Updated: Jun 1

It’s never a bad day when you get to play golf. However, there are times when things can be a little… off. Maybe your swing doesn’t cooperate. Maybe your mind is too clouded with work, family, or the bad habits of your playing partner, to focus on the task at hand. Maybe it’s the weather.

It was definitely the latter on the last day of the year in 2019 as I made the twenty-minute drive west to Cheney to tee it up at one of my favorite courses: Cherry Oaks.

I was working that night, New Year’s Eve, and wasn’t going into the office until late which meant I had plenty of time to get a round in. But I also had an important football game to watch that afternoon which meant if I wanted to play, it would have to be early. It was clear that morning, but as you might expect for December 31, it was pretty damn cold.

You know it was cold when the Canada geese are headed south.

There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot when I pulled in. It was the clubhouse guy Mark. Mark is a super friendly guy I’ve gotten to know over the years through my regular job and from playing golf out there so it was good to catch up with him while waiting for my playing partner to arrive. For as nice as Mark is though, he still wasn’t going to let us on the course until the temperature rose above 34 degrees. Like I said, it was pretty damn cold.

Cherry Oaks is one of my favorite local courses to play for a couple different reasons. One, there is always people like Mark out there. Cheney is the epitome of All-American small-town and the people who are a part of the course always make for a great experience. It feels like home even though for me, it isn’t.

Par 5, fourth hole. Taken from the cart path showing the correct line of play. Not my normal line.

Another reason why Cherry Oaks is so great is because it is always in immaculate condition. It doesn’t matter the time of year you catch this place: the conditions will be as good as it can be. Which is why Cherry Oaks has been recognized two times as one of the Top 25 courses in the country for value by Golf Advisor (2017 and 2018). And that is a testament to the guy in charge of the place: Kevin Fowler.

And, while the title of this post is called the "Super Spotlight," Kevin is technically the Director of Golf, as he oversees the clubhouse as well as the on-course operations, with the help of a Clubhouse Manager and an Assistant Superintendent.

I’ve known about Kevin for a while, but wouldn’t necessarily say I know him. I remember watching him play sports in high school when I was a kid. He was around the same age as some of my cousins so I’d heard his name plenty of times. He definitely didn’t know me until a random run-in a few months ago at a different golf course. I filled him in on what tMP was all about and asked him if he’d be willing to answer some questions sometime. He was nice enough to say yes and we really appreciate his time in answering our questions.

The goal of this post is to enlighten the golfer on some of the things behind the scenes that we don’t always get to see. Hopefully you’ll learn something to implement in your game to help your super maintain your course.

The creek bed short of the fourth green was dry, or frozen, on this day.

JP: Obviously, I know where you’re from but give us a little background on yourself personally.

KF: I was born and raised in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, and went to college at K-State. I got a degree in Horticulture with a specialization in Golf Course Management and a minor in Business. I worked at Wildcat Creek Golf Course in Manhattan during school then worked at Arkansas City Country Club for three years after school. This will be my seventeenth season at Cherry Oaks. I've served as President of the Kansas Golf Course Superintendents Association twice in 2008 and 2013. I’m happily married to Christina for what will be eighteen years in April, if she keeps me that long, and a dad to Kaitlyn (15), Casen (11), and Camrie (4).

JP: You mentioned that you worked at Ark City Country Club which was laid out by the famous Perry Maxwell. Did that mean anything to you then, as a young guy right out of school?

KF: At the time I took the job, no. I basically took the job as a challenge to improve the greens which had been neglected and I was able to do that in a short time frame. But as I was there, I did truly come to appreciate the fact that the original nine was designed by Maxwell. What a great layout! I continue to tell people that if I had unlimited resources, I would buy the place and install an up to date irrigation system. Man, the potential that tract has!

JP: I haven’t played there yet but it’s on my to-golf list for sure. How’s your game? What do I need to look out for when I get the chance for a match?

KF: My golf game, although not great, has come a long way in the last few years. I’m currently a 14.5 handicap. My irons are pretty decent but my driver can be erratic. Of course, I’m Titleist all the way!

JP: No free ads, but of course if Titleist is reading this, I'll be happy to leave that part in… How’d you get into this business? What was your motivation?

KF: I was not a golfer growing up but always enjoyed working outdoors and seeing the results of daily work. Once on the course, I fell in love with the profession. Nothing beats a golf course sunrise!

JP: What are some of the major projects you’ve tackled at Cherry Oaks?

