"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.
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.
Though Robert Trent Jones himself never stepped foot on Tiffany Greens Golf Club—it opened in 1999, three years after his last course design—his fingerprints are all over the par-72 links. That's because the course was designed by Robert Trent Jones II International, a firm started by the legendary architect's son and the torchbearer of his legacy. In true Jones fashion, the course's zoysia-grass fairways wind through rolling hills and past tree-lined creeks, presenting golfers with numerous opportunities to take calculated risks and show of their mid-range control. As players check off each leg of their round, they can make use of the Prolink GPS yardage and scoring system installed on every cart, which assists in nailing down yardages to the pin and finding the shortest route around a recently crashed UFO.
Course at a Glance:
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.
Both awarded a four-star rating by Golf Digest, the Outlaw and Posse courses at Paradise Pointe Golf Complex hug the jagged waterline of Smithville Lake, jutting out onto peninsulas to incorporate picturesque coves. Sculpted into the landscape in 1982, the original Posse course leads golfers over rolling bluegrass fairways that present multiple opportunities for golfers to appreciate the lake's grandeur and make bets with willing waterfowl. The Outlaw course, characterized by zoysia fairways, large greens, and ample opportunities to bask in the maritime surroundings, was added 12 years later. Wind makes for a formidable foe on both courses, placing a premium on proper club selection and choice of ball flight.
Posse Course at a Glance:
Outlaw Course at a Glance: