At any of the 15 Great Life Golf and Fitness locations, guests are encouraged to invent their own triathlon of gusto, switching from swimming in the pool to getting a total body workout to playing a round of golf. Great Life has facilities scattered throughout Kansas and Missouri, including golf courses such as the National Audubon Society–certified River Oaks and the links at The Oaks, which were designed by Tom Bendelow and opened in the 1920s. Golfers looking for quick rounds can drop by the nine-hole courses at Maple Creek, Abilene, and CedarBrook. Gyms such as the 14,000-square-foot fitness center at Berkshire allow members or guests to pump iron or run on treadmills when they aren’t helping their golf balls safely reach the greens by paying golf carts to drink all of the water hazards dry. Although amenities vary at each club, all of Great Life Golf and Fitness’s venues boast a pro shop, and the courses at Berkshire and Prairie View maintain driving ranges where golfers can make golf balls practice flying without their parachutes.
The nine holes of Lindsborg Municipal Golf Course sprawl over a 64-acre plot of the Smoky Valley. The course is owned and operated by the city of Lindsborg, and invites locals and out-of-towners alike to enjoy the leafy surroundings and wide-open fairways. A lake lies at the southern end of the course, twice directly entering play.
Carey Park Golf Course, a Hutchinson municipal loop, invites golfers to traverse 6,410 yards while unwinding amid its tranquil atmosphere. As they pursue the par 71 course, players must demonstrate firm control over shot direction to avoid the wooded areas lying just beyond the fairways on most holes. Before a round or as part of a focused practice session, players can also take reps on the course’s driving range, putting green, and practice bunker, or head into the indoor practice facility to avoid rain or tan lines from the elbow pads they wear “just in case.”
Course at a Glance:
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.
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.
Vibrant hardwoods envelop the lush fairways of Fox Ridge Golf Club's nine-hole course as they stretch across 3,174 yards of scenic, secluded terrain. The horticultural haven encircles a central stream, which comes into play on four holes and houses a sophisticated underwater civilization that uses golf balls as currency. Rounds end in dramatic fashion at the ninth hole—a 498-yard par 5 that doglegs slightly left and contains the widest segment of the intervening river, forcing spiky-shoed adventurers to make cerebral course-management decisions. Head golf pro Mike Riffel guides greenhorns on their path to green jackets with a variety of golf lessons.