KF: The addition of the back nine was the reason I came here. We accomplished that in my first and second years here. Concrete cart paths would probably be second. We have been able to concrete all 18 holes and a walking trail with grants, donations, and the Friends of Cherry Oaks, a feat I never thought possible. We’re currently adding two on course restrooms this off-season.

JP: So, you came to Cherry Oaks to develop the back nine. Maybe give us some background on the history of Cherry Oaks and who you worked with on building the back nine?

KF: The front nine was designed and constructed by Johnson Golf Course Builders out of, I think, South Sioux City, Nebraska, in 1993. Play began in the fall of 1994. Marty Johnson and company also designed the back nine. Construction began summer of 2004, opened for play summer of 2005. I started at the course April 1, 2004, and the construction crew arrived in June. Wow, what a summer! I was basically the point person between the crew and the city. It was a whirlwind. Greens were seeded October 14-15, 2004, as we were in the hospital having our first child.

JP: Holy smokes. Trial by fire there a little bit! Kind of leads into the next question as that was a pretty serious challenge, but what are some of your biggest challenges at Cherry Oaks and how have you addressed those?

KF: Convincing golfers that Cheney is not that far from Wichita! Seriously, you can get to Cheney from west Wichita faster than getting from west side to the east side! Honestly though, it is producing the best playing surfaces we can with limited resources. I know this is probably everyone’s challenge but it gets tougher every year. The City of Cheney is a great place to work and provide me with almost everything I ask for but the golfers expectations continue to outreach our resources. Televised golf is great but golfers do not realize that those courses do not look like they do every week of the year!

JP: Great point about TV and how it has changed the golfer’s perception about what is golf. That’s something I hadn’t thought about. You kind of joke about getting golfers from Wichita to come out, but have you been successful in that? I imagine technology has helped spread the word?

KF: Advertising and GolfNow has helped. But more importantly is word of mouth. Once people come out, they're hooked.

JP: Apart from people not fixing divots on the greens, which pisses everyone off, what is the one thing that golfers do regularly that pisses you off the most?

KF: Not following the posted rules! If I say it is cart path only, it is cart path only. I’m not keeping you on the path because I want to make you mad, I have a reason for it. Either it’s too dry or too wet! Another is keeping the cart on the path around greens and tees. And spitting chewing tobacco or sunflower seeds on the green. Do you want to putt through someone’s spit or seeds? Come on man!

JP: What aspect do you enjoy most about your job?

KF: The finished product. There’s nothing more satisfying than looking at a freshly cut golf course.

JP: What is the one thing you do that has the biggest impact on players that we players don’t know about or acknowledge?

KF: Daily mowing. Mowing the greens everyday during the growing season. Some courses may skip a day here and there and may rotate mowing and rolling, but for me at least, I see the benefit of consistent mowing.

Long par 4, first hole at Cherry Oaks in Cheney, KS.

JP: Whoa. I expected you to say you did a lot of mowing, but every day during the season? That's got to take up some serious time. Walk us through what your typical day looks like during the season. We golfers complain about the time it takes to play a round but I don't think we realize just how long it takes someone like you to get it ready for us hackers.

KF: The greens are mowed seven days a week by two people. That takes two hours each day. Three days a week we mow the tees and collars. That takes three hours. Fairways are mowed nine holes a day by one person and usually takes four to five hours, depending if golfers catch him. Rough mowers run daily anywhere from five to seven hours. Plus, all the other duties: cutting cups, water jugs, trash, weed eating. We typically start our engines an hour ahead of play to try and stay in front of players. On tournament days, we get everything done before the tournament begins which means some early mornings!

JAP: Apart from your course, where are some of the places you like to play?

KF: I enjoy playing Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, where I got my start. I like Rolling Hills in Wichita too.

JP: Alright, last one, give those reading out there who might be a super or helping take care of their local course a tip. What is one thing you see golf courses do that would be the easiest to fix?

KF: Over watering. A lot of courses set the irrigation and don’t check it for months. Over watering can be worse than under watering. It’s important to understand what your greens need and then stay on top of that need.

If you have any questions for Kevin, feel free to check out Cherry Oaks online by clicking here. Or, better yet, go visit his course in person. He'll be around there somewhere and I promise you won't be disappointed. Thanks again to Kevin for his time and let us know what you think in the comments below or on our social media platforms. As always:

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Updated: Jun 1

Pine Edge #3. Aim at the silos. Don't be short.

