You could travel to just about any corner of the globe and find a golf course designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr.?including more than 30 different states. Impressive as his portfolio is, even Jones, Jr. admits Deer Creek Golf Club in Overland Park is some of his best work. A four-star recipient from Golf Digest, Deer Creek balances beauty with adversity. Winding creeks follow golfers from one hole to the next as they work their way through the densely wooded layout, which features multiple holes that eclipse the 500-yard mark. Before or after rounds, players can improve their chances for par by stopping at the club's pro shop and stocking up on new equipment or having their golf balls outfitted with glasses.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total distance of 6,811 yards * Four tees per hole * Course slope of 137 from the back tees * Course rating of 74.5 from the back tees * Click here to view the scorecard.
Any amateur golfer who has ever wondered what separates their swing from that of a pro can find out at Martin City Sports Complex. The sports haven's ModelGolf system compares fledgling swings with an analyzed composite of more than 120 PGA and LPGA pros, charting the similarities and differences. Afterward, golfers can take that information and work toward the ideal at the complex's 28-person double-decker driving range, where heated stalls host year-round practice and keep winter players from mistaking a snowball for a golf ball. And as swings become more refined, the resident club expert, Bert Benjamin, can create a club custom-fitted to each player.
Although golf?in both regular-sized and miniature form?is undeniably the focus at Martin City, it's not the only sport celebrated there. Paintball finds its place with both a speedball area and wooded arena, which players ride to in a real army truck. Each summer, athletes can also find a small sliver of the Atlantic beach in Kansas City by stepping up to the net at Martin City's sand volleyball courts.
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.
A staff of PGA professionals oversees the improvement of all-around games as juniors and adults refine their skills on Heart of America Golf Academy’s extensive grounds. Encompassing sprawling practice facilities and three golf courses, the facility gives players multiple amenities for working on their form. Golfers can play a nine-hole round at the River Course or practice short-game touch at the par 3 Rock Course; beginners can make a smooth foray into the game at the Hill, a three-hole junior learning center. Players can also head to the 36-station driving range, where grass tees mimic fairway conditions and double as smoothie enhancers for budding golfers.
"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.