In Prairie Trails Golf Course, the City of El Dorado has orchestrated an 18-hole layout that's welcoming to locals and out-of-towners alike. Water hazards and dense foliage hem in the bluegrass fairways, and the creeping bentgrass greens produce a true roll on high-pressure putts. After groups hole out and shake hands on the 18th green, they can head into the course grill to add up their strokes and toast whoever has the most irons over sandwiches and cold drinks.
At any of the 15 Great Life Golf and Fitness locations, guests are encouraged to invent their own triathlon of gusto, switching from swimming in the pool to getting a total body workout to playing a round of golf. Great Life has facilities scattered throughout Kansas and Missouri, including golf courses such as the National Audubon Society–certified River Oaks and the links at The Oaks, which were designed by Tom Bendelow and opened in the 1920s. Golfers looking for quick rounds can drop by the nine-hole courses at Maple Creek, Abilene, and CedarBrook. Gyms such as the 14,000-square-foot fitness center at Berkshire allow members or guests to pump iron or run on treadmills when they aren’t helping their golf balls safely reach the greens by paying golf carts to drink all of the water hazards dry. Although amenities vary at each club, all of Great Life Golf and Fitness’s venues boast a pro shop, and the courses at Berkshire and Prairie View maintain driving ranges where golfers can make golf balls practice flying without their parachutes.
When it was conceived in 1975, Hesston Golf Course was designed as a public course that any and every skill level could play. The layout of the course certainly mimics that original concept, with five sets of tees at each hole and wide, lush fairways that spill over into fast-moving greens. The 5th and 18th holes may count as signature stops along the course, Hesston considers its group of par-three holes its true calling card—in fact, the course features more than 900 yards in par threes alone. In addition to its welcoming design, Hesston also features a state-of-the-art irrigation system, ensuring playing conditions remain pristine and bottles of water don’t get snatched out of carts by thirsty trees.
Bermuda grass fairways and bent grass greens form the basis of a challenging layout at Augusta Country Club?s nine-hole golf course, which has blanketed the Kansas countryside since 1922. Every hole features two separate tee boxes, which means golfers can enjoy two distinct experiences of each hole when they play an 18-hole round. The opportunity to play the same holes twice also grants golfers a chance to redeem themselves by avoiding a bunker or water hazard the second time around. A waterway runs horizontally across the fairways on six different holes, forcing golfers to send shots over its glassy surface or tunnel underneath it with a makeshift shovel made from divot tools.
The executive layout at Sierra Hills Golf Club presents a par 58 course that covers 3,100 yards and features 4 par 4s and 14 par 3s. The terrain careens across gently undulating bluegrass and past six water features, including a crescent-shaped pond that wraps itself nearly all the way around one of the greens, forming a moat to prevent local mini-golf courses from setting up windmill colonies. The 18th hole offers a dramatic end to the round, as golfers must send approach shots soaring over a water hazard stationed directly in front of the green. Sierra Hills Golf Club complements its pared-down layout with a full-length, 35-stall, natural-grass driving range, where guests can drive or bicycle-kick practice balls up to 300 yards into the distance.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 58 course designed by Leo Johnson * Course rating of 70 * Slope rating of 113 * Three sets of tees
All Star Adventures and All Star Sports's two facilities are loaded with fun-park distractions for both kids and adults. While All Star Sports focuses on athletic attractions such as wall climbing and batting cages, All Star Adventures models its facility after amusement-park thrills that include helicopter rides, a tilt a whirl, and a classic-style carousel. Both locations house a snack bar and throw open their gates seven days a week, remaining open long past the time when the sun goes to bed and the moon comes out to daydream about Buzz Aldrin.