wedges featured

You drive for show. You putt for dough. But what about those tricky shots around the green that, more times than not, we fail to get up and down? Why has this become such an overlooked portion of our game? The pros put in an incredible amount of time on their short game and greenside shots – some estimate well over 50% of their practice time – perhaps it should be a focus for you too. The next time you are left with a dicey pitch shot to salvage the round of a lifetime, you’ll be thankful you put in your time. Of course, a great short game requires the right tools and the information below provides a snapshot of the hottest new wedges available.

Titleist Vokey SM6

Titleist Vokey SM6
Folks, Titleist did it again. There’s a reason their Vokey SM6 wedge is the preferred choice among PGA Tour professionals. The game of golf continues evolving, driven, in part, by equipment innovation. Titleist keeps pushing the envelope with their wedge technology and the SM6 wedges offer an array of benefits, which we can narrow down to three specific components: center of gravity (COG), groove design, and grind. The center of gravity is determined by a specific loft-to-weight ratio. There’s the lower-lofted wedges (PW, GW), mid-loft (SW), and high-loft (LW). This COG technology combats loft variations by realigning the club face’s center of gravity to promote consistent, predictable shot-making.
When it comes to delicate pitch shots, spin is king. The Vokey SM6 wedges feature TX4 groove technology. The low-loft wedges (46°-54°) are designed with narrower, deeper grooves. Whereas, the high-loft wedges (56°-62°) have wider, shallower grooves to help stick it close from anywhere around the green.
Furthermore, the SM6 wedges are offered with 5 different grind options: F grind, M grind, S grind, K grind, and L grind. Each one is designed to work with a golfer’s particular style of play and from various turf conditions. Consult with a golf professional to identify the best choice for your particular style of play.

callaway md3 milled 1

Callaway MD3
The newly designed MD3 wedges have three different grinds (W, S, C) as well as Callaway’s Progressive Groove Optimization. The W-Grind offers a wider sole, ideal for bunker play, soft course conditions, and players with steep swing planes. The S-grind is the most versatile of the three, created with just about every course condition in mind and recommended for both steep and shallow swingers alike. Finally, we have the C-Grind, meant for firm course conditions and players with shallow, around-the-body swing planes. The Progressive Groove Optimization is engineered with a 3-groove design to make spin consistency between irons and wedges more reliable. The Pitching and Gap Wedges include 30V grooves, which cater to steeper angles of attack; the 20V grooves are ideal for bunker play; the 5V grooves in the lob wedge caters to those delicate, short-sided greenside shots, when stopping the ball on a dime is imperative.


Cleveland RTX2.0/CB
When Cleveland began designing the RTX 2.0 wedges, they aimed to solve a common pain point: Shots from 125 yards and in. With the likes of Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley, and Hideki Matsuyama providing expert intel, the Cleveland RTX 2.0 wedges are considered the perfect antidote to a struggling mid-range game for golfers of all skill levels. Cleveland’s Rotex Face Technology continues to expand shot making possibilities to boot. With 15% sharper grooves compared to last year’s model, and the roughest face pattern permissible within USGA guidelines, you can rely on predictable spin, shot after shot. The grind design is engineered to provide a perfect combination of versatility and dependability, though I can’t say I would recommend this particular model for players with significantly steep or shallow swing paths. It is much better suited for players with neutral swing paths.

Taylor Made EF

TaylorMade Tour Preferred EF
Like all other wedge manufacturers on this list, TaylorMade emphasizes the significant effects of groove design on shot-making. In fact, this is where TaylorMade differentiates its wedges from the competition’s. By taking a different approach to the traditional groove design, TaylorMade has effectively created a niche in the wedge manufacturing market. For the most part, grooves are created on a clubface by milling (or cutting) them into the face or they have been cast with the grooves as part of the die, or mold. TaylorMade has gone against tradition and developed an electroforming process to create grooves. For non-chemists out there, this innovative “milling” technique translates into sharper grooves and increased club longevity. If you’re looking to improve your spin around the greens and want a long-lasting wedge, consider TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred EF model, the juggernaut of wedges.

