Shiloh Springs – Just Like Home (But With Great Golf)

Shiloh Springs

You can feel at home playing Shiloh Springs. The 6,339-yard par 71 course located a few miles east of Platte City prides itself on providing a small-town atmosphere.
“I would say if you want to feel at home, play golf here,” said General Manager and Head Professional Jason Rudolph, PGA. “I got offered a great opportunity here and I was made to feel at home, and that’s what I want to do for everybody else.”

Rudolph took over the GM spot in July last year, working with Kemper Sports.

“The big question when Kemper Sports came last year was if they’re going to try to change, try to make it this high-end golf,” he said. “What I told the staff the first day I met them is ‘Shiloh Springs is Shiloh Springs’. We’re just going to improve what Shiloh Springs is, letting people know we’re not going to go to a $100 rate. That’s just not us. It kind of calmed some nerves.”

Primarily, he has a goal to raise awareness of this “hidden gem” of the Northland. Admitting it has become one of his biggest challenges, Rudolph went on to explain that once golfers try Shiloh Springs, they remark what a great course it is. That, he says, leads to some really positive word of mouth marketing. He sees golfers come back often – and they usually bring their friends along for their first visit as well.

Shiloh Springs

Shiloh gains repeat customers and a lot of really good word of mouth because of their quality golf offering, but also because they treat their guests like family. “One thing we do differently is our outside service people are up here at the top of the ramp with a cart,” he said. “And when somebody pulls in we go out and ask them ‘can I load your clubs for you?’ I’ve had so many people come to me and say ‘there’s nobody else in town that does that’, at least at a public golf course. First impressions are everything. If you start things off well, it makes for an enjoyable round for the person to play and then that’s repeat business, too.”

Rudolph doesn’t focus all his attention on the first impression though. He is acutely aware and wants the whole experience to be a good one, all the way to the parking lot at the end of the day. “When people are leaving, all of our staff, including myself, we say thanks for coming out and we hope to see you back.”

It’s the kind of personal, small-town touch that leaves an indelible positive impression on customers. “Maybe it is kind of corny to do something like that, because people don’t expect it, but it’s Shiloh Springs,” Rudolph said. “It goes back to taking care of our customers. That’s what it’s all about.”

As part of their focus on customer care, Shiloh has completely renovated its restaurant, with great assistance from GSCAA Superintendent Mike Shriner. “We finally got done with it the end of February,” he said. “Everything in here is new, from chairs and tables to flooring, walls are brand new.”

New irons

The remodeling project has been well-received by members and guests.

“The one thing that I noticed is that after (Tuesday’s men’s league), nobody would stick around,” Rudolph said of the restaurant prior to renovation. “They’d get in the car and go home or wherever. But this year, I’ve noticed they’ve started sticking around. One is because we’ve remodeled and it’s more inviting to be here, but then we’re starting to offer more things. It’s to get kind of a lunch crowd, kind of like it used to be. People used to come out here for lunch. It kind of went away for years and that’s what we’re trying to bring back. We want it to be a community family feel.”

Food & Beverage Manager Roger Rose has upgraded the menu, adding Taco Tuesday and Burger Thursday – with a new and different offering each week – along with the occasional Steak Night, when Rose will fire up the grill while golfers are out on the course.

“Now everybody’s sticking around,” Rudolph said. “It’s great to see so many people, whereas last year we might have a table or two and that’s it.”

Shiloh is also doing some non-traditional things to help bring folks to the course, even if it’s not to play golf, by hosting a variety of events in their banquet room.

“I just hired a marketing person and she’s a rock star,” Rudolph said of Sales & Marketing Manager Justina Cox. “The idea was to get more events to come. What we’re really focused on is getting weddings and banquets. We’re kind of focused on smaller, intimate weddings, where people don’t want to go and rent a big hall for a hundred people. We’re the perfect place to do something (on a smaller scale).”

Shiloh Springs

In addition to offerings of weddings and banquets, Shiloh provides seminars for charities to teach them how to run a successful fundraising golf tournament. Another popular offering are their vendor events which permit vendors to use table space for showcasing their goods and services.

“One thing for us is it gets more eyes on the golf course,” Rudolph explained. “It gives you eyes for future graduation parties, future weddings, future business meetings. That’s what we’re focused on; getting more eyes on the golf course.”

