Let's talk public golf in KC

ddechantddechant Members Posts: 7 ✭✭
Going into this summer as a free agent in Kansas City, meaning I'm going to play a lot of public golf. What are some of the best options, especially in terms of pace of play and conditioning?
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  • dlygrissedlygrisse Members Posts: 13,013 ✭✭
    edited Mar 12, 2019 5:57pm #2
    In no particular order:



    Sycamore Ridge

    Iron Horse

    Swope

    Shoal Creek

    OP or St Andrews, are convenient if you live in OP, but tend to be very busy with leagues etc.

    Deer Creek

    Tiffany Greens

    Tomahawk-quirky but fun every now and then

    Heritage Park-haven;t played it in a few years, but decent layout.

    Prairie Highlands-played it last fall, it was in horrid shape....not sure what this spring will look like. Too bad, I like the layout.

    Fred Arbannas at Longview Lake-underrated in my opinion.

    Hillcrest-semi private I think, great Ross design.

    Falcon Lakes.

    Falcon Valley

    Dubs Dread

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  • LowAndLeft32LowAndLeft32 Members Posts: 51 ✭✭
    Sycamore Ridge. Usually in good to great condition and never seems to be busy. Also, its not crazy expensive.
  • KUJayhawksKUJayhawks Members Posts: 344 ✭✭
    As someone who's lived here for 20+ years, I can honestly say that the public golf scene in KC is kind of trash imo. Going off the extensive list from above:



    Courses I like

    Swope - conditioning can vary (probably never pristine), but a fun, short, Tillinghast design

    Hillcrest - Haven't played it in a few years, and the condition wasn't great, but a fun Ross layout

    Sycamore - Usaually in good shape and pace is solid



    Haven't played Tiffany, Tomahawk can be fun in the summer when it gets rock hard The Falcon courses are fine. Stone Canyon could be decent but it's usually in pretty poor shape. Canyon Farms is typically in good shape, but not a fan of the layout. Deer Creek is possibly my least favorite course on the planet. Conditions are always trash, layout sucks, bunkers EVERYWHERE and they are straight clay... I'd play Minor Park over it every time.



    I only play public courses a handful of times per year so some of my opinions may be dated, but this is what I remember from them. Overland Park is kind of a tough spot for public golf. There are some great private tracks in the area but not much in the way of public. I haven't played Ironhorse in a number of years, but I always recall it being quite overpriced.
  • tgard227tgard227 Members Posts: 39 ✭✭
    Ironhorse is a pricy course but a really good track in my opinion. The holes differ and provide good variety throughout the round.



    Dubs is a good track that I've always thought was under rated. The course has two quirky/bad holes in my opinon but the rest of the course is a very demanding test that is usually in pretty decent shape.



    Hillcrest and Swope are always good tracks. Swope can get a little torn up from over play.



    Falcon Ridge is a good layout but I haven't played there in years so I have no idea about the conditioning it's in.



    Most courses are worth at least a one round trial to see if you like them. The only courses I do not like to play are: Minor, OP Muni Courses, Country Creek, Hodge Park, Teetering.



    I also never liked Longview maybe because it had terrible greens. I think they've redone the greens so maybe it's worth a play.



    BTW: Smithville has a couple of good tracks up there if you're up for a little road trip. Shirkey in Richmond is a good track but I'm not sure how good the greens are.
  • pdakcpdakc Posts: 294 ✭✭
    The best public golf course in the KC area, by far, is Creekmoor.  It's a hike down to Raymore, but the conditioning, layout, staff and quality of golf are second to none for public golf in KC.
  • bhj83bhj83 Kansas City, KSMembers Posts: 755 ✭✭

    I'll chime in and first state that GreatLife took Falcon Ridge private last year so I don't think they have public tee times unless you're a guest of a member. Canyon Farms is also private and doesn't have public tee times. I'd stay away from any of the GreatLife courses that do offer public tee times as they have really let them go (sad to see it happen to Prairie Highlands and Hillcrest; also Deer Creek is a GL course but I've never been a huge fan of it anyways). I've been a member at both Falcon Lakes and Tiffany Greens in recent years and both are great layouts and generally in good condition and I'd venture to say Falcon Lakes is generally in great shape. I also play Dub's Dread and it's a great layout that I would agree is underrated and generally in really good shape. As pdakc mentioned above, Creekmoor is by far the best public option in the KC IMO although it can be a bit pricey ($85 on weekends I believe). It is a great layout and has been in fantastic every time I've played it over the years. Rough can be very penile during the spring as it gets very thick there. I also love Stone Canyon as long as it's in good shape and I believe it has been the past year or two. WinterStone is another fantastic layout in the vicinity of Stone Canyon...it's different from most courses around here and plays similar to a Branson course. Shoal Creek is a nice layout but never seems to be in the best shape when I've played it and that's relative to what they charge for it.

