Merging golf clubs, gyms, and pools for their exclusive members, GreatLife Golf & Fitness’s collective includes 13 diverse golf courses throughout Kansas and Missouri, from the National Audubon Society–certified River Oaks in Grandview, Missouri to the 1920-built The Oaks in Leavenworth. With the one-week trial membership, golfers and their families can play on any of the verdant courses without paying the green fee. Chip through the par 70, 6,148-yard Berkshire course, or opt for nine holes at Abilene. In addition to invitations to exclusive golf leagues and social events, membership also includes access to any fitness centers within the network, from the pool and new workout center at the Salina club to the treadmills and river of syrup that runs through the Maple Creek campus.
Dynamic golf duo Robin and Mark Nigro help golfers develop optimal swings at Robin Nigro Golf Academy's full driving range, pro shop, and academy. The pair first joined forces when Mark began teaching golf to Robin, then 23, who thrived under Mark's deft training and, in two short years, ascended the ranks from late-starting beginner to a competitor on the Futures Mini Tour. Recognizing their undeniable chemistry, the two joined forces and now foster successful golf skills with lessons tailored to golfers of all stripes, often enlisting technological teaching aids to enhance their swing diagnoses and placate the club's supercomputer overlord.
Those looking for solo practice sessions can take to the outdoor driving range, where clubbers launch balls off of astroturf hitting mats out into a zoysia-grass valley peppered with multiple target areas. With covered, heated hitting bays, the range lets pin hunters work on their power draw or high fade while safely protected from rainstorms or predatory hot air balloons.
Shoal Creek boasts a verdant driving range of wide-open grassy landing areas. Golfers can whack 200 Top-Flite balls from one of six lit target greens or save some spheres for the short-game area, replete with sand bunker, wedge area, and golf-cart drag strip. With a complimentary pop (choose from a selection of Coke beverages) or Dasani bottled water, swingers can perfect their form at their own pace under the sun or beneath a heated covershot unit that shields clubs from frostbite.
Culled from the cranium of renowned Scottish course-crafter Donald Ross nearly a century ago, Hillcrest merges idyllic, sweeping greens with lush forestry to forge an unforgettable 6,774 yards of play on its par 72 course. Clink clubs with a close friend or sentient pair of Hulk Hands when cruising Hillcrest's historic 18 holes, peppered with rolling zoysia fairways and handy manifold tee boxes to accommodate players of all stripes. Following the final putt and strut, hungry golfers can indulge in a post-round feast at the club's bar and grill, which offers guests a mouthwatering medley of hearty sandwiches, scrumptious sides, and fountain drinks. Hillcrest offers rentals of golf carts for an additional $18.
Sculpted into the undulating countryside in the 1930s, Royal Meadows Golf Club received a facelift in 2002, when course architect Craig Schreiner redesigned much of the layout. The course now makes artful use of three ponds, including on the par-three seventh, where the hazard creates a forced carry from tee-to-green. A 573-yard par-five, the 18th hole brings the round to a dramatic conclusion without forcing carts to drive through a finish line that has been set ablaze.
After the round, golfers can retreat to the clubhouse, where large screen TVs, cold drinks, and snacks replenish golfers. A spacious building forged from old barn wood and tin paneling, the clubhouse winds the clock back to the course's rustic roots.
Painted Hills Golf Club opened in 1929 as Victory Hills Country Club, and it has since undergone two major facelifts, one of which took place in 2013. This included a complete redesign of five holes, as well as the addition of 75 new Zoysia tee boxes, 24 new bunkers, and two miles of new cart paths. Plus, more than 150 trees were removed to open up the course.
Golfers famished after fine-tuning their drives and chips on the course can head to Putter’s Bar & Grill for a sandwich and cold drink.
Royal Meadows Golf Club Course at a Glance:
Painted Hills Golf Club Course at a Glance:
"Shotmaking is really what's dying in modern golf," said Eric Iverson, the course architect behind Staley Farms GC's 18-hole track, citing a problem that he set out to remedy when designing the course. He sculpted the 7,267-yard layout with an eye for subtleties, firm terrain, and contours that invite multiple shots to achieve the same end—provided the golfer has the imagination to envision them. Iverson also bristles at the idea of a "signature hole," and perhaps he has a point; this course has too many gems to shine the spotlight on one in particular. The inventive design is plain from the very beginning. A 460-yard dogleg left, the first hole starts the action off with a teaser of a tee shot: aim to the right portion of the fairway and you're likely to be safe, or aim left and attempt to cut the corner while risking losing the ball in heavy grass. These are the types of mental challenges that Iverson built into the course, which offers five tee options to cater to players of different skill levels.
The course sits in the shadow of a handsome clubhouse forged from stone and wood that would not be out of place at a ski resort. The facility includes banquet rooms, a bar and grill, and a weight room.