And it’s a course which deserves more eyes. “One thing I like about the course, it’s not like when you get up on a lot of other golf courses, all of the par threes are basically the same distance,” he said. “Our par threes really vary. You do have a couple that are kind of similar, but it goes back to how windy it is that day because as we all know it’s going to affect what club you pull out. But, that’s what I love about the golf course. It’s not cookie cutter.”

Designed and built in 1995 by Gary Martin – who still lives on the golf course – Shiloh Springs has enough variety to keep regulars interested and challenge golfers of every stripe.
“It’s not an overly long golf course by any means,” Rudolph said. “But it is challenging. It’s what I call more of target golf. You have to hit certain spots – it’s about more than just getting up on the tee box and whaling away.”

New irons

The slightly shorter distances make for reachable greens.

“It’s not 7000 yards where you have to have the big hitters,” he said. “There are some holes that bigger hitters, on par 5s, can get there in two. But there are also some par 5s that are shorter than can allow the average golfers to get there in two to make it possible to get a birdie, or even better. I like that aspect. I’ve played many tours and I’ve played all the long golf courses and it kind of gets a little daunting with hitting drivers or hybrids all the time.”

Shiloh players should be prepared to make quality shots with every club. “With this course you’re going to use every club in your bag,” Rudolph explained. “There are some holes where you’re going to use a driver and a four iron into a par 4. But, there are also some where it’s an eight iron and there are some where it’s all the way down to a pitching wedge. The course gives you a variety of shots out there.”

Players have to think through how they want to approach each hole. “The way I look at it, it’s all about placement,” he said. “The way I attack the golf course when I play it, it’s where do you want to be for your second shot. It’s not ‘I’m going to bomb it out there’. Sometimes you need to bomb it out there, and you might hit it in the fairway, but it might be on the wrong side of the fairway from where you want to go to the hole, or it puts you in a bad position where you’re in between clubs. That’s what I like about it.”

Shiloh Springs

Overall, it’s a course that requires precision shots with a front nine that is more target golf – requiring those precise shots and positioning the ball to attack the greens. The back nine, then, works it’s way from the hills to the valley portion of the land the course sits upon. Once back here, it can be a different kind of target golf. “The front nine you’ve got more of the hills,” Rudolph said, “It gives you the variety. It almost makes you feel like you’re playing two different golf courses between the front nine and back.”

Just as with the friendly staff, the course itself makes a great first and last impression with par-four #1 and par-three #18, both of which require long shots over the pond.

“You don’t really see finishing par-three’s on a lot of golf courses,” he said. “On the first hole, you have to tee off and go across the pond, but then on the last, you have to tee off on a par-three and finish across the same pond. It’s not your traditional finishing hole, which I think makes it kind of unique out here. Most people love it. Some people don’t like it because they want to finish on a par five or long par four. But, I like it because it kind of winds you down after your long round.”

And there are few places where it’s easier to wind down than the home-town feel of Shiloh Springs.

For more information about Shiloh, visit or call 816-270-4653.

Maintain Posture and Eliminate Early Extension

Eliminate early extension

Early extension in the golf swing occurs when the lower body moves toward the golf ball during the downswing. Early extension causes the arms and club to get stuck behind the body during the downswing and causes the upper body to rise up through the hitting zone. The body essentially gets in the way of the hands and arms through impact. Therefore, players that create this loss of posture during the downswing typically create misses that consist of blocks, pulls and hooks. In other words, the ball can go in just about any direction depending on your timing, but rarely straight. Some call this the two way miss.

Professional players create power from the ground up while amateurs often create power from the top down. The correct pelvic movements will translate to longer, straighter shots. Early extension is the result of a swing fault or physical limitation. Drills can help correct swing faults while exercise and stretches are often required to correct physical limitations. The inability to perform a deep squat or hip bend can lead to early extension. Muscle imbalances in the glutes or abdominal areas often lead to the lower body thrusting forward during the downswing.

Deep Squat Test

Begin by standing straight up, extending your arms out with your thumbs up in the air. Next, place your thumbs back on your shoulders so your elbows point in front of you. Make sure your toes are hip-width apart and point straight in front of you. Keeping both heels on the ground, begin to squat as far down as you can go. A full squat allows the thighs to go past parallel with the ground and your butt should be below your knees. Full mobility allows you to go all the way down and return back to your starting position. If you can’t complete the squat, the lack of mobility and stability in your body is potentially causing you to early extend in your downswing.

Eliminate early extension

 Adam Scott makes the correct rotational movement with his pelvis throughout the swing. The yellow line remains against his backside from setup through impact.

