Five miles from downtown Sioux Falls, on the bank of Slip Up Creek, a cow pasture eases out of winter. Snowdrifts melt into dormant native grass. Deer hurdle barbed-wire fences. Birds shriek from towering cottonwoods.
Near a ramshackle farmhouse, 50 years abandoned, a landmark stands tall. A silo.
There must be thousands of old silos dotting the Heartland. But this one — 50 feet high — is a little unusual. The domed roof is long gone, creating an open cylinder. Like a firework canister.
Squeeze through a rectangle door and climb inside, where a floor of solid ice remains. The silo shape amplifies every sound, giving even the softest voice a ripple effect. Shhhh.
Soon the whispers from this farmyard will echo across the golf landscape. From Sioux Falls, a new sports landmark will emerge.
A 19th-century Norwegian homestead is an odd place to dream of the future. But in countless ways, Sioux Falls' premier golf experience was hiding in plain sight all along. Waiting to be found.
Discovery required a booming city that craves great golf, a native son following in his father's footsteps and a retired couple willing to let go of their history.
By 2025, this land will be home to one of America's best new courses, a 210-acre, 18-part series of spectacular shots, sprinkled across high ridges, low meadows, mature trees and the neatest natural stream.
Slip Up Creek will look amazing in photographs. Just don't let it swallow your golf ball.
Danny Amundson remembers the freedom.
He grew up playing everywhere in Sioux Falls. The city courses, where he bought a summer pass. Minnehaha, where he had good friends. Mostly Country Club of Sioux Falls, where his family had a membership.
"Those were the good ole days," the 37-year-old says. "Wake up in the summer, not a care in the world. Just play golf."
Amundson is a South Dakota lifer and golf fanatic. Good enough to help O'Gorman High win three straight state golf titles (2001-03). Good enough to play collegiately at Belmont University in Nashville. Good enough to qualify for USGA events at hot spots like Bandon Dunes.
But as a dreamer, Amundson's most influential trip might have happened in 1998, when he played a youth tournament in Pierre. He was 12. Afterward, his father, Mark, told him they were making a minor detour (a mere 45 miles) on the way home. Their destination? The Sutton family ranch.
"I had no appreciation at that point," Danny said. "I was too young. I was just upset that I had to tag along."
That day, Matt Sutton and Mark Amundson discussed their legacy project on the stunning bluffs of the Missouri River. An iconic venue that became one of the best American resorts of the 21st century.
Years before bulldozers ever broke ground, Mark Amundson, a South Dakota Golf Hall of Famer, could picture the holes. He passed away in 2014, but his momentous influence endures across the state.
Now, 25 years after Danny's first visit to the Sutton ranch, he chases his own vision. To develop a "generational project" that creates new relationships and new memories. To deliver the same pride to Sioux Falls that Sutton Bay delivered to the entire state of South Dakota.
Amundson's hometown has tripled in population since the last private club opened 60 years ago. Over the past decade, Sioux Falls' business community has exploded. The two existing country clubs have full tee sheets and long waiting lists.
"I see the need," Amundson said. "And I know there's a desire here. I think the time is right."
He reached the end of the road in spring 2022. Almost literally.
Amundson had spent months looking at potential golf course sites. He scoured Google Earth. He combed the flat fields south of Sioux Falls.
Then one day last May, Amundson turned north. I-229 ends just beyond the I-90 interchange, funneling cars into a two-lane road. To his right, Amundson spotted a "For Sale" sign in a field.
The property wasn't good enough for golf, but it prompted Amundson's curiosity. He turned east toward the massive American flag at Veterans Cemetery, where the land contours grow in elevation. Hmmm. When Amundson returned to his computer, he started clicking on parcels and perked up.
"I'm like, holy cow, there are 210 contiguous acres, all owned by Pat and Marcia Burke."
The Burkes bought the farmland — and their 150-year-old house — in January 1971 when Pat came home from the Army. He and Marcia were newly married and looking for solitude to raise a family. The land was an easy commute downtown to Burke's clothing store.
"It made us feel like we were in the country," Pat said.
Their two children, Patrick and Katie, grew up exploring every corner of those 210 acres. No wonder the land wasn't for sale in 2022. Not until Amundson presented his idea. A golf club in their backyard? That excited the Burkes, long-time members at Minnehaha.
Pat and Marcia, retired from the clothing business, received their kids' blessing. They will stay in their home just south of the Mapletøn property. From their hilltop, they look forward to watching the club come to life.
Pat, now 76, recognizes good golf. In fact, back in the 1970s, when his family belonged at Westward Ho, Burke actually played Danny Amundson's grandfather. Small world, right?
"That's Sioux Falls," Pat said.
For a brief few seconds driving on Interstate 90, you can see a piece of the farm. Especially the land down by Slip Up Creek. Amundson wonders how many times he passed right by the property and didn't notice.
"It's right there," Danny said. "It's been right there the whole time."
Soon drivers will slow down just to sneak a peek. Everything about Mapletøn's plan feels big and bold. The fairways, greens and bunkers. The clubhouse, practice facilities and cottages. Certainly the topography and the views. But all of it feels natural, too. Part of a bigger story.
From No. 3 tee, a thrilling tee shot that drops 40 feet, you'll see the Burke home up on the hill.
The 70-foot flagpole at Veterans Cemetery, half a mile north, is your target hitting into the 18th green.
And the old silo without a dome? Well, that's the signature feature on the par-3 8th.
The 50-foot cylinder, slowly shedding white paint, looks like an artifact of a former civilization. Perspective changes when you climb inside and look toward the sunlit circle at the top.
A whisper of progress bounces off the walls and rises toward the light, eager to escape.
Word is out. Let the echo begin.