Ping Glide Wedger

Ping Glide
Ping took a similar approach to TaylorMade when designing their Glide wedge, but instead of focusing on groove design, Ping created a fully custom club. From the grip, down to the club face, these wedges are a fully integrated “system” designed for greater consistency. In addition, Ping’s proprietary Gorge Groove Technology promotes consistent shot trajectory and spin for every loft. The Ping Glide wedges are available with four different soles: Thin, Wide, Standard, and EYE2. The thin sole caters to firm conditions and shallow swing paths; the wide sole was made for softer conditions and steeper swing paths; the standard sole provides the best of both worlds (soft/firm conditions, as well as a variety of swing paths); the EYE2, with its throwback name, also provides the best of both worlds and promises to improve bunker play.

Mizuno S5

Mizuno S5
Mizuno took a craftsman’s approach when designing their S5 wedges, which feature a unique Silhouette profile. With PGA professional Luke Donald providing expert input, these wedges offer two sole grinds to get up and down from all angles and lies. Mizuno’s technology offers Quad Cut CNC milled grooves to promote spin. S5 wedges come in 25 different loft and bounce options, ensuring all distance possibilities are accounted for. Furthermore, the S5 wedges offer grinds complimentary to their high and low bounce options: High bounce (15% sole grind) and low bounce (25% sole grind). The grind compliments the bounce by allowing the high bounce version to play higher and the low bounce to play lower.

The wedge technology is out there, no doubt about it. Now, it’s a matter of finding the right option for your game. Consult with your local golf professional to weigh the pros and cons for all wedge models. Once you find your wedge, practice, practice, and practice some more. Then, stick it close, tap it in, and repeat.

Prairie Highlands Eyes Return to Prominence

Prairie golf course

Regularly recognized over the years as one of Kansas’ best, Prairie Highlands is hoping to return to its place among top-tier courses. To accomplish that, General Manager Shawn McGuire was recently brought over from Hillcrest to help spruce up a course which consistently ranks among the top five Kansas courses.

“Our main focus has been getting Prairie Highlands back to the prominence of when it opened,” he said. “I remember when I first came to Kansas City, this was one of the places to play. It was a brand-new golf course; it was in pristine condition.”

Restoring some of the brand new feel is one of McGuire’s primary tasks.
“That’s our goal,” he said. “We’re trying to get back to people thinking that about Prairie Highlands, but we want people, when they come out here, to have a good time.”

prairie highlands

A complete course makeover was not needed, though. The basic structure was still sound.

“I felt like the bones were there,” McGuire said. “It needed the fine touches. Really, there’s nothing wrong with the layout. There’s nothing wrong with the fairway, or the rough, or the tee boxes. The bones are there. Our goal is to make sure of the small details, the little things that add up.”
He and new superintendent Jeff Clark set to work with a detailed plan to upgrade the course.

“Part of what we focused on, initially, was the greens,” McGuire said. “My stance has been if you get the greens slick and fast, people talk. Part of what we did was invested in two new greens rollers and two new greens mowers. We needed some upgrades to make sure that we could have some consistent green speed and to do some things that really made our patrons happy and anybody else that decided to play here. It really was just a concerted effort to say, hey, we want our greens to be a little firmer, a little fast, and consistent.”

Prairie Highlands

The new greens rollers lack hydraulic fluid, which eliminates the risk of damage to greens from leaks. This kind of attention to detail shows, too, in their approach to watering the greens.

“We focused on watering a little bit less,” McGuire explained. “Making sure that we dry them out a little bit; they’re a little firmer, a little faster. I’d seen and heard in the past where maybe a little bit of overwatering had happened. When I first came on I really noticed. It really didn’t hold ball marks very well. It tore up the greens because they were so soft.”

Prairie Highlands goes to great lengths to preserve consistent green speeds and overall high-quality status of the greens.

“At times, when you dry them out and on days like this when it’s hot, we’ve got two or three guys out at all times hand-watering,” he said. “They work hard and do a really good job keeping them that way. It’s a tough challenge, but it’s one that we’re willing to meet. We’ve really tackled our greens this year. That was our goal that we focused on this year: green speed, green consistency.”