    Overall, I'd have to disagree with the user above that states public golf in KC is trash. There are lots of great options for the size of our metro and you can find some decent rates. Sometimes you'll be in for a drive depending on where you live but a lot of courses are worth it.

    Not mentioned above but other courses I enjoy playing:
    Swope Memorial
    Ironhorse
    Sycamore Ridge

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  • st8kdinrst8kdinr ConstantBagOverhaul Members Posts: 543 ✭✭

    I travel KC regularly and only play public courses. Here's my take. I agree with the Prairie Life courses that seem to deteriorate quickly. I'm hoping that they are able to straighten it out in 2019. Here's a list of the ones that I can easily recall from last year. I think there are a great number of options and I always enjoy getting in a round in the area. This topic is great as well since I'm planning to do a buddies trip down to KC this summer.
    Prairie Highlands - I really like the layout of this course as it has some fun holes. The quality really went down in 2018 and the bunkers were unplayable both times I played it.
    Winterstone - It was in good shape when I played. Has some funky holes with odd layup yardages that add to some difficulty.
    Falcon Lakes - I discovered this course last year and drove out to it a couple more time to play. I thought it had a great set and was in good shape with true greens.
    Dub's Dread - I only played 9 holes and really like it. Decent price and it seems to play pretty quickly.
    Deer Creek - Easily my least favorite course that I've played multiple times. The tree lined fairways make things uninteresting pretty quickly. For the price, overall condition has just been ok.
    Iron Horse - I like the layout and seems to have a mix of holes pleasing most. Greens were great condition when I played last.
    Shoal Creek - It may have been a couple years since I played this. Interesting layout but not sure it was worth the price to play regularly.
    Courses at Smithville Lake - I'm really looking forward to playing these soon. I thought these were good courses in good shape with plenty of challenges
    Stone Canyon - Never seem to play this course well but really enjoy it overall. Pretty challenging and windy as all get out.

    I may have missed a few that weren't memorable enough over the last couple years. But hope this helps and play well!

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  • Tha CarterTha Carter Members Posts: 12 ✭✭

    So I think I have played almost every public course in the area, and probably end up playing at OP or St Andrews the most just based on where my friends live/want to drive, not necessarily because I like the courses. They're not bad, but always busy. If I'm going to drive a little farther, I will go to Sycamore Ridge, or maybe Ironhorse if I get a good rate. As someone mentioned above, they are a little too proud of it in my opinion.

    Tomahawk is the closest course to my house, and is my least favorite course in the whole city.

    Sunflower Hills and Painted Hills are both close to my office, so I play these a few times a year as well. Both are dumb layouts and in poor condition generally, but if I'm playing for $20 and skipping work I'm not complaining.

    I like Winterstone and Stone Canyon, but they're a hike for me so I rarely play them.

    Also like Swope, and the location is pretty central if you are meeting up with people. Used to play here more when I worked in Plaza area. As mentioned above it's never going to be in great condition.

    Agree on Creekmoor as the best "public" course but it's expensive as a daily and far away for most. Membership is cheap if you live out there though.

    I guess overall the biggest factor for me is location - probably true of most in KC I would guess.

  • tgard227tgard227 Members Posts: 39 ✭✭

    One other that I forgot, Adam's Pointe is a decent track although it's been a while since I've played it so I don't know about its conditions. Also check out Sycamore Ridge.

    Creekmoor is good but expensive and out of the way. It would be a tough course to call home given its location which might be why it's stayed public. I don't know about it being the best public golf course but it is up there with them.

  • AlmostscratchonceAlmostscratchonce Members Posts: 183 ✭✭

    I live & play at Creekmoor, so am likely somewhat biased in my opinion that it's probably the best public-access in KC. I just don't understand the knock it gets for being "out of the way" any more than it's peers (Sycamore, Stone Canyon, Winterstone, Ironhorse, etc). I get that everyone has a different geography they're starting from, but I just plugged a starting address into Goggle Maps near Waldo, and all of the names mentioned previously in this thread were within +/- 5 minutes drive dime (except Minor, Hillcrest & Swope).

  • jkd9977jkd9977 Posts: 370 ✭✭

    Just FYI, last fall at least one of the courses at Smithville had lost some of the fairways. It was terribly baked out in the summer and it didn't appear to recover.

  • ascottwaddellascottwaddell Members Posts: 20 ✭✭

    IMHO:
    1. Creekmoor
    2. Winterstone
    3. Stone Canyon
    4. Sycamore Ridge
    Its a shame what GreatLife has done to Falcon Ridge and Prairie Highlands. Both used to be pretty good tracks.

  • ascottwaddellascottwaddell Members Posts: 20 ✭✭

    Forgot Shoal Creek. Not nearly as well conditioned as it used to be but still a great track.

