Although Kansas is technically a midwest state, it is far to the south of some of its fellow midwest sister states and because of that the natural setting is far drier than it is in a Minnesota or Wisconsin. What the Wheat States does share with its northern cousins is that it is home to hundreds of fantastic golf courses. Spread all around the state are beautifully maintained, plush green golf courses waiting to be played.
If you haven’t checked out what the best of Kansas golf has to offer, you really should. To help guide you in your quest for great Kansas golf, here are five Kansas golf courses you need to play.
Best Private Golf Course in Kansas: Flint Hills National (Andover)
There is plenty of debate over which is the better course in Kansas, Flint Hills National or Prairie Dunes. Most rankings put Prairie Dunes first—probably because a round there feels you’re playing a course in the British Isles—but I thought it would be nice to shake things up a bit and give the nod to Flint Hills National.
The course starts with a big dogleg left that is only reachable in two if you play it straight and carry the fairway bunker to the right. After that initial test the rest of the front nine is a shade easier and offers well laid out holes with large, sloping greens and plenty of trees and water to contend with.
The back nine starts with a par 3 and a green almost entirely surrounded by water. From there the themes of water in play, well placed bunkers, and massive greens are carried through to 18. The course isn’t particularly deep at 7080 yards from the blacks. But it is only a par 71.
Flint National is a beautiful track and gives off a championship level feel. Like many courses of this vintage, it is private and a membership is required. But if you can find a way to get on, it will be a round to remember.
Best Public: Firekeeper Golf Course (Mayetta)
Located about 25 minutes north of Topeka, the best public course in the state has got to be Firekeeper Golf Course. True to the topography and natural wildlife of Kansas, the course doesn’t have as many trees as it does wild prairie grass. It has an open feel, but don’t be fooled, missing the fairway can still cost you at this gorgeous track.
The first hole requires a precise drive through a narrow corridor as bunches of trees on both sides of the fairway create a bottleneck feel to start the round. Beware of the fairway bunker on the left on this par 4, and if you can split the fairway you should be in business. Hole 2 is where the prairie grass really begins to come into play and a nifty bunker located in the front and center of the green makes the approach a challenge.
The back nine has considerably more trees and tiered tee boxes that change the feel of the course depending on which set of tees you play from. 18 in particular plays much longer from the blacks and will likely mean you need to lay up in the fairway short of the creek unless you want to chance it and try and power it over the creek and some trees that stand between you and the green.
Overall the course is the perfect blend of prairie grass and trees, bunkers and water hazards. Firekeeper is significantly longer than Flint Hills National, playing around 7450 from the blacks and is a par 72.
Firekeeper is a public course and 18 holes walking cost $70 during the week and $80 Fireday (ha) – Sunday.
Most Scenic: Colbert Hills Golf Course (Manhattan)
While the aforementioned Prairie Dunes is an unparalleled golfing experience, it is also a private course. In the name of spreading the word about beautiful courses you can actually play, I have chosen Colbert Hills as the most scenic course in the state. Colbert Hills is the home course of Kansas State and is a majestic, well designed track.
Like many courses in Kansas, Colbert Hills has an expansive feel with wide sprawling fairways. But those fairways also have subtle slopes and just off the fairways on numerous holes, bunkers mean trouble if you stray to the right or left.
On the back nine, several of the fairways act as landing zones and anything short, long, or wayward will cost you dearly as you’ll be trying to hack your ball out of all manner of brush and grass. This gives the course a staged feel and only adds to its beauty.
Colbert Hills is the longest we have looked at yet and measures 7525 from the tips and is a par 72.
For a top tier course like Colbert Hill you don’t have to pay a top tier price. The cost for 18 walking is $75 Friday-Sunday but you can play it for $65 during the week and you can get a decent twilight rate of $45 if you start after 4 pm.
Most Challenging: Sand Creek Station Golf Course (Newton)
While all of the above courses offer one challenge or another, one course you need to watch out for is Sand Creek Station. Built along an old railroad line, the course also has water on nearly every hole on the front nine and in some cases requires some serious stick to be able to carry it.
Whats more is that the rough is treacherous. Anything off the fairway can easily lead to a hackfest as you try to get your ball out of the deep stuff.
The course measures over 7100 yards and is a regulation par 72 with a course rating of 76.1.
The good news about Sand Creek Station is that a round there is really quite reasonable. For non-residents, it’s $49 with a cart.
Best Value: Buffalo Dunes Golf Course (Garden City)
If you’re looking for the best deal in Kansas that would have to be Buffalo Dunes Golf Course. This Garden City track is only $30 for 18 walking on the weekends and gets down to $25 during the week.
It is a shapely course with many holes having at least some movement to the right or left. Many of the fairways are lined with tall trees and 3 and 4 share a pond that can be a magnet for errant shots.
It is amazing the quality of golf you get for your money at Buffalo Dunes and it is a course you won’t regret playing.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or just a fun course to try out, check out these great Kansas golf courses and others that didn’t make the list. Golf in the state requires skill and in most cases can be played at anytime of the year. Have a great round.
What are your thoughts on these courses? Did was a great course left off the list? Share your Kansas golfing experience in the comment section below.