Prairie Highlands

Another challenge McGuire and his staff are currently tackling is to upgrade the bunkers.
“What we’ll continue to do to add to (our) product is upgrading the majority of our bunkers,” he said. “That’s our next goal. It’s a slower process, a long-term process, especially when you’ve got 58 of them.”

In addition to fine-tuning the course itself, they have upgraded their customer service.
“Not only did we change our staff here a lot at Prairie Highlands with our maintenance crew,” McGuire said, “but here at the pro shop we really freshened up what I would consider the soul and kind of aura when you come in and who you deal with and how they are.”

They also added a new fleet of carts featuring a new GPS system.
“It gives you full-on distances to bunkers, which our people that play here are accustomed to having,” he said. “We had an older system a couple of years back. We brought this one on and it’s done really, really well for us. It’s a little sleeker design. It’s just an added perk.”

Prairie Highlands

To make it easier to use for both customers and staff, Prairie Highlands has introduced a more comprehensive pricing system. Instead of having separate pricing for golf, for a cart, for a range pass, etc., the course offers it all in a set of membership packages ranging from $89.99/month to $149.99/month.
“We’ve tried to combine some of those things to make one price so that we’re not necessarily nickel-and-diming people,” McGuire explained. “It’s more of an all-inclusive approach. There’s some difficulties in that, but I also think it kind of changed the attitude of what we are providing for our customers, so, for me, it’s just kind of added value and seems to be a positive sentiment.”

The par 72, links-style course with zoysia fairways and bent grass greens remains a terrific golf destination. At 7,100 yards from the back tees and with four sets of tee boxes, it accommodates every kind of player. There are several interesting holes and McGuire has his own favorites.
“I really, really like number nine,” he said of the 570-yard, par five. “It’s a full risk/reward. I think it’s easier playing it when you hit a good drive and you’re in an area where you can go for the green in two, but normally you’ve got to carry a lot of water and there’s some bunkers up there as well. So, it brings not only the intelligent target golfer into play but also the guy that wants to grip it and rip it.”

Prairie Highlands

Number 15, another par five, at 537 yards, is similar to number 9, but with water on the other side.
“Ultimately, I’m a kind of par-five guy,” McGuire said. “Number 15 requires a decent tee shot then it’s a little bit different because the water’s on the left, not like number nine where the water’s on the right. You can go for it, but there’s bunkers all up along the right. Both are huge risk/rewards if you want to get on in two, and if not you’ve got to really kind of be smart about your layup shot. Both of those holes would be my favorites.”

Number 6, a 377-yard par four, is also on his list of favorites.
“You can hit an iron off the tee box and still have a short iron into the green,” McGuire said. “You’re hitting over a smaller, kind of an elongated green, to a wide green with a lot of pitch in it. I really think it’s a lot of fun.”

The spacious layout gives players a lot of options.
“Because of the space we have, we can kind of move the tee boxes,” he said. “They can play as easy or as hard as you want. But they also have a decent amount of slope in them that make them challenging. If you’re playing the right tee boxes, I see this course being a lot of fun for all ages and all types of people because you’re going to be in the same general vicinity and you’re going to have the same problem: do I go for it or do I lay back.”

Prairie Highlands

Overall, McGuire hopes Prairie Highlands customers will enjoy their visit and want to make it a regular stop.
“When I came in, what I thought we really need to focus on was making sure that not only do [golfers] have a good time, but they feel they’ve gotten good value,” he said. “They leave here thinking, ‘man, I’d love to play here again’. Not just because of the golf course, but because of the way people treated them.”

For more information about Prairie Highlands, visit

Leavenworth Golf Club

Leavenworth Golf Club

Imagine a place that offers a beautiful tree-lined golf course, complete fitness center, expansive locker rooms, swimming pool, and an on-site bar and grill for as little as $49.99 per month.

No, it’s not a belated April Fool’s gag. Leavenworth Golf Club is a package of golf, fitness and fun that really isn’t too good to be true.