  • scagnettiscagnetti Haq Attaq Members Posts: 549 ✭✭

    @ascottwaddell said:
    Forgot Shoal Creek. Not nearly as well conditioned as it used to be but still a great track.

    that's interesting, because I played last fall (October) and i thought it was in excellent shape. really really liked it... a couple of the holes had some shoddy tee boxes (12 & 15, IIRC) but those were the anomalies...

    I still think Hillcrest is shaping up, based on a round I played around the same time as SC, Swope is never excellent or great condition, but also never poor or terrible. old reliable, fairly cheap and interesting short Tilly design...

    People like to knock Minor, but I have a sweet soft spot for that place. there's two funky-****, stupid holes (10, old #1) and another I can't specify, I wanna say 16 that goes over a hill into and then over water... those excepted, its fun manageable and usually in pretty great shape, likely because it's unfashionable to play there...

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  • vernonvernon Hi! I'm Holly! Members Posts: 1,183 ✭✭

    @ascottwaddell said:
    IMHO:
    1. Creekmoor
    2. Winterstone
    3. Stone Canyon
    4. Sycamore Ridge
    Its a shame what GreatLife has done to Falcon Ridge and Prairie Highlands. Both used to be pretty good tracks.

    Yep and Ridge and Prairie just keep getting worse and worse. A recent nice "touch" is that carts at both courses are now adorned with either yellow or red tape on one of the roof supports indicating whether the cart has new or old batteries. After what was a disaster last year with carts dying all over the course on a daily basis Great Life still couldn't find it in its heart (or bank account) to replace ALL of the bad batteries at the same time.

    Typical of GL to halfass yet another aspect of their operation.

    In a matter of two rounds last year we went through SEVEN carts at Prairie.

    And this will be the fourth consecutive year with no sand in any of the bunkers at Prairie.

    Great Life is the single worse thing to happen to golf in Kansas City in my lifetime.

  • bhj83bhj83 Kansas City, KSMembers Posts: 755 ✭✭

    @vernon said:

    @ascottwaddell said:
    IMHO:
    1. Creekmoor
    2. Winterstone
    3. Stone Canyon
    4. Sycamore Ridge
    Its a shame what GreatLife has done to Falcon Ridge and Prairie Highlands. Both used to be pretty good tracks.

    Yep and Ridge and Prairie just keep getting worse and worse. A recent nice "touch" is that carts at both courses are now adorned with either yellow or red tape on one of the roof supports indicating whether the cart has new or old batteries. After what was a disaster last year with carts dying all over the course on a daily basis Great Life still couldn't find it in its heart (or bank account) to replace ALL of the bad batteries at the same time.

    Typical of GL to halfass yet another aspect of their operation.

    In a matter of two rounds last year we went through SEVEN carts at Prairie.

    And this will be the fourth consecutive year with no sand in any of the bunkers at Prairie.

    Great Life is the single worse thing to happen to golf in Kansas City in my lifetime.

    Are you still a member there? I got out last year in May once I saw how they were going to operate Falcon Ridge. Nice of them to let me out of the contract but I had some legitimate complaints they were unwilling to resolve.

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  • QManyQMany #TheWRX ClubWRX Posts: 9,036 ClubWRX

    In no particular order, I'm partial to:

    • Falcon Lakes
    • Creekmoor
    • Sycamore Ridge
    • Stone Canyon
    • Shoal Creek

    @vernon said:
    Great Life is the single worse thing to happen to golf in Kansas City in my lifetime.

    AMEN, brother!

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  • vernonvernon Hi! I'm Holly! Members Posts: 1,183 ✭✭

    @bhj83 said:

    @vernon said:

    @ascottwaddell said:
    IMHO:
    1. Creekmoor
    2. Winterstone
    3. Stone Canyon
    4. Sycamore Ridge
    Its a shame what GreatLife has done to Falcon Ridge and Prairie Highlands. Both used to be pretty good tracks.

    Yep and Ridge and Prairie just keep getting worse and worse. A recent nice "touch" is that carts at both courses are now adorned with either yellow or red tape on one of the roof supports indicating whether the cart has new or old batteries. After what was a disaster last year with carts dying all over the course on a daily basis Great Life still couldn't find it in its heart (or bank account) to replace ALL of the bad batteries at the same time.

    Typical of GL to halfass yet another aspect of their operation.

    In a matter of two rounds last year we went through SEVEN carts at Prairie.

    And this will be the fourth consecutive year with no sand in any of the bunkers at Prairie.

    Great Life is the single worse thing to happen to golf in Kansas City in my lifetime.

    Are you still a member there? I got out last year in May once I saw how they were going to operate Falcon Ridge. Nice of them to let me out of the contract but I had some legitimate complaints they were unwilling to resolve.

