Warm Winter Weather Golf Trip: TPC San Antonio

TPC San Antonio lies deep in the heart of Texas’ Hill Country, utilizing the surrounding terrain and year-long golf weather to provide two excellent golf course experiences. The Canyons Course is the more player-friendly, although you wouldn’t want to call the Pete Dye design necessarily “easy.” The Oaks Course is home to the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open and is a stiffer test of golf skills. The two courses complement each other well with the Oaks featuring more tree-lined fairways and little elevation changes, while the Canyons course utilizes the elevation changes to lay out interesting views and hole designs as it winds through the Cibolo Canyons nature preserve.
Both courses feature Bermuda grasses, rugged bunkering, and, if a ball strays too far from the fairway, native areas throughout. While no means a predominant feature, water comes into play on a few holes as well.
Anchoring the entire golf experience is a first-class clubhouse and practice areas adjacent the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country resort. The clubhouse features a full pro shop and restaurant. Rental clubs are available and GPS enabled carts make for a relaxing round. The practice area features an expansive driving range and short game areas. Anyone wishing to work on their game will enjoy the availability and variety of putting and chipping areas.
TPC San Antonio
As mentioned, just up the hill, at the resort are a number of other dining options and guests staying there will enjoy an on-site water park complete with water slides, pools, and a lazy river encircling it all. For a more tranquil experience, the spa offers many relaxing and restorative treatments as well. And, don’t forget this is San Antonio which offers incredible food, music, and culture.
But – back to the golf. Only members and guests at the resort can get on, and tee times at each course rotate daily, with access available only to one of the tracks each day. The somewhat exclusive access makes for a country club feel and an easygoing round. When we played near a busy holiday weekend, the pace of play remained excellent all day with very few waits and no one pushing us either. With no homes or other on-course development besides the resort, we were in our own world for most of the day.
The Oaks Course
The Oaks was designed by Greg Norman with the help of player consultant, Sergio Garcia. It’s the course you see on TV when the PGA Tour comes to San Antonio. It stretches to over 7400 yards for the pros, but don’t worry, with five sets of tee boxes, there is sure to be one that fits your game.
The course opens up with what seems to be a pretty straightforward par 4, but don’t let the look from the tee fool you. The green is large, but narrow with bunkering that can swallow a wayward approach. Once on the green, there are subtle undulations to the green that make it tough to find the right line.
TPC San Antonio - Cibolo view
From there the course often plays downhill into the prevailing winds and uphill with the wind behind you. The finishing holes are perhaps the best known to viewers and offer some unique challenges. Number 16 will be perhaps one of the most unique green complexes you’ll ever tackle. The mid-length par three green has bunkering around and IN the green with a deep pot bunker in the center and a tiered putting surface. Moving on to the 17th brings up, for some, a driveable par four. It plays anywhere from 250 – 350 yards with a steep bank and bunkering right and a dropoff left to more bunkers. Golfers can lay up to a wider landing zone and a good yardage in, but a drive down the middle will experience a lot of rollout, extending a well hit shot up to or onto the green. Rounding out the round is a par 5 with a tee shot that looks tighter than it is. From there, the latter part of the fairway is diagonally bisected by a creek which poses more than a couple of decisions: go for the green, lay up short and left, or aim up the right and have a simple pitch across the creek. However you decide to play it, don’t forget to enjoy the scenery along the way.
The Canyons Course
The Canyons course is a Pete Dye design and if you’ve ever wanted to tackle one of his layouts, this might be the one to try first. It played host to a PGA Tour Champions event for several years after its opening and extends to 7100 yards, but again, with its five sets of tees, any golfer can feel at home.
The opening hole plays alongside the resort, just beside the spa and is a great opening hole to get your feet under you for the rest of the round. It plays uphill and maxes out around 350 yards. There are some bunkers to avoid, but generally it is a nice straightforward start to the round.
TPC San AntonioFrom there the course runs through the hill country terrain with fairly generous fairways and lots of elevation changes that provide great views of the course and the native hill country it occupies. Club selection along the way is important with holes playing up and down hills and yes, canyons. The primary challenge to the course lies in both the bunkering (there are 115 that dot the course) and those elevation changes with more than one fairway bordered by a steep dropoff into thick rough and native areas with rocky ground and numerous live oaks and other native vegetation.
The eighth hole is the highest point on the course offering views of the surrounding area that are worth taking a moment to soak in. The ninth plays downhill to a green that sits not far from the halfway house where some quick refreshment can be had before taking on the back nine. The views continue on the tenth hole as golfers prepare to hit their second shots are treated to a wide view of the canyons backstopped by the resort on the opposite peak.
Throughout, the excellent greens are fair, quick, and can be a challenging read. The sand is heavier and coarser than on the Oaks course, probably owing to the latter’s need to pop on the small screens on tournament week. Regardless of the reason, make sure to hit a few bunker shots while warming up from the proper sand to get the feel and be ready when (not if) you need it.
The Experience
A final word is in order about the entire experience at TPC San Antonio. When we played, we noted the excellent service provided throughout the day. Staff members seemed to always be there when you needed them and kept out of our way when not. They even went out of their way to find a rangefinder left behind by one of our group. That all just makes TPC San Antonio a great place to play and a wonderful vacation perfect for those of us that live in cooler climates in fall, winter, and early spring. Where else can you get eye-popping views, great golf, top-notch service, and a fun, inviting resort all in one place?

