Golfers who give Liberty Hills a try will be pleasantly surprised. In over two years of new management by GreatLife, the 6,530-yard, par 70 course located a few miles east of Liberty, in a pastoral setting off Highway 69, has undergone important renovation. And membership is growing.
“It’s definitely increased from last year,” said manager Carmen Titus. “We had a lot of Excelsior Springs members come down. It’s great. We’re growing every minute.”
The affordable membership plans begin at $49.99/month and the family membership is just $69.99/month.
“That will get you unlimited golf,” she said. “You can go to most any of the other GreatLife golf courses, basically for a cart fee. The family membership also includes our pool.”
The pool opened Memorial Day weekend and provides a great opportunity for a fun family outing.
“Why not?” Titus said. “Go play a little golf, go to the pool. Have a great day.”
Titus believes being a part of the GreatLife family is helping to increase interest in Liberty Hills.
“It definitely helps grow our membership, absolutely,” she said. “We’re kind of out in the middle of nowhere, trying to compete with Shoal or Tiffany or Staley or Hodge, even. There’s just enough courses around, that to draw people out here it definitely helps to have a nice membership that then has a good reciprocity with other clubs.”
The golf course has an easy-going atmosphere.
“Everybody seems to know everybody, and really get along,” Titus said. “It’s very family oriented which is kind of nice. It’s a cool family atmosphere out here. Everybody gets along with everybody.”
The facility features other amenities, such as the Pavilion, available for weddings, graduation parties, and banquets, plus men’s and women’s leagues, and, for the first time ever, Liberty Hills is participating in the Kansas City Cup. But it’s really the golf course itself which gives Liberty Hills its charm.
“I feel it’s kind of an old-style course,” she said. “It’s tighter; it’s not super long. What makes it tough is you’ve got to hit the fairways. The greens have some cool character. A lot of the courses tend to be flat, just sloped back to front. These have really, really nice character. You’ve definitely got to pick your spot out there. It’s fun.”
Titus enjoys the challenges on numbers 8, 9, and 18.
“Number 8, a par three, you’ve got to hit it over the water,” she said. “There’s some par threes that are tough, usually they have some water around them. Number 9 and 18 are cool. You have to hit two good shots or it’s easy to make a big number.”
“There’s a couple really tough holes out here,” said member Jeremy Zimmerman. “Hole 2 would travel to any course in the Kansas City area. It’s still up towards the top among the toughest holes. You’ve got out of bounds left. You’ve got a lateral hazard nature area to the right. It’s a narrow fairway, and then it plays 460 yards from the back tee box.”
“And if you miss it right, you’ve got a trap that’s about eighty or ninety feet long,” added member Al Neal. “It wraps from the front all the way to the back.”
Number 2 used to be a par five, Zimmerman explained.
“They converted it to a par four and did the same on hole 11 out here, so it made it a par 70,” he said. “It put some teeth into the course. It’s not a long course. At a par 70 it makes it the equivalent of maybe a 6800, 6900-yard par 72 course.”
Other holes have some challenge, too.
“Hole 7, it’s out of bounds to the right; from the back tees it also plays pretty long,” Zimmerman said. “It’s uphill the whole way and 450 (yards). There’s fairway and green-side traps the whole way so it plays really well. And hole 8 is a 200-yard par three that has a trap out front. It slopes towards the water and has water on basically three sides of the green. Playing from the back tees it plays 200-205 yards, depending upon where the pin’s set. That’s all you want.”
“They ought to blow up Number 18 because it’s so darned hard,” Neal joked. “It’s got water, but it rarely comes into play.”
Both Zimmerman and Neal joined Liberty Hills in October.
“It’s tight,” said Neal of the fairways. “You’ve got to be able to hit your tee ball. Out here, everything plays off your tee ball. If you don’t hit a good tee ball, you struggle. If you hit a good tee ball, then you have a pretty good opportunity at par. The tee shot is the key here.”
While there are challenges along the course, there are also chances to score, too.
“The course sets up nice for your typical amateur golfer,” Zimmerman said. “It has the amenities that allow for their optimal scoring opportunities. If you can get off the tee and hit it in the fairway, you have a really good opportunity to score out here. If you’re playing the appropriate tee for how far you’re going to be hitting the ball, you’re looking at a lot of short to – at most – mid-irons in. So, your amateur golfer that’s playing the appropriate tee for how far they can hit the driver, they’re going to have a lot of chances to hit wedges and make some birdies.”
“Or is looking to at least relax a little bit, from the strain,” Neal added. “You don’t want to have 18 hard holes.”
Liberty Hills has something to offer a wide variety of golfers.
“The USGA course rating out here has us one and a half shots harder than par, from the back tees,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a decent challenge for your amateur golfer. A competition-ready college player or your typical club pro, they should be able to walk around this course under par fairly easily. But your typical once or twice a week Sunday golfer, they’re going to have a challenge out here, but still have the opportunity to score. It’s a fun course to play.”
One of the things which impressed the pair is the consistency of the course.
“For me the first impression is the tees are mowed, the fairways are mowed, the greens are mowed,” Neal said. “The greens are at a good speed and you can count on that before you leave your house. Those four minimum things are going to be done. It’s got good green speed, somewhere around eight or nine most days and with the undulations on the greens, that’s a good speed.”
Both Zimmerman and Neal like what they’ve seen so far.
“I’d say give it a chance,” Zimmerman offered to prospective Liberty Hills players. He considers it a good place “if you’re looking for somewhere that plays well and has a reasonable membership rate.”
“We gave it a chance,” Neal said. “It goes back to what are your expectations. Be consistent so that every day you go out it’ll be the same.”
For more information about Liberty Hills, visit their website or call 816-781-3636.