Alignment Stick Drill

Begin by taking an alignment stick and placing it vertically in the ground. Next, take your address position and allow your backside to rest up against the stick. The proper pelvic movements maintain your backside against the stick throughout the swing sequence. Players that early extend during the downswing thrust their pelvis forward toward the ball and away from the stick. Once you swing the club and properly rotate your hips and maintain your backside against the stick you have eliminated the early extension in the swing.

Sweep Drill

This drill is great to work on maintaining posture, creating an effective shoulder plane and developing the correct pelvic movement during the downswing. You can use any club for this drill. Begin by taking your stance and cross your arms with each hand on your opposite shoulder. Place the grip of the club in your left hand a few inches below your collar bone while holding the club in place with your hands crossing your chest. The end of the club should point the opposite direction of your target. Initiate a swing by turning your upper body that simulates a backswing. Your shoulder should point on the other side of the ball and target line while the end of the club points down toward the ball. Next, rotate your lead hip while your upper body returns back toward the ball.

The extended club should point toward the ball while your upper body maintains its spine angle. The lead hip should be in an open position and rotating, but not thrusting toward the ball. The downswing simulation should help feel the correct pelvic rotation and not thrust. Combine the Alignment Stick drill with the Sweep drill for quicker results. Eliminating early extension is a complicated problem. With practice, you will learn the correct pelvic movement and eliminate those two-way misses.

— Matt Keller, PGA

About the Author:
Matt Keller is a PGA Golf Professional with over 15 years of experience. Matt is a graduate of the Penn State PGM Program. Throughout his career he has worked at courses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida and Delaware. Matt has conducted thousands of golf lessons to players of all ages and ability levels. Currently, he is a PGA Professional at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club located near Bethany Beach, DE.

Forgiveness, Control, Trajectory, and Spin – New Irons for 2016

New Irons 2016

2016’s new irons feature hot faces, great feel, and improved sole designs. Whether you’re looking for better ball flight, more forgiveness, or just need some extra juice for longer shots, there’s an iron set for everyone at any skill level.

Club manufacturers make irons in three general classifications: Game Improvement, Max-Game Improvement, and Better Player.

Game Improvement Irons

Irons designated as “game improvement” are designed for better ball flight and distance. They are engineered towards the majority of middle handicap golfers, as well as higher handicappers aspiring to play better and have a more versatile club in their hands, as well as lower handicap players who feel they may want more forgiveness.

Testers report that if you hit the ball in the wrong spot on the face, you’ll still feel it, but a game improvement iron will help keep the ball in a tight dispersal pattern without sacrificing too much distance.

Game improvement irons might be considered a “mellower” version of a players iron. You won’t be hitting Bubba-like bends around trees, but you can still create some shot shape if you need it.

A sampling of 2016’s game improvement irons include:

New irons

Cobra King F6 irons were Gold Award winners on Golf Digest’s Hot List for 2016.

They feature four distinct head styles: hollow long irons, half-hollow mid-irons, cavity-back short irons and solid, one-piece wedges.

Cobra King F6 irons offer high-launch to get you over obstacles and play very solid from the rough.

They’re very accurate and give you a little sidespin without going overboard. Mid-irons and hybrids fly where you aim and land soft, even on mis-hits.

Testers report the Cobra King F6 Irons swing easy, but still feel solid through impact.

New irons

Mizuno JPX-EZ Forged irons were created when Mizuno added boron to their signature “Grain Flow” forged steel to boost head strength by 30 percent. The 1025 Boron material enables Mizuno to make a thinner face for better distance while enhancing the Power Frame design to maximize forgiveness.

Testers reported they loved the sole on these irons saying they cut clean divots and help get you out of trouble from the rough.

They’ll give you high launch, great forgiveness, excellent control from any yardage, and very dialed-in chips and pitches.

The Mizuno irons feel smooth with cavity back-level forgiveness and superior turf interaction typically found in better player’s irons.

New irons

Nike’s Vapor Fly Pro irons present some players club characteristics with medium flight and high-end control. Testers reported they were very accurate and forgiving on thin and heavy shots.

You’ll need a quality swing and good distance to make this club work, but the Vapor Fly Pro’s excellent versatility and precision accuracy make it a solid choice for golfers trying to move out of the 80s and into the 70s.

Max Game Improvement Irons

Designed for maximum forgiveness, Max Game Improvement irons are designed to help beginners, high handicappers and slower swinging golfers to get the ball in the air easier and keep it straight. They offer a larger head which means a much larger sweet spot, and typically have a broader sole and more perimeter weighting, both of which make the clubs easier to hit. The drawback of some of those features is that they can get hung up more in the rough, and its tough to hit a bending shot around a tree or to avoid other trouble.