    Unfortunately, yes. My wife also plays and it's just impossible to justify the additional money it would take to join elsewhere at this point. Falcon Lakes (where we live) for example is almost $2800 more and is so packed with tournaments and leagues that the course is closed more than it's open. The tee time mess that exists at Falcon Ridge is much more manageable and having multiple courses to choose from whenever one is closed for a tournament is a definite plus.

    That being said, I would happily pay more with Great Life if they would just put a little effort into providing a better product. It's long been my opinion that the entire GL business model is based on buying up as many properties as possible and pricing them so low that the average guy can't justify going elsewhere regardless of course condition and I guess at the moment that would also describe me.

    I hate it but it is what it is I guess. Where did you go?

  • bhj83bhj83 Kansas City, KSMembers Posts: 755 ✭✭

    @vernon said:

    @bhj83 said:

    @vernon said:

    @ascottwaddell said:
    IMHO:
    1. Creekmoor
    2. Winterstone
    3. Stone Canyon
    4. Sycamore Ridge
    Its a shame what GreatLife has done to Falcon Ridge and Prairie Highlands. Both used to be pretty good tracks.

    Yep and Ridge and Prairie just keep getting worse and worse. A recent nice "touch" is that carts at both courses are now adorned with either yellow or red tape on one of the roof supports indicating whether the cart has new or old batteries. After what was a disaster last year with carts dying all over the course on a daily basis Great Life still couldn't find it in its heart (or bank account) to replace ALL of the bad batteries at the same time.

    Typical of GL to halfass yet another aspect of their operation.

    In a matter of two rounds last year we went through SEVEN carts at Prairie.

    And this will be the fourth consecutive year with no sand in any of the bunkers at Prairie.

    Great Life is the single worse thing to happen to golf in Kansas City in my lifetime.

    Are you still a member there? I got out last year in May once I saw how they were going to operate Falcon Ridge. Nice of them to let me out of the contract but I had some legitimate complaints they were unwilling to resolve.

    Unfortunately, yes. My wife also plays and it's just impossible to justify the additional money it would take to join elsewhere at this point. Falcon Lakes (where we live) for example is almost $2800 more and is so packed with tournaments and leagues that the course is closed more than it's open. The tee time mess that exists at Falcon Ridge is much more manageable and having multiple courses to choose from whenever one is closed for a tournament is a definite plus.

    That being said, I would happily pay more with Great Life if they would just put a little effort into providing a better product. It's long been my opinion that the entire GL business model is based on buying up as many properties as possible and pricing them so low that the average guy can't justify going elsewhere regardless of course condition and I guess at the moment that would also describe me.

    I hate it but it is what it is I guess. Where did you go?

    Man, I moved from Topeka to KC and that's what I always said about the GL courses there. I think I only paid $30 per month to walk there and they were goat ranches. Always commented that I'd happily pay more if they'd invest more in course conditions so I was hopeful when they came to KC and I saw the prices were a lot higher. But same old, same old on a different scale unfortunately. They've always been focused on getting as many memberships sold and do the bare minimum on their courses.

    I ended up going back to Tiffany Greens because they have a great under 40 membership program. I'm up at the end of May though and trying to decide if I want to go somewhere else. Dub's is tempting because I live 5 minutes away. My choice would be Falcon Lakes but they just keep raising rates and like you said, a little too busy for those kinds of prices IMO.

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  • vernonvernon Hi! I'm Holly! Members Posts: 1,183 ✭✭

    @bhj83 said:

    @vernon said:

    @bhj83 said:

    @vernon said:

    @ascottwaddell said:
    IMHO:
    1. Creekmoor
    2. Winterstone
    3. Stone Canyon
    4. Sycamore Ridge
    Its a shame what GreatLife has done to Falcon Ridge and Prairie Highlands. Both used to be pretty good tracks.

    Yep and Ridge and Prairie just keep getting worse and worse. A recent nice "touch" is that carts at both courses are now adorned with either yellow or red tape on one of the roof supports indicating whether the cart has new or old batteries. After what was a disaster last year with carts dying all over the course on a daily basis Great Life still couldn't find it in its heart (or bank account) to replace ALL of the bad batteries at the same time.

    Typical of GL to halfass yet another aspect of their operation.

    In a matter of two rounds last year we went through SEVEN carts at Prairie.

    And this will be the fourth consecutive year with no sand in any of the bunkers at Prairie.

    Great Life is the single worse thing to happen to golf in Kansas City in my lifetime.

    Are you still a member there? I got out last year in May once I saw how they were going to operate Falcon Ridge. Nice of them to let me out of the contract but I had some legitimate complaints they were unwilling to resolve.

    Unfortunately, yes. My wife also plays and it's just impossible to justify the additional money it would take to join elsewhere at this point. Falcon Lakes (where we live) for example is almost $2800 more and is so packed with tournaments and leagues that the course is closed more than it's open. The tee time mess that exists at Falcon Ridge is much more manageable and having multiple courses to choose from whenever one is closed for a tournament is a definite plus.