Keeping Your Game Warm – Winter Golf Options

The weather outside might be frightful, but golf in Kansas City in the winter still can be delightful if you choose the right options.

There are plenty of places to hone your game while you wait for springtime weather to return. You can get indoor lessons, play a round at an indoor simulator or hit one of the many driving ranges that use heated bays to stay open. And with the occasional unseasonably warm day, you might even be able to get on your favorite course.

Rust should never be an option.

One good option is True Aim Indoor Golf, which has been open for almost two years just north of 151st Street on Metcalf in Overland Park. True Aim has golf simulators that show 15,000 different courses from around the world. Pebble Beach? Of course. Augusta National? You bet.

True Aim Indoor Golf

If you’re more interested in staying close to home, True Aim has all the major courses in the KC area, like Ironhorse, Prairie Dunes, Colbert Hills, Lionsgate and many others. If you ever wanted to play a course, it’s likely that it’s included in the simulators.

Of course, the simulators also give you feedback on your game, with accurate and detailed swing analysis, so it can be more than just a day of relaxing golf. You can actually improve your game while “playing” some of the best courses in America.

True Aim offers lessons throughout the winter, but it’s not the only place in Kansas City that does. GOLFTEC in Overland Park and Lee’s Summit, and Imperial Golf in Parkville have indoor lessons, while Topgolf in Overland Park offers lessons in multiple levels of heated bays.

“We’ve been here for eight years, and I’ve been doing instruction in Kansas City for 10 years,” said Jon Snyder, owner of Imperial Golf. “We just expanded in August with a whole new simulator room. We now have two simulator rooms. The new one includes a GC Hawk unit from Foresight Sports. It is essentially the same technology as the GC Quad, the go-to teaching unit for high level instruction.

Imperial Golf

“With this new unit, it’s an easy transition to teach left- and right-handed golfers. We have courses loaded onto both units. We can also use the simulators for fittings. We’re growing our fitting business in the coming months. Our instruction is program-based, not just a random way to make money.”

Snyder is looking forward to being out on the course again when the weather warms up, but having the simulators does have an advantage.

“Teaching on a simulator helps pull the player’s focus away from the result,” he said. “That’s harder to do on the range or on the course.”

Before you think there are only indoor options during the winter in Kansas City, think about the old cliche: if you don’t like the weather in Kansas City, wait 15 minutes. During a recent cold snap, when the thermometer struggled to hit 20, a few hearty golfers were spotted on area courses.

As the calendar turned from 2021 to 2022, Shoal Creek, voted the best public course in the Kansas City area by KC Metro Golf, only had to close twice this season because of weather. Head golf professional Rhett Fregoe estimates that an average winter causes the course to close about 30 times because of winter. When the course is closed, Shoal Creek tries to keep its clients engaged with off-season player development seminars once a month. They bring in vendors to talk about technology, rules, etc.

The rates are the same year-round, but Shoal Creek changes the times that the rates drop. Their prime rate runs through noon, while their “shoulder” rate runs from noon-3 p.m. After 3 is the twilight rate.

