-wood or long iron placed safely in the fairway. Other fun holes include the 4th (par 4), 7th (par 5), 13th (par 4), and 18th (a short, exciting par 4 to end the round). Overall, Blank features mostly wide even fairways, large flat greens, and six ponds that come into play on at least 9 or 10 holes depending on how far you hit it off the tee.
Like Waveland, Blank is one of those courses where you probably want to get a cart, but not for the same reasons. Blank isn’t as hilly as Waveland, but rather features long treks between holes and a very spaced-out layout in general. Even holes that are close together are separated by trees, water, and undulations. The spacing improves the design of the course because each hole is able to sport its own identity, but it also makes the course a hike for walkers. I’m usually in favor of hoofing it, and have walked 18 at Blank in the past. It’s definitely possible if you’re used to walking difficult, long courses, but those who aren’t should proceed with caution. Luckily, Blank’s carts are equipped with top-notch GPS technology, featuring hole flyovers, drive distances, and lengths to different hole landmarks.
While I like to play Blank at least a couple times a year, the reason I make it down there the most is for its practice facilities. With an adequate driving range and a large practice green with plenty of surrounding rough for chipping and pitching, Blank is perhaps the best and most accessible golf practice area for south side and downtown-area residents. I live in the North of Grand neighborhood, and Blank is still my closest practice option since Waveland doesn’t have a driving range. Tokens to the range cost $4 and each token gets you about 30 balls. The range and putting green are also conveniently located right by the 1st tee, 10th tee, and clubhouse for easy access.
Blank’s high-quality facilities are also a bonus if you’re looking to host an event or wedding reception. A large ballroom can hold 250+ guests, and provides a nice view of the 18th hole. There is also a wraparound deck which overlooks the 18th green, putting green, and 1st tee. There’s even a pretty nice mini-golf course next to the parking lot, a great addition for families and kids too young for the real course. Overall, Blank is a very high-quality public city golf course, combining a well-maintained championship-length course with a quality practice area and clubhouse. If you’re looking for a new place to play and don’t mind going a little out of the way, Blank is a great public course you can play at a very reasonable price.
808 County Line Road
Des Moines, IA, 50315
$14.00 (9 holes w/o cart) or $18.00 (18 holes w/o cart)
BEFORE noon: $16.00 (9 holes) or $26.00 (18 holes)
AFTER noon: $14.00 (9 holes) or $18.00 (18 holes)
$11.00 (9 holes) or $14.00 (18 holes)
– Be sure also to check out their Tuesday special, where you can play 18 with a cart for just $25!
* based on posted rates for 7/28/13 – check official course site for current rates
Blank Practice Facilities, Clubhouse, and Surrounding Holes (#1 Tee, #10 Tee, and #9 Green)
(Click Any Image To Enlarge)
Had this putt for eagle!… Left it a foot short 🙁
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