I’ve driven by the sign at least a hundred times. It’s right off the road north of Goessel. I’ve seen it. Just never gave it much thought. Guess the imposing Alexanderwhol Mennonite Church right off the highway at the corner by the golf course sign always piqued my interest more.

And it wasn’t just the sign, people were talking about it too. It just didn’t seem like a place that we needed to get to right away. Guess I thought we’d get to it at some point; it would be a trip “just to say we’ve been there” kind of a thing.

That time came earlier this week. Three days before Christmas and less than a week after a snowstorm plowed its way through the middle of the state. We wanted one more match before the end of the year and settled on Pine Edge outside of Goessel, Kansas, on the second shortest day of the year.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it was a short course with a par of just 30 but I couldn’t even tell the routing of the holes from Google maps. It had me all sorts of confused. There were a few photos on the internet to get a feel of the place and a number to call with information (we got the machine), but that was about it. For the most part, we were going in blind. We knew two things about this place: 1) where it was located, 2) it was open, at least according to the answering machine (365 days a year!). Other than that, it was all a bit of an enigma.

Pine Edge greens (clockwise, beginning with the bottom middle): #1, #3, #6, #8, #2, #9, and the green roofed clubhouse. Some of Pine Edge's water hazards are also visible, including the pond, the lagoon, and Myron's swimming pool.

Always a little nervous making plans at some place we don't know much about. Any number of things could happen and totally ruin us getting out to play golf. What if its closed? What if they have something else going on? Those anxious feelings were wiped away as soon as I laid eyes on the property as I crested the hill of the dirt road about a half mile to the west. We had the parking lot and golf course all to ourselves. The absolute best.

I walked the course to get some photos before we started playing. If I had to describe this course in one word, from only looking at it through the lens of the camera, it would be "funky." And I mean that in the very best way. I’ve played some pitch and putt courses and par three courses before but I can honestly say, I’ve never seen anything quite like Pine Edge. It is a shot makers paradise on the prairies of Kansas.

Driving range facing west.

We loaded up the push carts, scrounged up some balls off the range, and were warming up when we spotted a man and his spaniel coming through the trees. The purple coat and hoodie the man wore told me we’d get along just fine. He went to the clubhouse and emerged with plastic ice cream bucket full of range balls that he brought over. It was the owner, Myron, checking to see who was out at his place. We introduced ourselves and chatted for a bit. Myron is pretty easy to talk to. He told us he just walked over from his house and pointed toward the middle of the golf course. I asked him for any tips on playing his course. He cracked a smile and said, “one, two, and three, will get your attention. After that, it kind of levels out.”

Myron watched from the clubhouse porch as we tackled the first hole and its intimidating green. It is the largest green at the place and I’m sure he wasn’t at all impressed as all three of our tee shots sailed well over his tiered handiwork. We got a quick lesson in the precision required on this course. His dog walked with us to the first green. The dog looked almost as proud of this place as Myron did. And rightfully so. It was the dog’s home too.

We played on and were blown away by the tee shot on the second hole. The trees that form the chute look more intimidating than the reality and all our shots with long irons safely made the wide clearing around the green. If this place didn’t have our attention by the time we stepped on the third tee, it definitely did after we rinsed a few new balls in Myron’s lake. Some of us fared better than others.

It isn't a long forced carry, but anything short on #3 sleeps with the fishes.

We kept on through the fourth, underneath the looming grain silos of the dairy farm that Myron’s family used to run; to the short fifth that plays right up to Myron’s driveway and front yard; to the shortest par four (180 yards) I’ve ever played at the sixth, which doglegs around the north and west side of Myron’s house. Even if you could get by the gigantic trees protecting the dogleg corner from the tee, the green is not only protected by a green side bunker, but also one of the more unique water hazards I’ve seen on a golf course: a lagoon. There’s a bell behind the sixth green to signal to anyone behind you that you’ve cleared the green. You don’t see too many of those types of features in this part of the country.

A green-side bunker and the lagoon stand guard to protect the sixth green from anyone taking a short cut.

The seventh bends around the south side of Myron’s house while teeing off up a slight hill to the east/southeast. There’s a big center-line bunker right at the corner where the hole bends slightly but is more of a visual deception than an actual threat. Still, none of us picked the right line on this 190 yard par four.

