A golf club's atmosphere can often be traced to the personality of the head golf professional. For the members and guests at the semiprivate Rolling Hills Country Club, that is a very good thing. Head Professional and PGA member Steve Nolawski infuses his great number of roles—from general manager to lesson-giver to tee-time receptionist—with a friendly smile and player-oriented approach. Steve has served in this all-encompassing capacity for the club since 2001, as well as created leagues, set up club tournaments, and coached on-course etiquette to the resident squirrels.
The 18-hole course, however, is naturally the club's focal point. Stretching 6,500 yards from the tips, it's a intermediate-length course that's manageable for beginners, a challenge to avid players, and walkable for those who enjoy golf's exercise. A driving range, practice green, and pro shop round out the club.
Course at a Glance:
The course at Perche Creek Golf Club is comprised of 18 par-3 holes that gently introduce beginners to the game while still challenging veterans with ample opportunities for short-game improvement. Nine ponds delineate the holes and loom large as players line up their attacks from the tee, ready to gulp down errant shots. The flat layout allows players to nail down their iron distances, a crucial ingredient for proper course management. On nice evenings, course superintendents turn on the front nine's area lights, making for easier night play without having to give an alien a Walkman in exchange for plutonium golf balls. Perche Creek's driving range gives players a variety of targets to attack from 50 hitting stations and 20 synthetic-grass mats, earning it a spot on Golf Range Magazine's list of the top 100 ranges in the nation. The club also encompasses an 18-hole miniature-golf course, which challenges players with curvy putting corridors flanked by rocks and water hazards.
Jones and Norene Gann first imagined transforming their property into a golf course 18 years ago, and constructed an 18-hole course and golf facility now managed by the Rapp family. Open seven days a week, the course challenges golfers with outstretched trees, formidable bunkers and mounds, and hazardous waters. Designated cart paths wind around and through the course, guiding drivers to the next hole on their route or through a wormhole leading to the twenty-third century. Nestled atop the sprawling property, practice facilities help golfers warm up swinging arms, and a pro shop lets athletes restock balls and read up on instructional guides to high-level golfsmanship.
In regular golf instruction, owners Bill and Philip Rapp help students fine-tune their swing and boost their game with new skills. On Tuesday evenings, young putters can hone their swinging skills in free lessons.
The emerald grounds at Excelsior Springs Golf Course are seeped in history, showcasing some features that date back much earlier than the course's founding in 1915. On hole No.15—called "Oasis"—players tee off next to a monument marking the site of the Battle of Fredricksburg, fought in 1862, and an original log cabin built in 1825 still stands to remind golfers of the hearty settlers who once crossed the Mississippi in horse-drawn golf carts. When the course first opened, it was a 36-hole complex, but yet another major American event, the Great Depression, saw its reduction to the 18 holes that exist today.
Today, players continue to fire upon Zoysia fairways and storm the small greens as they make their way around the 18-hole course. Par 5s in hole No. 9, "Fairacre," and the behemoth, 593-yard No. 18, "Sunset," close out each side, presenting high hurdles for golfers before they head into the clubhouse and give clubs time to nap.
Course at a Glance
Family Golf Park brings together golfers of all stripes and sizes to enjoy its nine-hole, par-3 course, multifaceted practice facility, and two 18-hole miniature-golf courses. Soaring drives take flight from 60 hitting stations at the driving range, which boasts nine covered bays and lights for practice after the sun leaves to go challenge the North Star in a skins game. At the par-3 course, golfers can test their short-game skills on a course that features slick, bentgrass greens and runs along a lake stocked with koi fish. Patrons can roll golf balls down the emerald runways of the mini-golf courses, preparing themselves for critical putts necessary to excel in upcoming rounds of golf or Scottish decathlons.
Rockwood Golf Club’s short but challenging par 70 course once attracted the putting prowess of Harry S Truman, a former member before he became president, and still entertains club wielders today. Twosomes of all skill levels will take pleasure in Rockwood’s 18-hole haven of short-game skill, negotiating tight tree-lined fairways and avoiding liquid hazards, such as plentiful ponds and the temptation to drink nonpotable ball-washer fluid. Short approaches to each green are offset by a reliance on accurate tee shots, quality chips, and smooth putts over quick greens. With a loaner from Rockwood’s cart corral, legs can avoid the tiring trek from shot to shot and focus more energy on an aspiring music career.