    That being said, I would happily pay more with Great Life if they would just put a little effort into providing a better product. It's long been my opinion that the entire GL business model is based on buying up as many properties as possible and pricing them so low that the average guy can't justify going elsewhere regardless of course condition and I guess at the moment that would also describe me.

    I hate it but it is what it is I guess. Where did you go?

    Man, I moved from Topeka to KC and that's what I always said about the GL courses there. I think I only paid $30 per month to walk there and they were goat ranches. Always commented that I'd happily pay more if they'd invest more in course conditions so I was hopeful when they came to KC and I saw the prices were a lot higher. But same old, same old on a different scale unfortunately. They've always been focused on getting as many memberships sold and do the bare minimum on their courses.

    I ended up going back to Tiffany Greens because they have a great under 40 membership program. I'm up at the end of May though and trying to decide if I want to go somewhere else. Dub's is tempting because I live 5 minutes away. My choice would be Falcon Lakes but they just keep raising rates and like you said, a little too busy for those kinds of prices IMO.

    We considered Dub's but I just don't like the golf course enough to play it every day. I've always enjoyed Tiffany and their rates are pretty reasonable but the drive over there just isn't practical from an everyday aspect. My wife works in Lee's Summit and I've actually tried to talk her into moving to Creekmoor but she loves the house we're in and is looking at retiring in a few years anyway.

    I've pretty much just resigned myself to the fact that I'm stuck with Great Life for the foreseeable future and, like the fool I am, keep telling myself that it HAS to get better at some point but there's sure no indication of that at this point.

    Everybody that I've talked to seems to agree that GL should make their motto, "What the **** do you expect for what you're paying?"

    I actually feel sorry for most of the staff as they catch it from every angle all day every day but there's not a thing they can do about it except find a job elsewhere which is what most of them are actively trying to do. I think what's most aggravating is that so many of the things that need to be done really aren't that difficult and for the most part wouldn't even cost that much to make happen but they just don't care.

    We often wonder where all the Great Life higher up's play their golf cause we sure don't ever see them around any of the GL courses.

  • bhj83bhj83 Kansas City, KSMembers Posts: 755 ✭✭

    I'm pretty sure one of them is at Falcon Lakes :smiley: The others are probably at Canyon Farms or other private courses would be my guess.

    I have the same concerns with Dub's but I'd also walk a lot more which is something I want to do. I'm also hopeful it would make me a better golfer as I wouldn't have all that relief area to the right that Tiffany offers haha.

    It's unfortunate that you're stuck with GL but I totally understand your situation. We can all hope that GL will actually make good on their statements to improve the courses. I actually put that I don't recommend GL on their FB and they responded to it stating they're focusing on PH this year but we've heard that before. Here is what they stated when I asked if they would be putting sand in the bunkers:

    We plan on adding some sand as necessary. When GreatLIFE aquirred the operations at Prairie Highlands the bunkers had been in disrepair for several years. There is actually a fair amount of sand in many bunker but due to drainage issues caused by age, they have become compacted and infiltrated by soil and silt layers. We will be turning these bunkers over to relieve the compaction by adding new sand product where needed. A major bunker renovation plan will be announced soon.

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  • vernonvernon Hi! I'm Holly! Members Posts: 1,183 ✭✭

    "Some sand as necessary" huh? When there can't be more than three on the entire course that have ANY sand at all and, in typical GL fashion, it's all pushed up on the sides under the lips. I've watched them do this little trick at Ridge as well where the guy on the sand pro will use the blade on the front to literally shove all of the sand from the bottom of the bunker to the sides like a snowplow. The sand on the sides in most places is one to two foot deep while the bottom/middle is basically dirt. Any ball that hits the side plugs instead of rolling back down to where the sand is supposed to be and many that land in the bottom bounce up onto the side where they hangup on this same accumulation of sand.

    Believe it or not, there's actually way TOO much sand in the bunkers at Ridge and the type that they use would be better suited for volleyball than golf courses.

    I will say that the super at Prairie manicures the **** out of the dirt and at least makes it look nice although it's virtually impossible to play out of.

    I like how they blame the condition of the bunkers on the condition they were in when they "acquired the operations". Really? So did they not know that when they took over and didn't they factor that into what it was going to take to operate the golf course at an acceptable level? And GL has overseen operations for how long now? Three years? And yet NOTHING has been done to improve the situation? Sorry, but I'm less than optimistic regarding their claims of "a major bunker renovation plan" being announced soon. As an old friend of mine used to say, "Get it out of the dang thinking stage"!