If you’re on the Kansas side, Sunflower Hills in Bonner Springs offers an affordable challenge. The rates are reduced by $2-$5, depending on the day and time.

Jeff Johnson, the head golf professional at Sunflower Hills, said there’s a core group that will play regardless of the temperature as long as there’s no snow on the ground. The course stays in good condition year-round, with the obvious difference depending on the time of the year.

“It’s been playing hard and fast, because it’s dry,” Johnson said. “Around the greens, it will be faster. In terms of winter golf, we don’t have a lot of greens surrounded by bunkers or water.”

Don’t let your game fall into an avoidable hazard just because of winter weather in Kansas City. There are too many good options to keep it going.

Birdies (Eagles?) at Tiffany Greens

As Jim Colbert walked up the 18th fairway in the first round of the 2000 T.D. Waterhouse Championship at Tiffany Greens Golf Club in Kansas City, the crowd roared. Colbert, who spent much of his youth in Kansas City, had birdied the first eight holes of the back nine, tying a Senior PGA Tour record for consecutive birdies.

The crowd sensed history and Colbert wanted to oblige. No Senior PGA player ever had birdied every hole on a side.

Colbert’s 12-foot birdie putt lipped out, leaving him with a course-record 61, but missing his goal.

“When people asked me about the back nine,” he said that day, after shooting the best round of his life, “I wanted to say, ‘I birdied it.’

“That’s golf in a nutshell right there. I shot 11 under, and I was mad. That’s the game for you.”

As my buddy, Neal, and I walked up the 18th on our day at Tiffany Greens, I could hear the crowd roaring. I hadn’t birdied a hole all day, but I just needed to lose the hole by less than five strokes to win the day against Neal. I took a seven (I had a couple of penalty strokes) while Neal took a five.

I accomplished my goal.

It was a great day for Neal and me. We’ve been friends for more than 20 years. Neither of us are good golfers, but the beautiful mid-80s day in early July gave us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and a nice round of golf on one of our city’s best public courses.

“It’s a fun course to play, regardless of how well you play,” general manager Steve Meyer said. “We’re not catering to the guys on the PGA Tour. But we’ve got some really good golfers out here, and it’s still challenging and fun.”

There’s no way I’ll ever feel like Colbert did that day, either with my game or the sense of approval from a large gallery. But one of the beautiful things about golf is that “average Joes” (or Davids or Neals, for that matter) can walk the same path and play the same course as the great ones. With Tiffany Greens’ very reasonable rates, anyone can have the opportunity.

“Our prime rates $58 for 18 during the week, $68 on the weekend, including carts,” Meyer said. “The rates go down at 3 p.m. The best time to come is after about 2 p.m., especially on weekdays.”

There are also memberships available for $2,800/year, which includes unlimited golf with a cart, unlimited range balls, club storage and discounts at the pro shop. The course hosts a couple of dozen corporate tournaments each year.

It’s certainly true of all golf courses that any level of player can play, but Tiffany Green is challenging for the good player, and manageable for the novice. Ranging from just over 7,000 yards from the “Tiffs,” which is what they call their longest tees, to 4,310 from the reds, the course plays to the level of the player.

The wide fairways are forgiving for the golfer who has trouble hitting it straight, but there are enough challenges for the Jim Colberts of the world to find it entertaining. There’s plenty of water in play as well.

The par-3s are the course’s signature holes, as three of the four par-3s are over water.

I’m not sure what grows from golf balls at the bottom of lakes, but there will be a bumper harvest this fall, thanks in no small measure to our foursome.

Neal and I were joined by Nick and Noah, and we may have set a record for balls in the water on the day we played. They had an excuse, as Nick was playing his first round ever and Noah wasn’t too experienced either. Neal and I have been playing for decades, but we looked like beginners at times.

Tiffany Greens has been around for a little more than 20 years, opening to the public in 1999. The Robert Trent Jones-designed course has matured well, with plenty of trees and rolling fairways. The greens are challenging, yet fair. The course is in immaculate condition, making for a very enjoyable day.

But the highlight—other than “hearing” the roar of the gallery walking up 18—happened as I was teeing my ball on No. 14. As I was putting the tee into the ground, Neal started shouting, “Eagle, eagle.”