Located in Lansing just outside Leavenworth, the golf club is operated by GreatLife KC, which also runs The Oaks Golf Club in Leavenworth and nine other courses in the Kansas City and St. Joseph areas. Members at Leavenworth also have playing and fitness privileges at The Oaks and certain privileges at other GreatLife locations as well.


GreatLife took over Leavenworth Golf Club in 2010. The course was founded in 1920 and was previously Leavenworth Country Club, a private venue. Players have seen dramatic improvement in the condition of the course in recent years.

Credit for that goes to course superintendent Shane Dorsey, who had previously worked at Falcon Lakes, according to Chris Herrig, general manager at Leavenworth and The Oaks.

“He has come in here and really taken care of the course,” Herrig said. “People play the course once, and they want to come back. The biggest selling point is probably the greens. They are really good right now.”


Leavenworth is available for daily green fee play, but it doesn’t take many rounds to make a membership a much better deal. Singles can play, without a cart, for $49.99 monthly, families for just $69.99. Adding unlimited cart usage brings the rate up to $99.99 for singles and $149.99 for families. With that rate, comes the fitness center and outdoor pool.

“Membership has really taken off,” Herrig said. “We have gotten a lot of new members starting this year.”

GreatLife has other prices and packages at The Oaks and its other courses: Drumm Farm, Falcon Ridge, Liberty Hills, Painted Hills, River Oaks, Royal Meadows, Canyon Farms, Staley Farms and the St. Joseph Country Club. Information is available at or by calling 816-305-6242.


Leavenworth Golf Club, at 455 W. Eisenhower in Lansing, is a rolling, tree-guarded course that plays to 5,925 yards from the back tees, 5,580 from the middle and 4,916 from the women’s tees.

While not considered a long course, the par 70 layout puts a premium on accuracy and placement, especially on several dogleg holes. Lake Oliver, named after 1948 club president J.V. Oliver, poses a threat on the 9th and 10th holes. Another pond is on the 5th hole and a creek traverses the 8th fairway. The course also has 23 traps.


“Most people hit driver on most holes, but there a couple of doglegs where an iron is advisable off the tee,” Herrig said.

After the round, golfers can retreat to Jake’s Bar & Grill overlooking Lake Oliver. Burgers, chicken strips and other food and snacks are served inside or on a shaded deck.

The golf course hosts a number of leagues, including a Wednesday morning women’s league, a Wednesday evening 2-man best ball league, a Thursday 2-man scramble, and Friday couples league. There is also some tournament play. The golf professional is Josh Fisher.


The fitness center is equipped for beginner or advanced workouts and has a personal trainer. The bright, cheerful facility is surrounded by windows that look over the course and grounds. On the lower level, members can make use of modern, fully carpeted locker rooms with shower facilities and spacious wooden lockers.

To learn more or to inquire about membership, the clubhouse phone number is 913-727-6600 and their website is

Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge Join GreatLife


The GreatLife golf family just got bigger.

The regional golf and fitness group has added Deer Creek, Falcon Ridge and Wichita’s Tallgrass to its group of fourteen (14) GreatLifeKC courses.

During a July 29 open house, GreatLife owner Doug Albers explained why the addition of these courses made sense.

“It’s a great addition to the courses we already have in our family,” he said. “Now we’re somewhat on the Johnson County side. We’ve had a heavy presence on the Missouri side of the state line, until we got Canyon Farms recently. Now we get to kind of round out this side of town. In the big 435 loop of life in Kansas City there’s a whole lot of access to our golf courses for all of our members.”

Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge join Drumm Farm in the ‘Classic’ tier of courses, while Tallgrass becomes part of the ‘Legend’ tier, along with Canyon Farms, St. Joseph Country Club, and Staley Farms. The ‘Champion’ tier remains the same, including Leavenworth, Liberty Hills, Painted Hills, River Oaks, Royal Meadows, and The Oaks.
GreatLife CEO Doug Farrant was pleased to add these courses to their offerings, even though 2016 has been a hectic time for all involved with Painted Hills, Royals Meadows and Tallgrass all coming into the GreatLife family at about the same time.