Some Max Game Improvement irons to consider include:

New irons

Callaway XR OS irons feature wide soles to improve contact from a wide variety of lies. The OS stands for “oversize” so it comes as no surprise that the overall head shape is larger and easier to hit.

Testers found the XR OS irons made it easy to get the ball airborne and gave a naturally high trajectory. Ball flight was very straight but better players might be able to shape a few shots with them.

The irons are nicely balanced with excellent accuracy, transforming bad swings into acceptable shots. They play very well from the rough.

Callaway XR OS irons combine first-class accuracy, ease of use, and solid feel with confidence-boosting forgiveness.

New irons

Cobra Max irons are also designed for higher handicap golfers. They offer great forgiveness in the longer irons and a special wedge design to help golfers in the scoring areas closest to the hole.

Cobra Max irons optimize spin and launch with Cobra’s Progressive Spin Technology. The 4 to 6 irons reduce spin with V-grooves for distance. U-grooves in the 7 to pitching wedge increase spin to help stop the ball on the putting surface.

These irons launch the ball high and are very forgiving on mis-hits. Their distance control is reliable and they have enough oomph to give you the yards you need to get to the green.

Testers report the irons are stable and give you plenty of thump through the ball. A good, solid click at impact delivers enough feedback to let you know how well you hit the ball.

A solid choice for golfers that need a little extra help.

New irons

TaylorMade AeroBurner irons are designed with a special “Speed Pocket” that’s cut into the sole to promote higher launch and more speed on low-impact shots.

AeroBurners have a wide sole that cuts easily through turf and helps launch the ball on heavy contact.

These clubs are very accurate when struck solidly, but can help a little with directional misses as well. They can also give mis-hits enough distance to get you close.

If you strike it pure, you’ll get that “crushed it” feel. The irons have plenty of head weight to maintain stability through the swing and deliver a consistent and tolerable feel on small mis-hits.

If you’re a high handicapper, you’ll love the AeroBurner’s rocketing ball flight.

Better Player Irons

The Better Player Iron category is really two sub-categories: 1) “Blade” irons that are very traditional in appearance and performance, sacrificing forgiveness to enhance workability and precision; 2) Irons that have some forgiveness features like a cavity back, but come in a smaller profile that allows them to perform well in thick rough and still provide some degree of workability. Often, pros will have a combo set, going with blades in their short and middle irons before switching to cavity-backed long irons.

A few Better Player irons for your consideration include:

New irons

Callaway Apex Pro irons are designed with a higher center of gravity (CG) in the short irons to boost control and a lower CG in the long irons to help get your shots in the air and land softly.

These irons will help you hit draws, fades, knockdowns … whatever shot you need to get it close to the pin. The thin sole picks balls cleanly off tight lies and powers through nasty rough. If you hit the long irons right, you’ll be rewarded with a very true ball flight.

The short irons are almost surgically precise, but there’s enough forgiveness to help your mis-hits reach the fringe rather than land in the bunker.

Callaway Apex Pro irons offer a great mix of distance, shot-shaping capability, and score-dropping forgiveness.

New irons

Titleist 716 AP2 irons are great tools for good golfers who really like to shape shots.

They offer a medium to high flight, but provide the precision needed to control the trajectory to fit any golfing situation. The updated sole slides through turf with ease.

For good swingers this club is like a laser-guided missile launcher. But testers found the irons surprisingly forgiving in direction and distance even with the pin-point accuracy they’ll give you.

If you want to improve the precision of your iron shots, the Titleist 716 AP2’s are worth a look.

New irons

Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 irons are another better players iron that Testers report are very easy to hit. The “Speed Sole” slides through the ground without catching or digging even from nasty, uneven lies.

Shots will fly high and straight, but golfers still have the ability to hit gentle fades and draws into tucked pins. Center hits will be deadly accurate, while misses won’t send you to the bar cart.

The head and shaft work together for easy tracking throughout the swing and better timing. The shorter irons offer better control on chips and pitches.

If you think you’re ready to transition toward a player’s iron, the Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 might be the set for you.

New irons

Ben Hogan’s Ft. Worth Irons are definitely worth a look as the company has incorporated several innovative ideas into their design. The Hogan company’s goal with the Ft. Worth Irons is to achieve the perfect “… combination of feel, consistency, accuracy and forgiveness …”.