Two thoughts ran through my mind. First, I was just teeing off; Neal was a bit early with his encouragement. Second, had he not been watching me play for the first 13 holes?

But he kept saying it. Finally, I looked up and about 30 feet above my head was an American Bald Eagle. He was close enough we could see the hairs on his white head. We quickly forgot the rough rounds we had had to that point. We had seen our national bird closer than either of us ever had before.

You never know what you might encounter at beautiful Tiffany Greens Golf Club. You might see a string of eight straight birdies, and even an eagle on occasion.

Business is Booming at Sunflower Hills

Jeff Johnson has been around Sunflower Hills for a long time. When the PGA Master Club Professional arrived at the course in 1981 there was no Kansas Speedway and no Legends shopping area. And he’s never seen a Tuesday like one in mid-June.

“Tuesdays are normally our slowest days of the year,” Johnson said. “A recent Tuesday was our busiest day of the year. It was a combination of the mild forecast and people wanting to get out and play. I’ve been here for 40 years, and I can’t ever remember a Tuesday as busy as that one.”

Sunflower Hills Golf Course

Johnson credits the Covid bump that boosted business in 2020. When Covid restrictions forced people into isolation, a round of golf was the perfect solution. It was not only great exercise, it could be done with extensive social distancing. If you play like I do, you’re way more than six feet away from anyone else, except for the tee and the green.

Sunflower Hills Golf Course
“I think people rediscovered the game of golf a little bit last year when golf was one of the few activities you could do,” Johnson said. “It’s a great game to play. People felt a lot safer outdoors and on a golf course rather than at a ballpark. We also see a lot of return play. The course is in great condition, which brings people back. We’re developing a lot more loyal customers.

“We used to get a lot of traveling groups who would play different courses each week. It seems like we’re up higher on their lists these days.”

Part of the reason Sunflower Hills is rising on golfers’ lists is the condition of the course. The topography helps the course drain, so when the heavy runs come, as they did in mid- to late-May, the course was playable. “When it was really wet, it helped the grass grow quite a bit,” Johnson said. “But we were able to do a really good job of keeping up the mowing.

“One of the advantages we have is that the ground drains very well. When other courses are somewhat unplayable, we’re very playable. We only had two spots we had to worry about. Two spots on 180 acres is not bad.”

The 7,032-yard course (from the blue tees) is laid out well. With par-5s second on each side, the layout allows groups to spread out and reduces the back-up. The par-3s aren’t tremendously difficult, so they don’t slow play much either.

That’s particularly important when the course is packed, like it will be in August for the 41st annual Wyandotte County Open. It’s the longest-running tournament of its kind in the Kansas City area. There will be eight flights comprising 120 golfers. There will be six men’s flights and two women’s flights.

Golfers will be using a new fleet of E-Z-Go golf carts, complete with long-lasting lithium batteries and GPS units. It’s clearly a case of the good getting better. Johnson, who has been at the course for almost its entire history, is proud of what Sunflower Hills has become.

“I’ve seen a lot of highs and a few lows, but the course has matured very well over the years,” Johnson said. “The thing that makes Sunflower Hills challenging is that very rarely do you have a level lie. The comments we get from visitors are that it’s a very nice golf course, especially for our very reasonable rates. And we get a lot of visitors.”

Golf Courses Open During COVID-19 / Coronavirus Response

Open For Play: Kansas City Courses

First off, we hope you all are safe and are following CDC and local guidelines for helping to contain the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We also hope you’re keeping your sanity with home lockdowns, kid home-schooling, and of course, the economic impacts. Thankfully, a fair number of our local Kansas City golf courses are open, but a few remain closed. Its hit and miss and our experience so far tells us that those that are open are very busy on every golf-able day.

Here is the list as we know it now (updated as of April 15). Please check with the golf course directly to confirm their status and any rules they’ve imposed for your safety such as online/phone payments only, not touch check-in procedures, golfers/group limits, walking golfers only,etc. The rules vary course to course so be informed before you head out.

We’ll do our best to keep updating this list, but if you know of any changes to this list or a course’s status, please let us know as things are constantly changing.