Standing on the eighth tee, it was finally time to let some firepower loose. It is the longest hole on the course and runs along the south boundary of the property down a gentle hill to the west. I could see Myron and his dog coming over the bridge by the eighth green so I gave him a second to clear as I stood on the tee. Should have waited a little longer as my sliced hybrid soared over his head and came to a rest by the seventh tee box. I apologized for my poor swing that resulted in my “fore” scream as we met Myron and his dog in the middle of the fairway. He just chuckled.

I freaking dig windmills. And this is a good windmill.

He was headed back to his house. We were headed to play our tee shots in what was basically his yard.

We stood in the fairway and talked for several minutes. It’s the type of thing you can do when you aren’t too worried about keeping up the pace of play. When I asked him how this all started, he pointed up at the two grain towers on the north side of the property at the dairy farm. He told us he sat at the top of those Kansas skyscrapers and mapped out several versions of a golf course before settling on the current layout and breaking ground in 1995. He said he was a third generation dairy farmer over there until he sold it a couple years back. You could feel his passion for this place when talking about the dairy, his dad, and grandfather. I related to that feeling. I also related to dreaming of building my own golf course, except my day dreams usually took place in the cab of a tractor, rather than on top of a grain silo.

Pine Edge Golf Course, with Myron's house right in the middle.

He told us he did all the work himself: from routing and design, to irrigation, to seeding, to landscaping, to maintenance. It took eight years before he opened it up to the public in 2003. I was blown away by his commitment, pride, imagination, and no doubt countless hours of work, to pull this off.

Myron told us about their league and some of the tournaments they have each year. He thanked us for coming to see his place and wished us well for however many holes we wanted to play. We thanked him for his hospitality and told him we’d be back in the spring and summer to see this place tuned up.

There was no one behind us, but we rang the bell anyway.

We finished up playing the ninth hole, then reloaded to do it all again. Some holes we played better; others we played worse. Didn’t matter much. We were playing golf. We were playing golf in some dude’s yard. No matter how poor it might have looked on the scorecard, we were having a damn good bit of fun. Hope Myron could hear us ‘whoop’ and ‘holler’ the handful of good shots worth celebrating from the comfort of his living room. And hope that put a smile on his face.

The eighth green surrounded by the long shadows of winter.

Golf can be a lot of things. Sometimes, its eighteen regulation holes. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be whatever we want it to be as long as there is a club and ball to chase. That’s what Pine Edge is. It’s golf like you’ve never played before. In this case, golf is channeling some Myron’s imagination in making some of the demanding shots he designed around his home.

We’d seen the sign; we’d heard the stories. We weren’t sure what to expect. What we got: four plus hours, and 23 or so holes, of shot making among friends, a new Christmas tradition, and a hell of a lot of inspiration from this guy who had a vision and just made it happen.

We're glad you're here.

Updated: Jun 1

This post is part two of three attempting to name the best 18 holes in Kansas, with some important caveats. Click here to reintroduce yourself with the rules we set out and to read our choice for the first six holes.

7. Sugar Valley & Hidden Valley Lakes Golf Course (Mound City) – Par 4

First of all, no one likes target golf. "Hit it here or else" isn’t golf to me. You’ve read about how options for all golfers is one thing that makes a hole great to me. Granted, I’ve only played this course and hole one time, but I don’t know you have much of a choice to play this hole other than the way it is laid out. Still, this hole makes the list just because it is so unique and different that when I sat down to make this list, there was only one choice for the seventh hole: Sugar Valley & Hidden Valley Lakes. From the elevated tee facing west, you can’t see the green. You can see the landing area on a plateau over the deep tree filled canyon. Laying about 150 to 180 yards from the tee, it isn’t a hard club choice to make: pull the iron and hit it to that spot over the canyon. Once you hit the tee shot and make it to that landing area, you are treated with another elevated shot 150 to 180 yards to the green, this time not only elevated over the canyon below, but there is pond that guards the green on the short side. Compared to the rest of the course, this hole comes out of nowhere. A relatively flat, parkland course suddenly turns into a wooded wonderland. Taking the cart path leads you down two steep canyons and through the densely wooded terrain of Eastern Kansas. This might not be the greatest seventh hole in the state, but everyone who has played there will tell you that it is definitely the most memorable and different. Something to be said for being unique I guess.

Runners Up: Rolling Hills Country Club, Wamego Country Club, Brough Creek National (sentimental pick: have seen it but haven't played it yet).