One tester was quoted in a recent online review saying they’re capable of producing any shot he could imagine, but also “… provide plenty of support for days when I bring my “C” game.”

An interesting innovation in these irons is the Hogan PreciseLoft System. The lofts are stamped on the irons instead of numbers. They’re made in lofts from 20° to 47° and the wedges go from 48° to 63°. The Hogan PreciseLoft System is an attempt by the company to get away from the trend of maximizing distance and move golfers toward hitting lofts that produce consistent and accurate distance gaps.

Testers reported the irons enter the turf easily with a great feel of compression and explode out of the dirt quickly after impact. Because of their low-bounce sole, the leading edge sits close to the ground, so you can hit them out of really tight lies.

2016’s iron sets offer significant improvements for golfers of all skill levels. Visit your local golf pro and find a set that’s right for your game today!

Whiskey and Golf – Enough Said

Whiskey and Golf

To quote the famous Mark Twain, who once claimed, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough” so do many think similarly of golf. In fact, it has been said, and often attempted to be confirmed, that it takes eighteen shots to finish off a fifth of Scotch and thus, why the Scottish invented the game to cover eighteen holes. Any more to a round of golf and a golfer would have to play dry over the last few holes.

While that specific connection may or may not be true, it is true that Scotch and golf have gone together as long as the game, and possibly as long as the drink, have been around. But Scotch is just one form of whiskey and it takes a discerning golfer, or reader, to understand and appreciate the world of whiskeys.

Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey, American Whiskey, Canadian Whiskey, Single Malts, Blends – they all can be more intimidating than which new driver to buy. To that end, we at KC Golfer Magazine decided to help you out. We have sampled a lot of the Whiskey world – and while that sampling went well beyond our fair share over the years, our thirst (pun intended) for more knowledge about our favored flavors led us to perform a bit of research.

That’s how we landed ourselves at Paddy O’Quigley’s Pub & Grille in Leawood (also – one of our editors is a co-owner of Paddy’s). It should be noted that Paddy’s prides itself as having American Bourbons, Single Malt Scotch Whisky’s and the best selection of Irish Whiskey’s allowed in the State of Kansas. With the aid of that fine establishment’s owners and bartenders, and with the assist of some of their suppliers/distributors, we crafted this short guide through the world of whiskeys.

Briefly, all whiskey is distilled from a fermented grain mash. Malt whiskey is made only from malted barley, while grain whiskey is made from malted barley along with other grains. You might have heard of single malt whiskey. It is malt whiskey from a single distillery. Meanwhile, what is known as vatted malt contains malt whiskeys from different distilleries. Finally, blended whiskeys contain a mix of malt and grain whiskeys, often from different distilleries. Which one is better is for the taster to decide. Some feel a single malt is more “pure”, while fans of blended whiskeys point out that a good one combines the best whiskeys from the best distilleries to create a superior flavor.

Scotch and Irish Whiskeys

Whiskey and Golf

Both Scotch Whisky (spelled without the “e”) and Irish Whiskey (with the “e”) come in single malt and blended. Perhaps the most notable flavor difference comes from how the Irish dry their malted barley.  It is dried in kilns rather than the Scotch method of using peat fires to instill the smokey flavor of many popular Scotches.  The Irish say this lets the natural flavor and depth of the whiskey come through without the added smoke which can overshadow some of its subtleties. And Irish Whiskey uses a blend of malted and unmalted barley, while the Scotch use exclusively malted barley. Many Scotch afficianados enjoy peaty Scotches – the peatier, the better in their estimation. The best way to describe a peaty Scotch is “smokey” tasting, as described above – almost like having a mild cigar.

Another distinction: Irish whiskey tends to be higher in alcohol content – which many say only enhances its medicinal qualities.  The reason for this is Irish whiskey is usually triple distilled to increase the purity and smoothness of the spirit.  Each turn through the still makes the finished product more refined and of a higher quality, while also increasing its strength.

Whiskey and Golf

Dewar’s is a well-known blended scotch and a very popular single malt, the Macallan, are good places to start a journey into Scotches for the uninitiated. Other beloved single malt Scotches include Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Oban, Glenmorangie. A good Irish whiskey that is fairly common is Jameson’s. It is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley. It’s often listed alongside Bushmill’s, another favored Irish whiskey. It’s been said that Jameson is preferred by Catholics and Bushmill’s is a Protestant potable. From there, many will try Tullamore DEW and graduate up to the very good, very smooth, very expensive Midleton. Whatever the case, we think it best to take the high road and enjoy them both. From there you can jump off into other Scotches and Irish Whiskeys – a good bartender can help you find your way around.

