Below, you’ll find a list of courses near Kansas City, MO.
There are 47 courses within a 15-mile radius of Kansas City,
27 of which are public courses and 19 are private courses.
There are 33 18-hole courses and 14 nine-hole layouts.
The above has been curated through Golf Digest’s Places to Play course database,
where we have collected star ratings and reviews from our 1,900 course-ranking panelists.
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The PGA Tour’s inaugural Kansas City Open was played at Swope Memorial in 1949. The Tillinghast design just outside the city center is a tight, tree-lined layout that offers views of the skyline in the distance. The course, adjacent to the Kansas City Zoo, hosted the 2005 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links.
From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten:
I've never much cared for Tiffany Greens Golf Club in Kansas City, mainly because I've felt it represented a lot of what was wrong with golf course architecture in the boom years of the 1990s. For starters, the course was built primarily to push the sales of homesites in an area where you'd never otherwise think of living: In former farm fields directly beneath the path of traffic flying into and out of Kansas City International Airport a mile away. Worse yet, its property crisscrossed with electrical towers and high voltage electrical lines. At the far right end of the driving range is a large electrical substation, a very unattractive sight to view.
The developer was John Q. Hammons and the course architect was Robert Trent Jones Jr. The two corporate giants had previously collaborated on the far superior Highland Springs Country Club in Springfield, Missouri a decade earlier. The magic they captured there did not transfer to this site.
Tiffany Greens, which opened in 1998, is simply one of RTJ II's less imaginative designs. The routing is spread out to maximize housing lot frontage (and to avoid some of those power-line easements). With the exception of the opening hole, a zigzag par-5 over a lake that plays so short with the prevailing south wind that even I was able to reach the green with a driver and a 4-iron, the bulk of the course is a succession of straight lookalike golf holes.
The par-4 second has a tree-lined creek to the left and a huge bunker reaching into the fairway from the right. That also describes the par-4 fifth hole, and the par-4 seventh, and the par-4 eighth, the par-5 11th and the par-4 14th. They all share those characteristics. If you hook the ball at Tiffany Greens, you're in for a long day.
You can hook into water off the tee on 13 of the 18 holes, and there's a lake to the left of the ninth green, too. As the routing includes several parallel holes on either side of creeks, it wouldn't have taken much daring to reverse the routing of a pair of those holes to put the creek on the right. But I suspect Tiffany Greens was laid out to keep the slicer out of harm's way as much as possible.
At least the par-5 16th, which starts out with yet another creek on the left and bunker on the right, eventually doglegs over the creek. Three other holes, the third, 12th and 13th, also have water hazards on their left flank and huge mounds on the right side of fairways where bunkers could have been placed but were mercifully left out. (On the 12th, a trio of tall trees sit atop the mound.)
The ninth and 11th, both par 5s, dogleg slightly to the left, and the par-5 16th and par-4 17th dogleg considerably to the left. Only the 420-yard 18th is a dogleg right, and it's a 90 degree turn off a sloping fairway and over a ravine to a perched green. I can't recall another course with such a huge imbalance in its structure of holes.
The fairways are Zoysiagrass, a perfect fairway turf in this area, and the greens are bentgrass that hold up remarkably well in hot summer. There are chipping swales and hollows to one side of several greens, but since these areas are turfed in that fairway Zoysiagrass, it's nearly impossible to putt from them. So one of the three recovery options—lob, pitch or putt—is eliminated from everyone's repertoire.
Although Jones and his staff did their best to locate holes to hide power poles, they couldn't avoid them all. Power towers march down the right rough on the uphill fifth. Power lines droop behind the green of the 14th, and you tee off beneath the buzz of electrical wires on the 15th and 18th.
With its dogmatic routing that is unfriendly to walkers and its unattractive presentation among power lines, I just don't think there is anything sterling about Tiffany Greens.
From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten:
I was once very familiar with Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City, as I'd served as a marshal there for several years during the long-run of Tom Watson's annual charity exhibition match for Children's Mercy Hospital. (My most vivid memory was the year John Daly, during a practice tee clinic, turned around and fired a tee shot directly over the heads of spectators seated in bleachers behind. It truly startled people and scared some of them.)
I hadn't seen the course since the late 1990s until I recently attended a Korn Ferry Tour event there, the AdventHealth Championship. It emphasized to me just how much the game has changed in the past quarter century. Where I distinctly remember Watson and company hitting long irons off downhill lies to hilltop greens, I now witness kids driving it clear to the bottom of those hills and hitting wedges for second shots.
The course had changed some since I'd last been there. For instance, an elaborate waterscape down the left side of the par-3 14th, added by Craig Schreiner in the mid-1990s, is now gone. And while most of the tall mature hardwood trees still remain, I don't see many evergreens in the rough anymore.
Blue Hills was originally built on a treeless farm field in the early 1960s by Oklahoma golf architect Bob Dunning, who was trained as an agronomist and was responsible for the earliest Zoysiagrass fairways in the nation. I got to know Dunning before his death in 1979. He'd retired to Emporia, Kan., and during one visit he gave me his sketches of alternate-route holes and double-fairway holes and other experiments he said he never got to try for real. I still have his original plan for Blue Hills. Its routing remains exactly as it was on paper, including the too-short practice range that requires a high fence to keep shots from hitting golfers on the fourth fairway.
Dunning's Blue Hills plan was characterized by two things: an inordinate number of dogleg-left holes (nine of the 18 turn to the left) and greens of all sorts of different shapes and levels. His design had a cloverleaf green and an L-shaped one, some long and narrow (like the 18th, which still exists) and some wide and shallow (like the par-3 eighth, which also still exists). What wasn't imaginative were the inordinate number of greens guarded by bunkers on the front left and front right corners. They are evident on his plan and although the course has been rebunkered, most of those dogmatic bunkers remain in place. (This is a slight criticism of my colleague Todd Clark, a fine golf architect with whom I've been working with on several remodeling jobs in the Kansas City market. He redid the Blue Hills bunkers in 2007.)
The bunkering on the hilltop fourth green brings to mind one of my pet peeves. The front third of that green is a "false front," steeply sloped so that golfers in the fairway below can see some portion of the surface of the otherwise hidden green. That section is far too steep for any pin placements, yet it's squeezed by bunkers left and right, two small ones on the left, a sprawling, attractive one on the right. Meanwhile, the back portion of the green, where all the action is, is completely unguarded. So the tactic should be, Miss it Long. The same pattern repeats itself hole after hole at Blue Hills. I counted four greens with bunkers behind them but 15 greens with front bunkers left and right.
There are three new fairway bunkers on the outside turn of the opening tee shot, so new they don't even show up on the AdventHealth course map posted by the first tee. They were just added by golf architect Kevin Hargrave, who is the club's new consulting architect. They are dramatically different than others on the course, with high steep flashes of sand and fairway mowed right up to their leading edges. I suspect Kevin built these as a test run, and if the membership approves, he'll rebuild the remaining bunkers sometime in the future.
I have hope the club will allow him to provide a good deal more variety in the greenside bunkering than now exists at Blue Hills. But alas, I just looked at his proposed Blue Hills master plan on his website, and it's the same old bunkering pattern that presently exists. Change seems to come hard at Blue Hills.
Todd Clark and consultant Ron Whitten reinvented this 112-year-old course when they added several new holes and sacrificed others. Entire sections of the property have been rerouted, and while some holes maintain their basic shape, this is essentially a brand new course with reconstructed greens, fairways and bunkers all brought up to 21st century standards.