    For what it's worth we played over at Deer Creek last week and it's maybe even worse although it looks like they've finally started some sort of tree removal project that is beyond overdue and they're renovating the pro shop. I'm not sure I understand the logic of starting the pro shop redo at the end of March when the season's just about to get started though. With the winter we had you'd think that that would have been a good time to do inside work but what do I know.

    Man I'm getting grouchy in my old age!

  • tgard227tgard227 Members Posts: 39 ✭✭

    Vernon, I think I would honestly find a new course if you're that dissatisfied with GL. Just an honest suggestion. Dub's really isn't that bad of a track and maybe their conditions will be more to your liking?

  • vernonvernon Hi! I'm Holly! Members Posts: 1,183 ✭✭

    I don't disagree but there's just no better option available out there at the moment. As I mentioned, I just don't like Dub's and my wife dislikes it even more. Plus, it would be back to only having a single course available and Dub's has an awful lot of tournaments and leagues as well.

    Being a retired guy I can no longer really afford some of the places that I might prefer and location has a lot to do with that as well. Bottom line, we've already re-upped at GL through 31 March 2020 so it just seems that my best option is to appreciate the fact that it's cheap, enjoy the availability of multiple courses and try to affect positive change through "constructive" criticism.

    I'm sure that part will get a good laugh!

    As I mentioned earlier, the part that I find most frustrating is that so many of the things that everybody complains about with GL facilities is so basic and simple in nature. The players know it, the onsite staff know it but somehow it totally escapes the guys that are in charge. I realize that cart batteries aren't cheap but it's a fundamental part of operating the business as is maintaining bunkers. If your business model isn't such that it can sustain these basic aspects of golf course operation than raise the prices to generate the necessary revenue. Heck, last year during the drought they enacted a $50 surcharge some of which was used to pay for grass seed at Prairie. What golf course doesn't budget for grass seed?

    Obviously this is the way these guys do business though and I probably just need to figure out a way to be OK with that. At least for next twelve months anyways.

  • VinnyG41VinnyG41 KansasMembers Posts: 7 ✭✭

    Agreed on pretty much all of the above on Great Life. Although, I did change my membership to Canyon Farms and, while they are managed by Great Life, they seem set on keeping themselves above typical Great Life standards. I haven't seen the course during peak months yet but it sounds like it's in the fantastic shape from the other members I've talked to. They invested heavily in their bunkers not too long ago and it shows. Even in winter Canyon Farms is in better shape than all Great Life courses in the summer.
    As far as public courses go, I'm pretty firm that Heritage is the best value in the KC metro. Awesome track and is usually in great shape but can get pretty busy on weekends. Sycamore Ridge has already been talked about but that course is too good for me to not mention it too. Just kind of a long drive from most KC places.

  • Tha CarterTha Carter Members Posts: 12 ✭✭

    @VinnyG41 said:
    Agreed on pretty much all of the above on Great Life. Although, I did change my membership to Canyon Farms and, while they are managed by Great Life, they seem set on keeping themselves above typical Great Life standards. I haven't seen the course during peak months yet but it sounds like it's in the fantastic shape from the other members I've talked to. They invested heavily in their bunkers not too long ago and it shows. Even in winter Canyon Farms is in better shape than all Great Life courses in the summer.
    As far as public courses go, I'm pretty firm that Heritage is the best value in the KC metro. Awesome track and is usually in great shape but can get pretty busy on weekends. Sycamore Ridge has already been talked about but that course is too good for me to not mention it too. Just kind of a long drive from most KC places.

    Did they charge you $5k to join Canyon Farms or did they give you a discount since you were a GL member? Can't believe people would pay that to join there.

  • vernonvernon Hi! I'm Holly! Members Posts: 1,183 ✭✭

    We were at Canyon for a couple of years. The first year after Great Life took over and the year before that. Hard to say which was worse as both years were pretty bad from both a management standpoint and course conditions. What they've done there in the couple of years since is pretty amazing and to my knowledge unparalleled in KC golf in recent years. Fortunately for them Jim Klausman came to the rescue and brought his checkbook cause that sure ain't Great Life money that fixed up the golf course and built that 8 million dollar clubhouse. Management at most of the lower tier courses have told me that both Canyon and Staley are on the verge of leaving Great Life due to the bad rep associated with the name and the drag that GL puts on their operations. Personally, I don't see how Canyon's going to survive at their current price point with all of the capital improvements that they've made. That clubhouse isn't going to pay for itself and I'm not sure that the golf course warrants a high dollar membership rate. Sooner or later the glitter's gonna wear off and Klausman is going to want to see some sort of return on investment but that's just speculation on my part.

