Magical Golf, Magical Setting

By Jeff Wendel






Amana Colonies Golf Club opened for play in 1989. Carved from a 500-acre white oak forest, this 18-hole championship golf course design conforms beautifully to the natural setting. Diverse wildlife and panoramic views from breathtaking elevation changes make the experience magical. The course accommodates players of all skill levels with five sets of tees ranging from 5,228 to 6,824 yards. Amana Colonies Golf Club is consistently ranked as one of the top courses in Iowa.

General Manager/Director of Golf Stephen Kahler, PGA, has an excellent vision for Amana Colonies GC. Kahler and Golf Course Superintendent Reid Pickering, GCSAA, are focused on constantly improving course conditions and providing a top-notch experience and unsurpassed customer service. Kahler began managing the operation in 2016, starting with constructing a new clubhouse. That project took only two months. Plans for a completely new clubhouse are in the final stages, with construction beginning this year. The new clubhouse will include a banquet facility and provide all the amenities players expect from a destination golf course.

Kahler says, “Over the past seven years, we have made a concentrated effort to make this golf course more user-friendly for the average player.” That includes nearly constant tree work, emphasizing tree pruning and removal based on tree and health. Coupled with removing forest undergrowth (bushes, shrubs, and small trees that grow beneath large trees), the pruning and tree removal allows for drier, more playable fairways, improved airflow, and vastly improved sight lines. Planned future improvements include a new pump station and irrigation this year, with annual cart path improvement and bunker renovation beginning in 2024.

The Course

My advice for navigating Amana Colonies Golf Course is simple. First, play from the set of tees that suit your skill level. The back tees present a stern challenge; the forward tees are benevolent. Finally, spend some time on the practice green; the greens are fast and smooth, and a little practice will dramatically benefit your round.

The front nine par four holes present significant elevation changes. Choose enough club on holes with an elevated green. Holes #4 and #8 are gorgeous par 3’s. Both par 3’s are well guarded by bunkers. The par 5 second hole is a dogleg left, then back right to the green. #6 is the other par 5 on the front. The hole plays relatively straight but favor the left side from the tee to avoid a steep drop right of the cart path.

The back nine has ever-present changes in elevation. The even-numbered holes are all par 4’s. #10 has a narrow approach.  Favor the right side of the fairway on #12. #16 is a dogleg left. #13 and #17 are par 3’s, the 17th features a diabolical green and is my favorite hole on the course. The finishing hole has an amazing uphill approach shot.

Every hole on Amana Colonies golf course is memorable. But honestly, you have to see it to believe it!

Stay and Play

The new hotel Millwright hosts Stay and Play packages with Amana Colonies Golf Course. The boutique hotel combines modern sustainability with a rich history. Visit for more information. You can view current stay-and-play packages at:

Beautiful surroundings + destination golf course + fantastic staff and management = magical in every way.