8. Prairie Dunes Country Club (Hutchinson) – Par 4

Cover of Sports Illustrated with list of the best 18 holes in American by Dan Jenkins, 1965. Prairie Dunes was already well known by the time of this article (Jack Nicklaus won the Trans-Mississippi Amateur here in 1958; Arnold Palmer played Nicklaus in an exhibition here in 1962; hosted the U.S. Women's Amateur in 1964) but the inclusion of the eighth hole on this list certainly increased its fame. Since this article, Prairie Dunes has hosted the Trans-Miss Amateur five times, U.S. Women's Amateur twice, the Curtis Cup, the U.S. Mid-Am, U.S. Senior Am, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, and the NCAA Championship.

Nothing I can say will do this hole justice so here are a few excerpts from Dan Jenkins:

" Straight away in the distance, crawling across the horizon, are the sweeping sandhills. To the right and left, twitching in the normal 25 mph wind, are broad, swollen patches of knee-high native grass, festering clumps of yucca plants, plum thickets and sunflowers. This is the outlook from every tee at one of America's most unusual golf courses, Prairie Dunes Country Club, a course whose scenery and shot-making requirements are those of a Scottish links, but whose location—Hutchinson, Kans.—could hardly be farther from the Irish Sea."

The Prairie Dunes golfer constantly finds himself brooding on a windy hilltop—called a tee box by club members—from which he peers down into a swale of thorny growth. He can see little fairway on which his shot can safely land. Thus every hole becomes a challenge, but none is more challenging than the 8th. It is a long, forced dogleg to the right with no reward whatever for trying to cut across. The fairway rises gradually, bumping its way over four ancient dunes—formations that were apparently caused by the wind that whips into Hutchinson from the Arkansas River Valley. The first dune is 165 yards out from the tee and about six feet high. They get successively higher, the last one rising about 50 feet. A perfect tee shot will carry the first dune and have enough length and fade to clear the second, too. After that, the green, protected by four bunkers on the right and one more on the left, each of which is dotted with yucca plants, can be reached with a solid three-iron. The green itself, well uphill from the fairway, is large and severely contoured, inviting three excellent pin positions and making a long, curling putt a decided possibility.

My drive cleared the first grass-covered dune—called Hockaday's Hill in honor of a club member named Ray Hockaday whose drives always landed there—and the second dune as well. As promised, I had a three-iron to the green, but did not quite make it, glancing off into a right-hand bunker. Fortunately, I was in sand instead of a yucca plant. My trap shot was uneventful and my 20-foot putt woefully offline. I made the next putt from five feet for a hard bogey and leaned, more than satisfied, into the wind blowing over the Kansas sunflowers from an invisible sea."

Click here to read the full article from Dan Jenkins. There are no runners up. This is the only answer for this particular hole.

9. Hillcrest Golf Course (Coffeyville) – Par 4

Look, coming up with this list wasn't easy, especially considering the metrics I put in place to make these decisions. And while Hillcrest in Coffeyville is a Perry Maxwell course, sadly, this hole wasn't one of his. Still, I had to find a way to get this course on the list for a completely different reason. The history of this course and its original designer were nearly lost to history but thankfully rediscovered by some local historians several decades ago. The course was expanded to a full 18 holes around the turn of the millennium and the original Maxwell holes now make up the back nine at this course. This is the closing hole of the new nine.

From the tee facing east, it is a little tough to know where you are going. The fairway bends right about 180-200 yards from the tee and cuts through a row of trees that lines the entire right side of the fairway. It is probably best to play an iron to that distance to put yourself in the best position for the second shot, which is one of my favorites in the entire state. From the middle of the fairway, you're left with a shot of about 140-160 yards but what makes it so riveting is that it is straight up a monster hill toward the ninth green and the clubhouse awaiting at the top. Maxwell used this same hill several times on his original nine to frame some epic shots, but most of the time you're playing down the hill. Not this time though as the elevation change makes this second shot a demanding one. It's been several years since I've been there and my memory might be exaggerating, but feels like it was 30 feet or so straight up hill.

Is this the best ninth hole in the state? I don't know. Probably isn't even my favorite hole on the course, but does give me an excuse to share this cool piece of Kansas golf history. Before the second nine was developed, Maxwell's original ninth (now the 18th) sported arguably the most unique golf course transportation in the state: a railway elevator to take weary golfers back up the hill to the clubhouse. Sadly, the railway elevator no longer exists, but had to figure out a way to sneak that nugget in.