“We’re having a lot of fun doing what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re really excited about these because these are two really great properties, and Drumm Farm we would really put in that category, too.”


Both Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge are currently public, daily-fee courses. GreatLife has plans to take them to a private membership level which helps increase the value of the course and the surrounding properties.

“(Local homeowners) would rather have it become a more of a prestige-type of course than a public-type course because they feel that it adds to the value of their homes,” Albers said. “And it probably does, especially if they have a home on the golf course.”

Farrant explained that the process has worked well at their ‘Legend’ level courses and expects the same results for Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge.

“We’re really comfortable with the membership model,” he said. “We’ve got some history on this and we’re officially full at Staley Farms. Canyon Farms is probably under 80 from being (full). Once again, I think more is better. The more we add – courses, fitness, activities, all of the above – is all good.”

As always with GreatLife, the focus is not just on golf. Plans are afoot to enhance the existing golf offerings at Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge with access to fitness facilities and additional family-oriented activities.

“It’s an evolving process,” Farrant said. “It is what we do. We’ll eventually have fitness options and we have definite ideas on what we’re going to do over here, but we’re not quite ready to announce that yet.”

“They’re working on that,” said Deer Creek General Manager Chris Fink. “There’s a possibility of adding on to this building and adding a fitness facility in the future, or joining up with some of the local fitness clubs. Joining here, our members would become a part of that fitness center, doing a partnership. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes to try to get fitness here at Deer Creek.”


Primarily, GreatLife wants to provide activities for the entire family, including fitness, plus FootGolf and FlingGolf, which are golf-oriented variants of soccer and lacrosse, respectively.
“It’s one more thing to get families here,” Albers said. “We can have a dad on a weekend playing golf and mom goes shopping and he’s got the kids. Well, now he can go out and play nine holes at Drumm and his kids can play right next to him, playing FootGolf or FlingGolf. Or we can have a group that tees off that’s playing regular golf and right behind them is a group that’s playing FootGolf and behind them is a group playing FlingGolf.”

“Any family activity is good for us,” Farrant added.

GreatLife is also the first organization to offer another fun item with the introduction to all of their courses of the Golf Skate Caddy, which Albers expects will improve speed of play.
“If a foursome goes out – all four players are on a Golf Skate Caddy – they’re all going to their own ball individually at the same time,” he said.

“We just put those in last week,” Fink said. “It’s different. It’s something that’s going to change golf a little bit. They are fun to ride. We’re the first courses in Kansas City to have them, all the GreatLife properties.”

The offering from Sprocket Golf is like a golf cart built for one person who rides it in a manner similar to a Segway, quickly allowing individuals to move directly to their own ball.
“All the millennials are excited,” Albers said. “I’m excited and I’m not a millennial. Being on one of those things would be super fun to get out there and just go to your own ball and play.”
Of course, the golf at Deer Creek is always good.


“It’s the golf course itself (which makes it unique),” Fink said. “The golf course conditions are really good. The greens are really good here. I don’t want to say it’s a hidden gem because it’s been around for a while, but the golf course is a good golf course. Deer Creek’s been around a long time. I’m just excited to get it back on the map, being a place that people want to be at, just a fun place.”

Deer Creek is also a good place for community and corporate gatherings.

“We have two and a half banquet rooms,” Fink said. “We have a multi-boardroom style that fits 20 to 30 people and then we have an upstairs one that holds 150 and then another one that holds about 300. Last year, we did about 70 weddings. This year we’ll do 60 and next year we’re on track to do 80. Plus, we do another 300 or 400 events, whether it’s corporate or bar mitzvahs or retirement dinners, birthday parties, meetings. We do a lot of corporate meetings.”

At Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge, and at Drumm Farm, the goal is to increase membership to about 400 with a collective membership level of at least a thousand for the three courses. The annual membership at Deer Creek, Falcon Ridge or Drumm Farm allows members to play at any of those three courses or any of the ‘Champion’ tier courses, while play at the ‘Legend’ tier courses would be available for a small additional fee. Membership at any level also provides discounted rates at Osage National for the golf course or their “Stay & Play” packages.

