Some people enjoy the familiarity of playing their favorite golf course each week, allowing them to understand every undulation of the greens, even to know every blade of grass.
Others though appreciate the challenge and excitement of visiting new courses. The Kansas City area has dozens of courses that are within a relatively short drive. These hidden gems are reasonably priced and provide a nice change of pace.
We’re going to highlight five golf courses in the Kansas City area that you may not have visited recently, three of which fit under the Great Life KC membership package (the first three below). And to make the most of your trip, we’ll highlight some can’t miss attractions and restaurants you can visit along the way.
Who knows? Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite course by taking one of these day trips!
St. Joseph Country Club
- Location: St. Joseph, Mo.
- Phone: (816) 233-0241
- Web Site: stjoecc.com
- Directions from KCI: Take I-29 north to Exit 50 (US-169/Rochester Road); west on US-169 to N Village Drive; west to I-29BL, north to US-59, west to Ridgeland Road, northwest to St. Joseph Country Club
- Drive Time from KCI: 42 minutes
- The Course: The country club, established in 1898, features an 18-hole course that underwent a renovation in 2003. The course offers tree-lined fairways with bent grass greens. The par-71 course measures 6,582 yards from the back tees and 5,992 from the white tees. The toughest holes include the par-4 443-yard sixth and the par-5 529-yard 10th.
- Day Trip Attraction: If you’re a fan of the Old West, St. Joseph is home to the Jesse James Home Museum, which is the home in which a member of the gang shot and killed James (but has been moved to its current location), and the Pony Express Museum, which includes historical artifacts related to the Pony Express.
- Eats: Consistently ranked as one of St. Joseph’s top restaurants is JC Wyatt House. Located downtown, JC Wyatt House is a little pricier than average, but the great food and the look of this restaurant, located in a historic Victorian 1891 home, is a lot different than most restaurants.
Tallgrass Country Club
- Location: Wichita, Kan.
- Phone: (316) 684-4110
- Web Site: tallgrasscc.com
- Directions from KCI: Take I-29 south to Exit 9B to Mo-152 west; Take MO-152 to I-435 south; take Exit 12 to I-70 west; take I-70 to I-470 west; take I-470 to I-335 south; take I-335 south to I-35 south; take Exit 53 to KS-96 west; take 21st Street Exit to Tallgrass Country Club (some toll roads on this route)
- Drive Time from KCI: 2 hours, 54 minutes
- The Course: The 18-hole country club course features water on several holes, adding to the challenge of playing at Tallgrass. The par-71 course measures 6,758 yards from the back tees and 6,195 from the white tees. The toughest hole on the front nine is the straight-away par-4 sixth, measuring 420 yards from the back tees. On the back nine, the 454-yard par-4 16th challenges long hitters.
- Day Trip Attraction: Wichita has been associated with aviation for many years, thanks in part to Boeing being a significant employer and to a large U.S. Air Force presence. The Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita is located in Wichita’s former airport and in a former U.S. Air Force building.
- Eats: The Newport Grill specializes in steak and seafood, offering a series of entrees that aren’t duplicated elsewhere in Wichita. The restaurant is well known for an outstanding Sunday brunch offering as well that you could eat before heading to Tallgrass.
Leavenworth Golf Club
- Location: Leavenworth, Kan.
- Phone: (913) 727-6600
- Web Site: leavenworthgc.com
- Directions from KCI: Take I-29 south to Exit 9B to Mo-152 west; Take MO-152 to I-435 south; take Exit 18 to KS-5 north; take KS-5 to Eisenhower Road to Leavenworth Golf Club
- Drive Time from KCI: 32 minutes
- The Course: The Leavenworth Golf Club is an 18-hole par-70 course measuring 5,925 yards from the back tees and 5,580 yards from the white tees. The most challenging hole on the front nine is the 360-yard par-4 fifth, which requires an approach shot over water, while the back nine’s toughest hole is the 372-yard par-4 10th, also involving an approach shot over water. It originally opened in 1920 as a private course, but now is open to the public. The site includes a full fitness center, as well as a swimming pool.
- Day Trip Attraction: The Fort Leavenworth Army Installation was one of the first posts established west of the Missouri River. The grounds include the impressive Buffalo Soldier Monument. Understand that this is an active military base, so security measures are enforced. You may want to research what’s involved before visiting, because passing through security can be time-consuming.
- Eats: Leavenworth is well-known for being home to a U.S. penitentiary, and the Metropolitan Steak House is known as, “The Little Steak House Across from the Big House.” It’s a traditional steak house with excellent food, including steaks, burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, and sides. It’s a perfect stop after a day of golf!
Clinton Country Club
- Location: Clinton, Mo.
- Phone: (660) 885-2521
- Web Site: clinton-country-club.com
- Directions from KCI: Take I-29 south, merging with US-71 and I-49 to Harrisonville; Take exit 157 to MO Hwy 7 south; once in Clinton, turn onto MO-52 E / Price Lane; turn south onto Vansant Rd, then left onto NE 100 Rd and continue 1.8mi. to Clinton Country Club
- Drive Time from KCI: 1 hour, 41 minutes
- The Course: Clinton Country Club was founded over 100 years ago, making it a historic stop, as well as a fun day of golf. In 1992, it was extended to an 18-hole course with a clubhouse, driving range, pool and tennis courts for its members. The course is a par-72 layout that measures over 6500 yards from the back tees. The front nine is headlined by opening and closing par-5s – both at a moderate length just under 500 yards. The back nine plays longer, with a challenging par-4 13th that plays as along as 424 yards from the tips. Before, during, or after the round, the casual dining “Sweet Spot” features breakfast and lunch options.
- Day Trip Attraction: Clinton sits near Truman Lake, known as a fantastic fishery for bass and crappie anglers. The lake covers 56,000 acres and includes several public use areas and two marinas. Fishing guides are available to take you out to find what’s biting. In addition, the Katy Trail State Park starts in Clinton and is a 240 mile long developed rail-trail that stretches all the way to Machens with 26 trailheads and 4 fully restored railroad depots. Katy Trail is open to hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding and offers scenic views as it wanders along through historic small towns.
- Eats: Mallard’s Roadhouse is easily accessible right on Hwy 7 and is known for big burgers, hearty steaks, and “home cooking” like fried chicken, catfish, and BBQ. El Camino Real is a favorite for authentic Mexican food and Square 109 is where to get a hearty breakfast before hitting the links or the lake. Square 109, like the name suggests, is right on the historic downtown square.
The Club at MariMack
- Location: Kearney, Mo.
- Phone: (816) 628-4800
- Web Site: clubatmarimack.com
- Directions from KCI: Take I-435 east to Exit 41B to US-169 north; take US-169 to MO-92 east to The Club at MariMack
- Drive Time from KCI: 31 minutes
- The Course: The 18-hole public executive course opened in the late 1980s. The Club at MariMack opened a new clubhouse and swimming pool in 2015, as well as a sports bar and restaurant in the clubhouse. It’s a par-54 executive course measuring 2,417 yards that’s great for a day trip, because you can play the entire 18 par-3 holes in just a few hours. The 209-yard first and 183-yard 18th are the two longest holes on the course.
- Day Trip Attraction: If you appreciated the Old West attractions at St. Joseph we mentioned earlier, you’ll want to visit the Jesse James Birthplace Museum in Kearney. Guided tours are available as well as numerous attractions and historical artifacts for viewing throughout the grounds.
- Eats: The Slivinskis Bakery offers freshly made pastries and donuts daily, making this a great place to stop before heading to the golf course. Just make sure you stop here early, because the local residents love this place and may buy out the donut selection before lunch time!