A Hint of Paradise: Smithville Golf Complex Provides Plenty of Options


You wake up to a seasonably warm Midwest day. There’s nothing pressing on the schedule, so you decide to take the day off. Like many people in the Kansas City area, you might decide to choose to spend your day either on the golf course or at one of the area’s beautiful lakes.

How about both?

Paradise Pointe is a 36-hole golf complex nestled into the coves of Smithville Lake, with many of the holes giving you only slightly obstructed or completely unobstructed views of the lake. You probably can’t enjoy water sports while teeing it up, but you can enjoy the sights and sounds of one of the area’s largest lakes meandering around the course.

“The entire complex is scenic with two great tracks that are both in excellent condition,” Paradise Pointe club pro Eddie Hall said. “You have a links-style course with the Outlaw and a more traditional course with the Posse. Both sides have great lake views.”

The proximity to the lake gives the complex an unlimited source of water, so the entire complex is always green, even during a typically hot and dry Kansas City summer. So far in 2020, we’re not too far behind average rainfall, so Paradise Pointe hasn’t had to use its built-in sprinkler system too often.

Smithville Golf Complex

The morning I played it there was some standing water in some of the lower-lying areas because of early morning rains. I’d like to blame my poor play on that, but journalists never lie, right? The course was in excellent condition.

Hall credits Clay County, which owns the courses, for that. “If you put a good product out there, people will talk about it,” he said. “The County Commission does a great job of maintenance. We’ve always had good superintendents, but the current one is a step above. He’s in his second year, and everything you see is a result of him looking forward.”

There are two courses at Paradise Pointe. The Posse is narrower and a little more challenging with more elevation changes on the fairways, while the Outlaw is wider and a little more forgiving.

“The biggest difference is the undulation in the fairways,” Hall said. “The Posse is a little narrower and the shots are more demanding. It’s more about ‘position golf.’ If you’re not on the correct side of the fairway, you’ll have a little more difficult shot.”

Smithville Golf Complex

One of the unique features of the Outlaw course is that it’s one of the few courses in the metro where the turn is not at the clubhouse. In fact, the green at No. 9 and the tee box at No. 10 are at the furthest point from the clubhouse on the course.

Lest you think you have a pack provisions for an 18-hole excursion, Paradise Pointe uses an app called “918” to supply food to golfers on both courses.

“I think it’s the only course in the area that doesn’t finish the turn at the clubhouse,” Hall said. “We love that design.

“The app allows golfers to order their food and drink and we’ll deliver it to them wherever they are on either course. The best thing about it is they can go right to our menu, pay for it on the phone and have it delivered right where they are. It works out great, because golfers don’t have to sit and wait at the turn to get their food.”

Neither course is particularly long by today’s standards, though you can play from the back tees and get your distance fix from either one, as both sides measure over 7,000 yards from the back tees. Outlaw is shorter and the fairways are wider. But even on that side you still have to hit shots.

Smithville Golf Complex

“Most courses today are being built well over 7,000 yards to accommodate the big hitters,” Hall said, “But let’s be honest, most of my guys—and most of John Q. Public—is not playing off the back tees because they’re not hitting it 300-plus yards off the tee.

“Off the tee, Outlaw is more forgiving. You can pick the tee set that best matches your game. Whatever tee set you play from, we’ve found that there are challenges and excitement on every hole.”

The next time you wake up facing that recreational decision, consider the drive up to Smithville. After all, just remember the old car dealership commercial from a couple of decades ago, “Smithville is only a 10-minute drive from downtown…if you drive 180 miles per hour.”

— By David Smale