Members have access to 58 regional clubs. The reciprocal play opportunities at 14 clubs in the Kansas City, Wichita and Southern Missouri area means there will always be somewhere for members to play, even when your home club is closed for a tournament or other private event.

“There’s going to be a lot of availability for people to play,” Fink said. “Even if we have a tournament or Falcon Ridge has a tournament, there’s still other golf courses these guys can go play. From a market standpoint, it’s going to be fun to watch. Everybody’s a part of the GreatLife family.”


“Somebody may have an outside tournament on (one course),” Albers explained, “so it gives them somewhere else to play instead of saying ‘we’re out of luck, our course is shut down’.”
Reciprocal club access also helps members in other ways.

“You may have a guy who lives here and works in Independence, so he can go out and work out at that facility out there and he plays golf here,” Albers explained. “There are always those tradeoffs. Maybe it’s absolutely the reverse. He plays golf there and works out this way. So, I think with the 435 loop, this gives everybody so much access to all of these properties.”
“Everybody’s still going to have a home course,” Farrant said. “We wanted to have that member feel, but we’ve got a few people that just play them all regularly. I think that’s a real added benefit. If you’re a GreatLife member, there are 58 courses you can play for basically a cart fee. As that continues to expand we just hope that continues to get better and better.”

Another positive aspect of being a GreatLife member is that it benefits the community. Fifteen percent of Drumm Farm’s revenue goes to the GreatLife Cares Foundation, a charitable organization which assists foster care children and families.

“When you play golf there you’re technically helping the Drumm Farm Children’s Institute,” Farrant explained. “They’re a fabulous thing. They do some really great work. It’s something that really makes you feel good to get behind and support.”

There are a lot of good reasons to become part of the GreatLife family.

“It’s just a good day to be a GreatLife member,” Albers said. “A lot of times we’ll see a family come out and to be a part of that quality time – you can tell they’re enjoying themselves, even if it’s not playing golf – is something we take a lot of pride in.”

For more information about Deer Creek or Falcon Ridge, visit or

For more information about GreatLife, visit

Digital Ally Open 2016 – Excitement from Start to Finish

The Digital Ally Open came to Overland Park August 4th through the 8th.  Champion Wesley Bryan prevailed in a three-man playoff that capped a week of fun and excitement.   Bryan actually ended up taking home three items during the award ceremony on the 18th green following play – his trophy, first place winner’s check, and a brand new PGA Tour card by way of winning his third title this season on the Tour.

To read more about the tournament, visit the PGA Tour’s coverage of the event here.   What follows are our favorite images of a fun-filled week of professional golf right here in KC.

Opening Signage

The Tour Came to the Links of Lionsgate in Overland Park.

RickLamb Tee

Rick Lamb tees off on #5 en route to a birdie that put him one stroke off the lead Friday.





PGA Tour winner Peter Lonard with a drop from the fencing that closely surrounded the 18th green.

BenCurtis with Ball

Ben Curtis, winner of the 2003 British Open, signs a ball for a young fan.


Josh Teater from the bunker on #17 – he would finish in a tie for 15th.


A young standard bearer shows off his souvenirs – including one from Major Winner, Ben Curtis.


Rookie Ollie Schniederjans from the fairway with the homes of Lionsgate providing a backdrop. Schniederjans is currently 2nd on the money list.

John Rollins - final hole

Three-time PGA Tour winner taps in on the 18th hole early in the week.



Wesley Bryan with a short putt to clinch his third win this season and an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour.


Wesley Bryan – putter drop after winning a three-man, two-hole sudden death playoff.


Wesley Bryan greets wife, father, and caddie immediately following the win.



The winner’s trophy was flown in aboard the Children’s Mercy Hospital helicopter which landed on the 18th fairway.



Winner Wesley Bryan raises the trophy with tournament officials, including Kelly Eddy, Executive Director, to his right.


Bryan gladly accepts his check, and…

PGA Tour Card

…a newly minted PGA Tour Card.

Callaway - Winners bag

The all-Callaway winners bag included a 9-degree Great Big Bertha driver, Apex Pro irons, MD3 wedges and an Odyssey putter.