Golf Course Current Status
Adams Pointe OPEN
Blue Springs Golf Club OPEN
Country Creek OPEN
Creekmoor OPEN
Drumm Farm OPEN
Dub’s Dread OPEN
Eagle Bend (Lawrence) closed
Eagles Landing OPEN
Excelsior Springs OPEN
Fairview (St. Joseph) closed
Falcon Lakes OPEN
Falcon Valley OPEN
Fred Arbanas closed
Gardner Golf Course OPEN
Heritage Park Golf OPEN
Hillcrest Country Club OPEN
Hodge Park OPEN
Ironhorse Golf Course closed
Leavenworth Golf Club OPEN
Minor Park 
OPEN (as of 4/13)
Oak Country OPEN
Overland Park Golf Club OPEN
Painted Hills OPEN
Paradise Pointe OPEN
Prairie Highlands OPEN
Royal Meadows OPEN
Shamrock Hills OPEN
Shiloh Springs OPEN
Shirkey Golf Club OPEN
Shoal Creek OPEN
St. Andrews Golf Club OPEN
Stone Canyon OPEN
Sunflower Hills OPEN
Swope Memorial OPEN
Sycamore Ridge OPEN
Teetering Rocks OPEN
Oak Country Golf Club OPEN
Tiffany Greens OPEN
Tomahawk Hills OPEN
Trails West (Leavenworth) OPEN
Winterstone OPEN


Practice Pitching Like the Pros

In this week’s pro tip, golf pro Jason Rudolph, explains why and how to practice a critical part of the short game. If you want to shoot lower scores and practice like a pro, then read on.

A typically under-estimated part of every golfer’s game is the short game. Practiced ability in pitching, chipping and putting is what always separates decent players from the really good players. After spending over five years at Torrey Pines Golf Course watching and talking to numerous PGA Tour players, I can say that this is the one area of their game that they work on the most. The best comment I have ever heard from a tour player was from David Duval. A reporter asked him why he spends so much time around the greens. His comment was “I can hit the driver just fine, but from 100 yards and in is where I will win or lose a tournament.”

If you want to improve your game and start shooting lower scores, work on this area of your game. One way I practice pitch shots at different yardages is to set targets. Starting at 25 yards, I’ll lay down a small towel on the ground. Then I will go about every 15 yards and put another target out until I have six targets on the ground from 25 to 100 yards. When I start hitting, I will take aim first at the 25 yard mark and work my way up to 100 yards, hitting about 25 balls at each target. Some of you may not have time to hit that many balls during a typical practice session, so perhaps you can start at 10 balls to each target. Another challenge could be that you just cannot run out on the range (and into the line of fire) to set targets if there are other golfers on the range. If that’s the case, try to find other targets at varying distances, like a drain, the edge of the teeing ground, a brown patch of grass. A laser range finder works well for this drill whether you are setting out towels or finding existing targets to use.

Make sure you use proper technique for pitching and make note of how many balls you put on or near your targets. If you start using a routine like this and do purposeful and deliberate practice, you will hit more greens and find you have a lot more makeable putts after shots from 100 yards and in – and that, will lead to lower scores. Of course, this drill only covers part of the short game. Don’t forget to spend time practicing chipping and putting too.


Dave Pelz – Games To Make You A Better Putter

Find the Right Putter for Your Game

In a round of golf, more strokes are played with the putter than any other club. Most people know they need to practice putting, but the challenge is with how and what exactly to practice. In his book, Dave Pelz’s Putting Games, Dave Pelz outlines how golfers should go about assessing their overall putting skills and playing a number of games (or drills) focused on improving areas of weakness. For this edition of the KC Golfer Magazine Pro Tip, we spent some time with his book to give you a feel for how it can make you a better putter.
His book starts off with explaining that there are seven areas of putting and not all amateur or professional golfers are weak or strong in the same areas. He says it is therefore important to know exactly which of these seven areas you need to practice:

  • 3-foot putts
  • 6-foot putts
  • Makeable putts (10 to 20 feet)
  • Breaking putts (with at least 6 inches of break)
  • Intermediate putts (20 to 30 feet)
  • Long lag putts (35 feet or more)
  • Three-putt avoidance

Dave Pelz explains that it will do your game little good to routinely practice 3 foot putts if you cannot lag a long putt to stop within a reasonable distance of the hole. He also points out that most amateurs can benefit more by avoiding three-putts than they can by making more putts of any length. As a former NASA research scientist, Pelz backs these claims and others with extensive research through observing, charting, and tracking players of all skill levels.

