The Golf Club at Red Rock – South Dakota

The guys from the wine bar recommended we play golf at Red Rock in Rapid City which is about 45 minutes from Deadwood where we were now staying. Apart from Spearfish Canyon Country Club there are only a few 9 hole courses in the Spearfish / Deadwood area so we thought why not.

Steve called and booked us in and the guy on the other end of the phone also a Steve said it would be USD75 each including a cart. When we arrived on the Monday morning for our tee time, Steve from the golf club remembered Steve’s phone call and said they actually had a special on – USD69 for both of us including a cart – bargain!

The course is set in a fairly new subdivision with some nice houses. It was very up and down with some great elevated tees. Steve from the golf shop had warned us that there can be rattle snakes in the long rough – great! I must say I felt a bit nervous – not a normal feeling for me. Steve said to me “if our balls go into the long rough we’ll just drop another one – it’s not worth dying over a $3 golf ball.” I was more than happy with that plan but it seems Steve really is a tight arse accountant – on the second hole he is in the long rough looking for his ball! Trust me, he was on his own!

I’m happy to report we didn’t come across anything untoward apart from a deer and her fawn who were sheltering in the shade just off the path after the 18th. They were quite happy to pose for photographs.

We were convinced , however, that all the elephants had escaped from the zoo and had been buried in the greens. They were very tricky with many ups and downs. It would be fair to say we both had the worst putting stats of the trip. I had a four foot birdie putt on the par five 9th and ended up taking an 8. I was not a happy camper.

We ended up bumping into the guys from the wine bar in the clubhouse so joined them for lunch. They had already played 18 holes somewhere else and we’re going out to play 18 at Red Rock.

After golf we went into Rapid City to check it out. Because they are quite close to Mt Rushmore where the four great ex US Presidents are carved in stone they have a Presidential theme in the downtown area with a bronze statue of a past President on each corner. They also had a Presidential Pawn shop – yes that is Pawn and not Porn – ironically Bill Clinton’s statue was outside this store!

We went in to have a look around and were amazed at the amount of guns they had for sale – this is just so foreign to us. It is really interesting chatting to the locals about the gun laws though. The majority are in favour of everyone carrying a gun and say there would be an uprising if the Government tried to take them away. The guy in the Pawn shop let Steve hold a few guns. His theory on the gun laws is that there is more crime and gun related deaths in the states that have strict gun laws. The gun laws in South Dakota are fairly relaxed and most people carry a gun. Apparently there is minimal crime as the good guys with guns outnumber the bad guys with guns. Interesting.

Rapid City is named after Rapid Creek, on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census.  Known as the “Gateway to the Black Hills” and the “City of Presidents”, it is split by a low mountain ridge that divides the western and eastern parts of the city. Ellsworth Air Force Base is located on the outskirts of the city. Camp Rapid, a part of the United States Army National Guard, is located in the western part of the city.  In the neighboring Black Hills are the popular tourist attractions of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave National Park.

There are 42 life sized bronze statues of all the US Presidents with the exception of the current one but he will be coming to a corner in Rapid City very soon : ). The City of Presidents project began in 2000 to honor the legacy of the American presidency. Each of the sculptures is privately funded, and the pattern of placement was chosen to maintain a coherent structure and eliminate any sense of favoritism or political gain.

Gerald Ford – 38th President

James Monroe – 5th President

George Washington – 1st President
Jimmy Carter – 39th President
Bill Clinton – 42nd President

After that bit of enlightenment we headed back to Deadwood where we are staying. Deadwood is a real Wild West town with lots of gambling and bars. The night before on our walk we had seen this shop with some great Harley Davidson paintings so wanted to go and check it out.

We got talking to the artist, Scott Jacobs who it turns out is the official artist for Harley Davidson and has been for the past 23 years. He has also started doing some wine scene paintings which were also great. His art was amazing and I am not so into motorbikes. He is based in San Diego but has just opened up this shop given the interest in the area due to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle rally.

Some of his art is also on t-shirts etc… His art is sold on 105 cruise ships that sail all over the world so he has been to NZ a couple of times on one of these cruise ships. He was off to Iceland on Friday on a cruise ship to promote his art. Some of the paintings looked like photos – they were that vibrant. He also collects and restores old Harley Davidson’s and had a few displayed in the shop. One of them was a 1926 Harley that he had raced across the USA twice. Such an interesting guy.

Check out

That evening we went to Legends Steakhouse for dinner – this had again come highly recommended by our wine bar friends. You can’t book but we had got ourselves on a priority seating list the evening before. We turned up and they said there was a 45 to 60 minute wait – I said we were on the priority seating list. She found our name and the next minute a waitress was taking us to a table – the system works! It was really nice to have a steak that resembled what we are used to eating at home, washed down with a red Zinfandel – perfect.

Deadwood is named after the dead trees found in its gulch.  A gulch is a deep V-shaped valley caused by erosion.  The population was 1,270 according to the 2010 census. 

The settlement of Deadwood began illegally in the 1870s on land which had been granted to American Indians in the 1868 Treaty of Laramie. The treaty had guaranteed ownership of the Black Hills to the Lakota people and land disputes were endemic, having reached the United States Supreme Court on several occasions. However, in 1874, Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills and announced the discovery of gold on French Creek near present-day Custer, South Dakota. This announcement triggered the Black Hills Gold Rush and gave rise to the new and lawless town of Deadwood, which quickly reached a population of around 5,000.

Noted people who were born, lived, or have resided in Deadwood include Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok.  The towns Tagline is ‘Where Western Legends were Born’. Three times a day in the summer they close the Main Street and do a mock shootout – unfortunately we didn’t get to witness this but did see some of the characters who are part of the reenactment – OMG you would seriously think they have just stepped out of the 18th century regardless of whether they were dressed up or not : 0

I also didn’t manage to capture any images of the Main Street so have borrowed some of these off the internet… 

What Deadwood would look like in the winter


This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
This entry was posted in South Dakota, USA, United States of America. Bookmark the permalink.

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