In the late 1950’s, Jim McDonald, owner of a multi-state chain of department stores, had the vision to create the finest private golf and country club between Omaha and Denver. Over 50 years later, Jim’s vision continues to thrive.
With a personal investment of more than $500,000, McDonald purchased a farm owned by the Hohlen family and built what is now known as Lochland Country Club. The unique name of the club was suggested by a friend in honor of Jim’s Scottish roots, and because Jim had constructed two beautiful lakes on the property.
More than 250 individuals signed on as charter members when ground was broken in the spring of 1960. By December 1961, the clubhouse was finished, appointed in Scottish décor.
The course was designed by noted Chicago golf course architect, David Gill. McDonald brought in legendary golf pro and teacher, Harry Orbitz, as the club’s golf advisor. The original nine holes opened in 1962, with the second nine completed in 1964.
On February 1, 1967, McDonald sold the club to its membership for $150,000. Lochland Country Club was now a member-owned club with Jerry Whelan (soon to be Nebraska’s Lieutenant Governor) as its first President.
During the following decades, Lochland’s reputation grew as a premiere golf and country club in out-state Nebraska, in large part due to the loyalty and commitment of its membership. That commitment was demonstrated when the new clubhouse was built after the original was destroyed by fire on June 23, 2000.
Other notable events in Lochland’s history include the renovation of the swimming pool and tennis courts in 2008-2009. The original pool was removed in the fall of 2008. A four-lane pool with zero entry, water features, diving board and slide opened in May of 2009. The new facility included new tables, chairs, loungers, more deck space and a baby pool with water features. In addition to the swimming pool and tennis court renovations, funds were also used to correct drainage issues on the course during this time.
After years of planning, the Green Committee and Board approved Project Emerald. Project Emerald was an ambitious project, seven years in the planning, that included reseeding all greens, fairways, and tee boxes with newer grass varieties, complete reconstruction of bunkers, and redesign of selected tee boxes, hazards, and landing areas. After closing the course during the fall of 2015 for the project, the course reopened for play in April 2016.