American and Canadian Whiskeys

On this side of the big pond we have our own American and Canadian whiskeys. Bourbon whiskey is one American version that is distilled from a mash that is at least 51% corn. The name is reported to have been derived from Bourbon County in Kentucky where early recipes and distilling processes were developed. Makers Mark is an excellent example of a good bourbon whiskey and one we suggest trying. The famous Jim Beam is one other. For a little more in terms of price, some other Kentucky favorites are Knob Creek or Elmer T. Lee, while Blanton’s and Booker’s are even better, for just slightly more of your wallet.

Whiskey and Golf

Perhaps our top favorite these days is Angel’s Envy – a relative newcomer available in Kansas and Missouri since about late 2014. Of course, on every bourbon-lover’s list is Pappy Van Winkle – a fairly rare, exceedingly expensive bourbon.

Rye whiskey, on the other hand, is another American style and is distilled from a mash that is at least 51% rye, giving it less of a sweeter taste than bourbon generally. While fairly rare just a few years ago, today it is quite easy to find a decent selection at your local liquor store or pub. Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Makers Mark and other big bourbon producers also make a rye whiskey. Some other ryes that are pretty common include Bulleit, Old Overholt, Woodford Reserve, and the aforementioned Angel’s Envy has a fairly pricey rye themselves as well.

It’s worth noting that Jack Daniels is neither a bourbon or a rye. Rather, it is a Tennessee whiskey which is much the same as bourbon, except it has been filtered through sugar maple charcoal, giving it a unique flavor. Many say that is what makes Jack Daniels such a treat.

Finally – what about our neighbors to the North and their whiskey? Canadian whiskeys often get their smoothness from malted rye, although they tend to be less strict on what other grains and how much of those grains make up the ingredients list. Almost all drinkers of spirits are familiar with Canadian Club or the more expensive Crown Royal. The biggest impact on us Americans that ever came from Canadian whiskey was during Prohibition. Bootleggers found it convenient to get their whiskey in Canada and run it across the border by truck or by boat into the US. Hiram Walker’s is one such distillery that, due to its proximity to Detroit, ended up doing a fair amount of business with “exporters” back in those days.

Whiskey Cocktails

Whiskey and Golf

Of course, whiskey doesn’t need to be enjoyed only by itself. Many enjoy their whiskey served in a variety of ways – often with other flavors and mixes. Popular whiskey drinks include the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and many others.

An Old-Fashioned is served over rocks or shaken and strained over a single, large ice cube. It is made up of whiskey (rye is very common, but bourbon is often used as well), some simple syrup (basically sugar water), and a dash or two of bitters. An orange or lemon twist is the garnish of choice. Some will add a cherry too.

A Mint Julep, for you Derby fans, is pretty similar. It has bourbon and simple syrup as well, but the glass is first prepared with muddled mint leaves and served with crushed ice. The garnish is usually a sprig of fresh mint leaves.

The Manhattan is made with whiskey (the type depends upon your taste: rye, bourbon, or Canadian whiskey), a little sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters and a garnish of a maraschino cherry. Most are served chilled and strained into a wide-rimmed, stemmed glass.

A Rob Roy is the same as a Manhattan, but with Scotch, while a Bobby Burns is a Rob Roy with a touch of Drambuie rather than the bitters. All of these drinks are stirred (or shaken) with ice, then strained and served straight up. When you are mixing them yourself, experiment with the whiskey-to-vermouth ratio to see how you like it best.

Perhaps the most popular Irish Whiskey cocktail might be the GinJa at Paddy O’Quigley’s, although we are sure there are others. But since most folks like their Irish whiskey neat, straight up, or on the rocks, there really aren’t many. The GinJa’s name is just a mash-up of the two main ingredients: Ginger Ale and Jameson. It’s a great summer cocktail when served on the rocks with a lime garnish.

Advanced Learning

Whiskey and Golf

Anyone who has had their whistle whetted by this blend of information about whiskey can certainly learn more. Simply pick up Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide By Michael Jackson and Dave Broom (Dk Pub, 2005). This has everything you will want to know about whiskey, including its history and how to pair it with food.