Dave Pelz’s Putting Games, therefore, is not a book about the putting stroke or how to putt. He says to check out his book, Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible, for that information. This book focuses on assessing your game and employing the games that make putting practice fun and effective. While there are six chapters, the heart of the book is centered on three chapters covering Performance Games, Games for Stroke Mechanics, and Games for Touch and Feel.

Performance Games are those that help a golfer assess their abilities and identify strengths and weaknesses in their golf games. These games should all be played to get a well-rounded assessment. With some help (a friend to retrieve balls and help with measurements) and a wide open practice green, you can move through all the Performance Games in about an hour. Otherwise, if you have to share the surface with other golfers or need to do your own measuring, charting, and retrieving, it might be best to split the Performance Games across a couple of sessions or more. Each of the seven games assesses your performance against each of the seven areas described earlier. Once armed with that knowledge, it then becomes a matter of selecting and playing the specific games from either of the other two sections to improve your putting.

Games for Stroke Mechanics are particularly useful for golfers needing to improve their short (3- and 6-foot) and makeable putt performance. The games focus on four stroke fundamentals, as Pelz calls them. Those four fundamentals are:

  • Putter aim (practiced through the Aim Game)
  • Matching your path to your intended line (Path Game)
  • Putter face angle (Face-Angle Game)
  • Ball contact (Impact Game)

Games for Touch and Feel are more focused on the mental side of putting. They involve the ability to see the line on breaking putts and having the right feel and confidence to stroke long putts the correct distance to leave a short, high percentage second putt. These games help golfers improve in these areas:

  • Imagining the speed on breaking putts of 6 – 10 feet (Short-Touch Game)
  • Controlling distance on putts from 10 – 30 feet (Makeable-Touch Game, Intermediate-Touch Game, and Feel-for-Speed Game)
  • Lag putting to minimize second putt distance (Lag-Touch Game)
  • Learning to optimize putting rhythm (Rhythm Game and Preview Game)

Pelz is quick to point out that on long putts, there are too many factors like wind, surface imperfections, and the like which influence long putts. And so, he has a scoring system based on putts that finish at or beyond the hole and within a specific range. He uses a 34-inch range to score a long or lag putt as in the “Good Zone.” He then provides a scoring map for these kinds of putting games with different scores based on the distance from the hole that a putt finishes.

Throughout the book, Pelz provides details on how well a professional golfer performs on a given game and contrasts that with amateurs of varying skill levels. That provides a solid benchmark against which a golfer can assess themselves as well as goals to which to aspire. He ends with some words of caution of games NOT to play. Those games, Pelz says, provide the wrong kind of feedback and ingrain poor habits. In particular, he calls out the game “Aces” – a game that rewards long made putts but doesn’t factor in leave distance. He also says putting to a small diameter hole, something some golfers feel improves their touch, can be counterproductive by encouraging golfers to die their putts at the hole rather (which leads to short putts too), rather than stroking them firm enough to reach the hole and finish within a very high percentage second putt length of 17 inches.

Overall, the book is entertaining, simple and straightforward with some good principles based in Pelz’s own golfing research. As the author of numerous books and articles and a teacher who has worked with almost 200 golfers on the PGA and LPGA Tours, Pelz knows what he is talking about. He has several games and drills that can be performed in small areas – perfect for improving your game at home through the off-season.

Kansas City Golf Show – Abundance

Kansas City Golf Show

A record number of free golf rounds and unprecedented numbers of golf equipment choices highlighted the three-day Kansas City Golf Show on Feb. 17-19 at the Overland Park Convention Center.

At the door, visitors received whole host of gifts and giveaways including rounds of golf at the Lake of the Ozarks, a week pass to this year’s Digital Ally Open on the Web.com Tour, and three local rounds of golf from Great Life KC, owner and operator of 18 area golf courses.Great Life

Balmy weather all weekend put the 7,000 visitors to the show in the mood for golf. Some 100 exhibitors were on hand, including a whole section for golf club testing, fitting and sales.

