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Craguns 2017

Travel Club
July 22, 2017

Bos Landen - The Hawkeye Has Landed

In case you didn't know, for a consecutive four-year period (from 1997-2001) Bos Landen was the greatest golf course in the state of Iowa. THE greatest. (According to Golf Digest.) That recognition wasn't just given to it. It was earned. The same way the Harvester has earned it now. An amazing property, with glossy picture worthy conditions, an energetic staff, and a playing field everyone wanted to take 80 to 100 swings on. Bos Landen deserved the praise. The more things changed though, the less they stayed the same. They still "earned" 4 Stars from Golf Digest as a "Place to Play" in 2007 but, at that point, it was more a case of the prestigious publication covering their own rear than it was issuing a compliment. This property should have been a legitimate contender for best in state every year since 2001, not because of whoever's ranking's say-so, but because everyone and their mother knew it was capable of being so. That's what hurt. That's what was so hard to understand. What in the world happened? Why wasn't Bos Landen even a Top 5 course in the state anymore?

Let's stop right there. Who's saying it isn't? Definitely not us. History is important, but it doesn't speak to the present. Bring Golf Digest back. Bos Landen is making a strong return to form. Those of you who have read this publication the past couple years are likely familiar with our insistence of this fact. If you've checked it out then you know why we're trying to retrain the spotlight on golf in South Central Iowa, Pella to be precise.

Bos Landen is a prime example of success having gone to someone's head. That much is true. The former owners took the gift that was given to them and looked the horse in the mouth. Complacency kills and it murdered this course. Laziness took superior conditions, beautiful scenery, and an expansive fan base, and let it turn to mush, brush and distrust. Golfers fled, poor reviews were written and read. The owners didn't feel like reinvesting in what had once been a local "golfmine"... so they put it up for sale. It took current owner, Scott Reuter, one tour and a passion fueled creative vision to see underneath the worn and torn surface to what Bos Landen used to be. And, since the purchase, he and his wife, with assistance from their marvelous staff, have been scraping, shaving, boring out and restoring every nook and cranny, deep crevice and little crack on the property.

They've pulled deeply from their own pockets, asking former regulars and current visitors only to invest trust in what they promised "The Bos" would be again. Low cost, high value rates led the Iowa golf scene to take note. Amazing new dining opportunities, (at the Grille on the Green) an innovative chef, a lively warm clubhouse atmosphere with personable staff, and a green thumbs crew of course maintenance engineers who shared their passion, began to lead the Iowa golf scene back. They cleaned out overgrown areas, focused on turf maintenance, and made the course more playable and fair, and reviewers started to return welcome words. Skepticism begat credibility, and cautious optimism begat unrestrained praise. The Reuters took the "Poison" and gave "Something to Believe In." (Hair band flashback.) Ask Scott, "It's been a long time coming, but we've believed all along. We didn't know if people would give us a chance, but we knew if they would, they definitely wouldn't be disappointed."

And speaking of would... or wood... a neighborly outlier to Des Moines' city limits, this "Land of the Woods" rests comfortably on 190 less-heavily wooded acres of deer and wildlife homes. Deep green widened fairways launch off level tee boxes, curving and cascading throughout to smooth, balanced greens. The course ranges in length from 5,100 to 7,000 yards, with 5 sets of tees giving everyone, and their mother, an opportunity to score well and relax weller. (Word? Perhaps not, but it fit.)

Enjoy the warm-up on the first hole, because the design races off from there. Careening over the hill and rapidly down to the green at #2 you get a glimpse, to the right, of the par 3 plummet you're about to take, and the ricochet ride provided by the river-ripped penultimate target hole (tee shot and approach) 4th. The back takes your eventual familiarity with tree-lined landscapes and blows it wide-open with a series of links holes from 11 to 13, around a gorgeous pond. And then you dive back into the namesake's natural habitat, on what many consider Bos Landen's signature hole, the Black Diamond imitating ski-run sloped 14th. What a ride! 16 and 18 give you two more beautiful holes, two more favorites, on your way in. And then, heart still racing, you know you're home. Unapologetically, let me just say, "I told you so!"

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