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.
Beatrice Country Club’s 18-hole course unfurls across 7,169 yards of Nebraska countryside for a par 72 course that blends elements of woodland golf and a traditional, links-style layout. The majority of the course’s fairways tunnel through tight tree lines that temper aggressive impulses at the tee box like a caddy studying to be an anger-management therapist. Encroaching timbers vanish for a stretch, during which relatively open fairways run alongside water hazards and thickets of tall grass, affecting the landscape of golf’s seminal Scottish links. With five tee options, the course caters to clubbers of all stripes. Arching drives trace the sky at the onsite driving range, where duffers prepare for their round and practice balls efficiently sign waivers before launching themselves into the stratosphere.
The new owners of The Oaks Golf Club renovated the nine-hole Oaks course by expanding greens and adding dimension, resulting in 2,573 rolling yards with elevation variations as high as 50 feet. Take to the par 35 course with a fellow divot devotee and launch dimpled orbs through the air in spirited re-creations of the Apollo 12 moon landing. Each green on the course is now an average of 5,000 square feet in size, with recently built mounding around the holes adding nuance and difficulty to each putt and slice. A recently installed irrigation system helps playing surfaces stay fresh for birdies and impromptu company picnics.
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.
Links-style golf on the mainland can be hard to find, but Falcon Lakes Golf Club's 18-hole course emulates the characteristics of the game's traditional Scottish tracks. From the tips, the 7,098-yard circuit proves quite formidable, with a quartet of long par-fives?topping out at 566 yards?and a few titanic par-fours, including the 481-yard 12th hole, the course's most difficult hole. Intimidating hole length isn't the course's only links characteristic. At the end of each zoysia grass fairway, golfers must contend with slick, bent-grass greens, most of which exceed 6,000 square feet in size to make two-putts very difficult but helicopter golf-cart landings a breeze. Ankle-high native grass sways in the breeze on certain holes, and hazardous mounds deny a level stance to those who stray from the fairways or greens. Before rounds, golfers can get a feel for the putting surfaces at a multi-tiered practice green, practice their swings at a zoysia grass driving range, or dig for ancient scorecards in the bunkers that surround the chipping green.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 7,098 yards from the tips * Four tee options * Scorecard
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.