“You could hit as many balls as you wanted with as many clubs as you wanted and it was included in the admission,” said Brian Beaky, a show representative. “People were there to fit you with custom-made clubs.”

There was also an abundance of used clubs at the show, which Beaky said were particularly popular with golfers who arrived at the show on the first morning. They were looking for certain clubs and prices, all under one roof.

Numerous local and out-of-town golf courses and resorts had booths at the show again this year, offering discounted rounds and memberships.

Demo Tee

Everyone at the show was eligible to receive free green fees on seven different course and those who bought a ticket online got an additional course added.

The show also featured drawings for prize as well as several chances to win prizes on putts, chips and virtual long drives. “If you go to the golf show and don’t win anything you are not trying very hard,” Beaky said.



The show is the largest consumer golf show in the Midwest, Beaky said. Its rising popularity shows that golf is not on the wane, he added.

“Six or seven years ago, the game was struggling to draw golfers, but in the past two or three years we have seen the attendance numbers growing,” Beaky said. “People are coming back to golf.”

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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.









WinterStone Still A Blast, Despite No More Blasting

There’s still a limestone mine below WinterStone Golf Course in Independence, but there are no more rumbles under the feet of players in mid-afternoon as in years past.

Mining has moved to an adjacent site, leaving only occasional faint sounds of blasting, according to WinterStone club professional, Kane Chapman.winterstone2

But having a golf course over an active mine was more of a novelty than anything else on a course that can hold its own to any in the Kansas City region for natural beauty, intriguing design and challenging golf.

WinterStone, opened in 2003 in northwest Independence and unfolds over rolling, wooded terrain in a country setting.  The holes on each nine ascend gradually to a crescendo, before meandering back down to the clubhouse.

“Players comment about how this course is a little different than others in the area,” Chapman said. “It reminds them of the Ozarks, with all the elevation changes.”

Designed by noted golf course architect Craig Schreiner, WinterStone has ample landing areas off the tee, but demands accuracy in fairway and approach shots, often from sidehill lies.

winterstone7“There are not really any truly blind shots,” Chapman said. “Just about everywhere you hit from where you can reach the green, you can also see the flag. There are no big surprises.”

Creeks and a pair of lakes bring water into play on seven holes, requiring long drives off two of those holes to keep the ball dry.

The course has four sets of tees, ranging from 4,976 to 6,752 yards. The lengths can be deceiving, however, as frequent uphill shots require an extra club or two.  The course carries a 73.6 course rating from the gold tees, or back tees, and a 133 slope rating.

“The course looks like it should set up better for the better players, but we have players of all skill levels that really enjoy playing the course,” Chapman said. “The fairways have some generous landing areas, but if you miss them you could have some issues.”

Players can count on good lies on the zoysia fairways and true putting on the bent grass greens. The course is noted for its fine condition.  Additionally, there are few, if any courses, that have a more convenient practice range than the one found just a few steps from the WinterStone clubhouse.

WinterStone has competitive green fees, with twilight discounts after 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Discounts are also offered seniors, over age 55, and to junior players. Annual fees for play with or without a cart, and reduced for juniors and seniors are also offered.  Added to all that, lessons are available from the course’s professional staff.winterstone1

The course also has The Club card, which permits golfers to play WinterStone and five other courses for $34.99 per month plus a $20 daily fee, including cart. The other courses are Tiffany Greens, Dub’s Dread, Eagles Landing, Deer Creek and Alvamar. Tee times can be made up to four days in advance.

WinterStone is the place to turn to for corporate, charitable and other tournaments and special events. The course will provide a tournament price that includes golf, carts, scoring, rules of play, sponsor placement signs on holes, and awards ceremonies.

out_from_pavThe Pavilion, a snack bar and lounge with table seating for 120 next to the clubhouse, will post digital scoring on flat screens for tournaments and host awards ceremonies and meals before or after the event.

With an elevated and picturesque view of the golf course, the Pavilion is the perfect place to spend a little “debrief time” following your round.  It can also be rented for wedding receptions and other events, with room for up to 150 people.  Surrounded by windows, The Pavilion can be used open-air or enclosed for climate control.

WinterStone is located at 17101 E. Kentucky Road just east of Highway 219. Its website is winterstonegolf.com and the phone number is 816-257-5755.