    The year after leaving Canyon we went the golf a la carte route and traveled all over town which was kind of fun due to the variety but we just didn't play as much and never practiced. To me, that's the single biggest benefit of a membership in that a guy will likely play a lot more as well as practice when he doesn't have to reach in his pocket each and every time to pay for greens fees or range balls. The year after that was when GL offered the $150 per month deal that provided unlimited golf, cart, range balls and fitness center access for both my wife and I and, like so many others, we took the bait. Despite all my complaints about the condition of the GL courses, this allows us to play and practice as much as we want at a price that also enables us to afford to travel around some when we want to play somewhere "nice" like Firekeeper, Tiffany, Shoal Creek, etc.

    I also would agree with the comments about Heritage and Sycamore but they're just too far away. We usually head over to each of them once a year or so just because we enjoy playing them but, as it is, Prairie Highlands is about a 30 minute drive for us and both Heritage and Sycamore is another 10 to 15 and that's just too much to do on a regular basis.

    Regarding the 5K initiation at Canyon I can only say that it seems to me that GL is all over the place with all of their tier and fee structures and it also seems to be pretty fluid. One day it's 5K, another it's 1K and then it might be waived entirely depending on the wind direction. I know for a while Staley was charging $1 for initiation when they had also been 5K at one point. I find it near impossible to figure it all out based on their website, advertising and material posted in the clubhouses. You pretty much just have to ask and I know that in the past a few people were able to negotiate their way to a better deal than was publicly available. Most still offer the refer a new member deal that will get the new guy a 15% - 20% discount as well as either a lower monthly rate for the referring member or maybe a free month or two. Again, it just depends on the day and who you talk to.

  • VinnyG41VinnyG41 KansasMembers Posts: 7 ✭✭

    @Tha Carter said:

    @VinnyG41 said:
    Agreed on pretty much all of the above on Great Life. Although, I did change my membership to Canyon Farms and, while they are managed by Great Life, they seem set on keeping themselves above typical Great Life standards. I haven't seen the course during peak months yet but it sounds like it's in the fantastic shape from the other members I've talked to. They invested heavily in their bunkers not too long ago and it shows. Even in winter Canyon Farms is in better shape than all Great Life courses in the summer.
    As far as public courses go, I'm pretty firm that Heritage is the best value in the KC metro. Awesome track and is usually in great shape but can get pretty busy on weekends. Sycamore Ridge has already been talked about but that course is too good for me to not mention it too. Just kind of a long drive from most KC places.

    Did they charge you $5k to join Canyon Farms or did they give you a discount since you were a GL member? Can't believe people would pay that to join there.

    No at the time they had a promotion where if you joined, you'd pay a $2k intiation and not pay any dues until April of 2019. Ended up being 5 and half months where i didn't pay any dues. I was a member at Falcon Ridge before I joined Canyon Farms so since I just joined the "Upper tier" they let me out of that contract for nothing.

    @vernon said:
    We were at Canyon for a couple of years. The first year after Great Life took over and the year before that. Hard to say which was worse as both years were pretty bad from both a management standpoint and course conditions. What they've done there in the couple of years since is pretty amazing and to my knowledge unparalleled in KC golf in recent years. Fortunately for them Jim Klausman came to the rescue and brought his checkbook cause that sure ain't Great Life money that fixed up the golf course and built that 8 million dollar clubhouse. Management at most of the lower tier courses have told me that both Canyon and Staley are on the verge of leaving Great Life due to the bad rep associated with the name and the drag that GL puts on their operations. Personally, I don't see how Canyon's going to survive at their current price point with all of the capital improvements that they've made. That clubhouse isn't going to pay for itself and I'm not sure that the golf course warrants a high dollar membership rate. Sooner or later the glitter's gonna wear off and Klausman is going to want to see some sort of return on investment but that's just speculation on my part.

    The year after leaving Canyon we went the golf a la carte route and traveled all over town which was kind of fun due to the variety but we just didn't play as much and never practiced. To me, that's the single biggest benefit of a membership in that a guy will likely play a lot more as well as practice when he doesn't have to reach in his pocket each and every time to pay for greens fees or range balls. The year after that was when GL offered the $150 per month deal that provided unlimited golf, cart, range balls and fitness center access for both my wife and I and, like so many others, we took the bait. Despite all my complaints about the condition of the GL courses, this allows us to play and practice as much as we want at a price that also enables us to afford to travel around some when we want to play somewhere "nice" like Firekeeper, Tiffany, Shoal Creek, etc.

    I also would agree with the comments about Heritage and Sycamore but they're just too far away. We usually head over to each of them once a year or so just because we enjoy playing them but, as it is, Prairie Highlands is about a 30 minute drive for us and both Heritage and Sycamore is another 10 to 15 and that's just too much to do on a regular basis.