Railway elevator on the original 9th hole (now 18) at Hillcrest in Coffeyville that carried tired golfers up the steep hill that dominates the property. Note the clubhouse on the left side of the photo. Photo courtesy of Colton Craig, Jordan Kelly, and the Perry Maxwell Society (click here for more info on Perry Maxwell and to join).

Runners Up: Abilene, Minneapolis, Rolling Hills Country Club.

10. MacDonald Park Golf Course (Wichita) – Par 5

First clubhouse of the Wichita Country Club, circa 1904. By 1912, the club needed more room so they built what we know now as MacDonald Park Golf Course a few miles north of where this picture was taken. Photo courtesy of the Wichita Photo Archives (available by clicking here).

Outside of one hole in Part III (coming later, stay tuned), I had more issues coming up with this hole than any other. I thought I had it; then, a renumbering of holes sent me back to the drawing board and this is what I settled on. While MacDonald is a public course accessible to all today, that wasn't always the case. The course was originally built by the Wichita Country Club, the state's longest running private club, when the lease on their nine hole course expired in 1912. From the elevated tee facing east-northeast, the tee shot is a challenge as there is not only a forced carry over a pond to an elevated fairway lined down both sides with old growth trees, but big hitters might also be able to hit their tee shot through the dogleg left fairway. The prime tee shot will rest on top of the hill of the

fairway, leaving a manageable, downhill approach into this par five. A holding pond on the left of the green provides some risk for approach shots, especially those taken from the slope of the fairway, but there is also ample room for a right miss. It will take two great shots to make it home in two on this par five but I like this hole because even a conservative play can result in a good score. This course has a lot of character, and with its history, it needs to be on this list somewhere.

Runners Up: Salina Country Club, Prairie Dunes, Sim Park.

11. Cottonwood Hills Golf Course (Hutchinson) – Par 4

This makes me sad, but this course is once again not open. Cottonwood holds a special place in my heart as the place I point to that really infected me with the golf bug. I worked as a cart guy at Cottonwood while living in Hutch one summer playing baseball and lost more balls on this course than probably anywhere in the state. I came up with this list before the course closed (again) and here is what I had for the best 11th hole:

The short par 4 – the bane of my existence. Like so many others on this list, you have choices stepping on the tee. Are you pulling the big dog to challenge the green or will you play it safe with an iron off the tee and take the heavy bunkering around the green out of play? The hole tees off to the west and has a slight dogleg about 220 yards off the tee toward the green on the right. If you hit it right, you can make the green off the tee. But, it’s Cottonwood Hills too so anything offline will be severely punished with sand, rough, or worse, native grass. There are tougher greens at Cottonwood Hills than the 11th, but that isn’t what makes it so memorable. That is reserved for the mental anguish this hole puts you through from the time you step to the tee. What are you going to do?!?

If you've got an extra $2.5 million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, I'd be happy to tell you more about Cottonwood to get this place back online.

Runners Up: Tallgrass Country Club, Crestview Country Club North, Sand Creek Station.

12. Rolling Hills Country Club (Wichita) – Par 5

Rolling Hills Country Club, looking east, 1960. Originally opened as Westlink Golf Course in 1928, Rolling Hills holds a unique place in Kansas golf history: site of the meeting that founded the LPGA, U.S. Women's Open Host in 1950 (won by the famous Babe Zaharias), a Floyd Farley redesign in the 1960s. Photo courtesy of Wichita Photo Archives (available by clicking here).

Facing southwest, you can’t see much from the tee other than the creek fifty yards in front of the tee box where the fairway then slopes directly uphill. The fairway is lined down both sides by old growth trees. Anything in the middle, even if it doesn’t reach the crest of the hill, is just fine. Anything in the trees isn’t dead, but won’t make this hole easy. The perfect shot gets you to the top of the hill in the fairway where the rest of the hole is laid out in front of you in all its glory. Hitting downhill to the west from about 250 yards, it takes solid contact to make it to the green but it is doable with the elevation help. The green is guarded on both right and left with bunkers which makes going for the green a little more perilous. To make it more challenging the green has two distinct tiers, a front and back, that brings a three putt into play any time the lag putt is lacking. Elevation from beginning to end, there aren’t too many holes in the state that can compare to the beautiful eleventh at Rolling Hills.

Runners Up: Prairie Dunes, Tallgrass Country Club, Colbert Hills.

Part III coming soon. In the meantime, let us know what you think of Parts I and II.

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