But, only the true whiskey die-hards need a book, our advice to you is the same you’ll find in any magazine article on wine, food or spirits: don’t take anyone’s word for it, go out and try the diverse world of whiskey for yourself. There are many Scotch and bourbon tastings occurring across the country where you can sample a wide variety of whiskey. The last bit of advice – if you do try to prove the old adage about shots of whiskey in a bottle matching the number of holes on a golf course, do so with at least a couple of friends to share it with. It will be more fun, and there’s a better chance you’ll make it back to the clubhouse.

Finally, as we opened with a quote, we’ll leave you with a few of our favorite whiskey quotes.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.

MLB pitcher Tug McGraw on his salary: “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.

Late Night Show host Johnny Carson: “Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.

Movie Star Errol Flynn: “I like my whisky old and my women young.”

Comedian W.C. Fields: “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”


Paradise Pointe: Much More Than a Golf Course

Paradise Pointe

Lakeside holes and a resort feel are not the only features of Paradise Pointe Golf Complex that make it a standout venue for golf.

Paradise Pointe is also renowned for the large selection of golf equipment and apparel at a time when pro shops at many golf courses are shrinking due to the competition posed from large sporting goods stores.

“We’ve always emphasized customer satisfaction for the entire golf experience – not only on the golf course but in the pro shop itself,” said Eddie Hall, General Manager and Director of Golf. “We want to give our customers the best opportunity to find the things that will improve their game. We do it at the best prices possible.”

Paradise Pointe on Smithville Lake north of Kansas City has two courses – The Posse, which opened in 1982, and the Outlaw, which came along in 1994. One pro shop serves both courses, which Hall manages under a contract with the owner of the course, Clay County.

The courses suffered flood damage last year, causing the closing of holes 4, 5, 6, and 7 on The Posse and hole 11 on The Outlaw. But the holes reopened on April 1st, with newly seeded fairways on the damaged holes and newly-sodded greens on both the Posse’s 4th and The Outlaw’s 11th.

Paradise Pointe

More details on the two golf courses and what they have to offer can be found in this earlier KC Golfer course feature.

Hall said pro shops at many golf courses lost business to big-box stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods or Golf Galaxy. Similar stores such as Academy Sports and Scheel’s have expanded in the Kansas City market in just the past two or three years, taking even more business from golf course shops.

Paradise Pointe has bucked the trend, retaining a full line of clubs, bags, shirts, shoes, balls and other equipment. “Other shops give up, but we don’t give up,” Hall said. “We look at it as an opportunity. We can offer what the bigger stores cannot.”

Customers not only get competitive prices from the Paradise Pointe shop, but professional club-fitting on the driving range, Hall said.

“We have an outdoor range for fitting golfers with the right clubs and set make up, but at most of these bigger stores you hit into a net,” Hall said. “Every shot looks good when you hit into a net.”

Paradise Pointe

Players can get custom-fit clubs back in about a week if the shop doesn’t have just the right clubs, shafts, or grips in stock, Hall said. Paradise Pointe also takes in and sells trade-in clubs – another much-appreciated purchasing option for customers, Hall said.

While any time is a great time to check out new golf clubs, Hall said that many golfers take advantage of their demo days with all when major manufacturer reps are on hand with the latest equipment. On their main demo day, it is common for about 700 to 800 people are expected each year to look over and try out the stock, but even if a golfer cannot make that day, Hall is ready to show every golfer any make or model they desire.

Hall said the best-selling irons as his shop these days are the M-series from Taylor Made, the XR lineup from Callaway and the G Series of clubs from Ping. The most popular drivers are the Ping G series and the Taylor Made M series, he said. Drivers keep providing more distance and accuracy, so Hall recommends taking advantage of the latest offerings to improve your game.

“All the manufacturers continue to put out products that will increase both of those,” Hall said. “We thought they hit their limit a few years ago.”

Hall said the greater distance is being achieved by thinning and extending the club face, giving the ball more of a “trampoline” effect off the club head while remaining within the guidelines of the USGA.

Paradise Pointe

As for golf balls, the biggest sellers continue to be the Titelest Pro V1, for about $48 per dozen, and the Titlelist TruSoft and Callaway Supersoft at $21 a box, Hall said.
Four popular brands of shoes are also sold at Paradise Pointe – Nike, Puma, FootJoy and Adidas, Hall said. There are also racks full of golf shirts, pullovers and other apparel to go along with the equipment, he said.

“This is the time when everything starts to come in,” Hall said “We are getting full for the summer.”

Complete information about Paradise Pointe, including Tee Times, is available on the course website, The phone number is 816-532-4100.

