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.
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.
“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.