    Regarding the 5K initiation at Canyon I can only say that it seems to me that GL is all over the place with all of their tier and fee structures and it also seems to be pretty fluid. One day it's 5K, another it's 1K and then it might be waived entirely depending on the wind direction. I know for a while Staley was charging $1 for initiation when they had also been 5K at one point. I find it near impossible to figure it all out based on their website, advertising and material posted in the clubhouses. You pretty much just have to ask and I know that in the past a few people were able to negotiate their way to a better deal than was publicly available. Most still offer the refer a new member deal that will get the new guy a 15% - 20% discount as well as either a lower monthly rate for the referring member or maybe a free month or two. Again, it just depends on the day and who you talk to.

    Agreed. Canyon farms' return on investment has to be very far out unless that restaurant they put in is helping them out tremendously.

  • GatorBob23GatorBob23 Members Posts: 1 ClubWRX

    @Tha Carter said:

    @VinnyG41 said:
    Agreed on pretty much all of the above on Great Life. Although, I did change my membership to Canyon Farms and, while they are managed by Great Life, they seem set on keeping themselves above typical Great Life standards. I haven't seen the course during peak months yet but it sounds like it's in the fantastic shape from the other members I've talked to. They invested heavily in their bunkers not too long ago and it shows. Even in winter Canyon Farms is in better shape than all Great Life courses in the summer.
    As far as public courses go, I'm pretty firm that Heritage is the best value in the KC metro. Awesome track and is usually in great shape but can get pretty busy on weekends. Sycamore Ridge has already been talked about but that course is too good for me to not mention it too. Just kind of a long drive from most KC places.

    Did they charge you $5k to join Canyon Farms or did they give you a discount since you were a GL member? Can't believe people would pay that to join there.

    I've been a member at Canyon for about a year now. They charged me $2k for initiation, and that was the junior level family membership. At the time they told me once the clubhouse was open, initiation would jump up to $5k. Whether they actually did that or not since the clubhouse is open, I'm not sure. As someone else mentioned, Canyon definitely does not suffer from the same issues going on at other Great Life courses. The bunker renovation they did a few years ago turned out great, and I think the greens are great.

    Back on the original topic, I definitely agree with the Falcon Lakes comments. It has always been in great shape when I've played it. I like Ironhorse as well.

  • ddechantddechant Members Posts: 7 ✭✭
    edited Apr 5, 2019 8:43pm #31

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I guess I'll go ahead and give my two cents on the courses I have an opinion on so far:

    Ironhorse: Fun track, makes you hit a lot of different clubs. It is the course I have played the most, as I joined the membership last year. Fairways and rough and in great shape always, but the greens got a lot of ballmarks last season, which is better than half of the green dying like some courses in the area. Probably My favorite public course I have played all things considered.
    OP/St Andrews: Busy, would never play on a weekend. But as an evening option you cannot beat these prices or honestly, the conditioning.
    Heritage Park: Play this course quite a bit, and I enjoy it every time. Once again a good evening option, and can stretch out to be plenty long for me. Cheap and fun. Hole 9 is ridiculously stupid though.
    Dub's Dread: Underrated, I think it is ran really well compared to every other public course I've played in KC. Always get off on time and doesn't take too long to play. Hole 3 is awful. This course can be as tough as you make it if you want to stretch it out to the tips and make it stupid long if you want to mix it up. Never played in the heat of summer, but has been in good shape in the spring and fall when I've played it.
    Stone Canyon: Conditioning was good when I played, but for some reason I didn't love the course. I'll need to play again and see if it grows on me. I think it had something to do with what you had to look at in between holes whether it was crossing a road or a giant mud pit. I just wasn't a fan. Also will say I didn't like Canyon Farms for similar reasons when I played it. Maybe it's a "me problem."
    Hillcrest/Swope: Can't look past the conditioning or the amount of trees on these courses. It just makes it impossible to enjoy for me. Although I will say there are a few great holes at both.
    Deer Creek: Sucks. Bunkers are the worst in KC that I've played.
    Eagle's Landing: Actually like the layout here a lot. The grass just isn't as good here, but is really fun. Oddly, every time I've played here the greens have been recently been punched, so I cannot comment on the greens.
    Falcon Lakes: Played on a busy day, but really enjoyed the course. Thought it was pretty playable and not too difficult. A course I could play over and over.
    Painted Hills/Tomahawk/Royal Meadows/River Oaks: So bad.
    Sycamore Ridge: Really like the back nine and think this is a course I will play a lot this year. Good shape and good layout. One of my favorites
    Minor Park: Short, serves a purpose as an easy short place to learn how to play golf.
    Falcon Valley: Little 9 holer thats in good shape, but some of the holes are so tight and the rides in between holes so long. It would be nice to have a super walk-able and playable 9 holer in KC.

    On my list to play this summer: Shoal Creek, Tiffany Greens, Fred Arbanas, Creekmoor, Winterstone.

    I used to think KC public golf sucked too, but after travelling to some other cities and looking for public golf, I have come to the conclusion that public golf sucks almost everywhere.

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