Sand Creek – Exceptional Golfing Worth the Trip

Sand Creek

There’s a story. Of course there’s a story – and it’s one that makes for a good day trip, among other things. A single tree on a 613-yard par-5, the second hole on a links-style golf course, is not bestowed the honor of a nickname without a story. As trees tend to go on golf courses, this one was a problem. For starters, it was huge – a “goliath” as Sand Creek Station head pro Zach Frey described it. And it was also directly impeding architect Jeff Brauer’s intended design for the hole.

Now, Brauer had dealt with trees well before he took on Sand Creek Station, which opened in Newton in 2006. He has been designing golf courses for nearly four decades, launching his career with Kemper Lakes Golf Course, site of the 1989 PGA Championship, the first of many indelible enterprises. He knew just what to do with this goliath: He’d use it, leaving it to stand as a massive, golf ball-swallowing sentry guarding the green, which sits 613 yards away from the tee box, depending on what tees you play from. “It’s basically a catcher’s mitt ready to catch any ball that attempts to get by,” Frey said.

With the presence of that gargantuan tree, now affectionately named after the architect himself, the second hole became one of the most difficult on the course. But the delight of navigating the links at Sand Creek Station stems far beyond mastering an approach shot around Brauer’s Tree.  For Kansas City golfers – a day trip to visit Sand Creek Station is worth the journey, both in terms of getting there and in taking on this exceptional golf course.

Sand Creek

That journey culminates in a scenic treat taking golfers along the rolling hills and railroads of Newton, Kansas. That trip also features the longest par-5 in the Sunflower State, water on eight holes, and native grasses – as opposed to the typical tree-lined fairways and other common parkland course features seen most often in this region.

Brauer, much as he did with his eponymous tree, used the landscape around him to create a course that presents golfers with a historical narrative, both through golf and the town of Newton itself. The par-5 16th is invariably the most recognizable, having been modeled after the famous Road Hole at St. Andrew’s.

“As you get closer to the green, you recognize the railroad running adjacent to the green as well as the famous pot bunker tucked in the front corner of a two-tiered green,” Frey said. It would seem a no-brainer that a hole with such a lofty doppelganger would be deemed the course’s “signature hole.” But no – that honor belongs to No. 10, the one known simply as “The Beast.”

The name is well-deserved. At 648 yards from the back tees, it is the longest par-5 in the state, which hardly begins to scratch the surface of the hole’s difficulty. Off the tee, water borders the left while a railroad lines the right. Find the fairway and you’ll be rewarded with a second shot in which the water has flipped to the right and out of bounds now glares from the left.

Sand Creek

“There’s no easy way to play the hole,” Frey said. “Plus, you normally have a stiff summer breeze blowing directly in your face the whole way home.”

The course sounds daunting, yes, something that superintendent James Houchen and the rest of the Sand Creek Station staff took into account when they made the decision to construct three additional tee boxes on the most difficult holes “to ensure golfers of all ages and skill levels can enjoy,” Frey said.

And when he mentions “all skill levels,” he does mean all. Despite its youth – Sand Creek is only 10 years old – the course has already hosted a Tour Pro-Am, a high school state championship, the NJCAA Men’s Division I National Championship (twice), as well as the last ever U.S. amateur Public Links Championship.

Prior to hosting those events, Sand Creek was named the No. 2 public golf course in the state by GolfWeek in 2007, and in 2006 was recognized by GOLF Magazine as a Top 10 Course you can play in December. These days, it’s not uncommon to run into pro golfers Bruce Vaughnn and Woody Austin, who occasionally stop by.

“Our tag line ‘Public Course, Private Experience’ is something we strive to live up to day in and day out,” Frey said. “Houchen and his very small crew work non-stop year round to supply our customers with one of the best kept facilities around.”

Sand Creek

Sand Creek Station offers a rare blend of well-kept and affordable golf, with rates that never eclipse the $50 threshold, even to non-local weekend players. It seems to be keeping in tune with the small town atmosphere of Newton, with just 12 miles and a population of roughly 19,000 to its name. It’s something that Brauer even embraced in his design, when he wound several of the holes alongside the town’s historic railroads.

“The railways provided an added perk that many golfers are not anticipating while playing golf,” Frey said. “The constant distraction of the loud rail cars and horns blowing would discourage most but our customers seem to enjoy the unique atmosphere.”

The course is a short 2.5 hour drive from Kansas City, sitting just 27 miles north of Wichita, making it a golfing day trip well worth the drive. To learn more or to book a round, check them out at or call  (316) 284-6161.