Alvamar Golf Course, Lawrence
Can I play it? Yes, Alvamar includes both a public and a private course.
The caddie says: The par-72 course is comprised of the Jayhawk and Quail Creek nine-hole courses. Characterized by large Bentgrass greens and flowing fairways, the parkland-style course is known for its unique combination of playability and tests of skill. Players enjoy the scenic beauty of the course's natural Eastern Kansas landscaping. Not only will the quality and outstanding condition of the course enhance the golfing experience, so will the overall environment.
Auburn Hills Golf Course, Wichita
Can I play it? Auburn Hills is a city-owned course, so all are welcome.
The caddie says: Designed by architect Perry Dye, this is the newest of Wichita's public courses, having opened in 2001. With part of the course being wetlands, bring those extra balls along. Some of the forced carries will frustrate high-handicappers, but plenty of different teeing options are available, making the course fun and fair.
Buffalo Dunes, Garden City
Can I play it? Yes, this is a public course owned by the city.
The caddie says: The course can play at differing lengths based on a player's skill level, with yardages from 5,452 to the championship tees of 6,806 yards. The historic sand hills give the course a bit of a Scottish feel, and the beautifully conditioned bluegrass fairways, well-maintained bentgrass greens and native grasses to challenge the golfer. It's a four-season course, so play is only limited by the weather. Buffalo Dunes has been recognized by Golf magazine and Travel + Leisure magazine as place to play and providing the best bang for the buck.
Colbert Hills Golf Course, Manhattan
Can I play it? Yes, it's the top public golf course in Kansas.
The caddie says: Colbert Hills is a beautiful par-3 course that offers 27 holes with all-grass practice facilities, GPS on carts and a links-style course with few trees. Prepare to be challenged by lots of west wind and elevation challenges. The beautiful landscaping incorporates long prairie grass and blends into the natural ecosystem of the surrounding Flint Hills. The greens were designed to not naturally compact, which means that many have not needed to be aerated since the course was built in 1999.
Lake Shawnee Golf Course, Topeka
Can I play it? Yes, for a fee. It's a public course.
The caddie says: The par-70 layout measures over 6,300 yards from the back tees. It was designed by Larry W. Flatt in 1972 and updated by Craig Schreiner. Many of the course's holes offer both breathtaking views and the challenges of playing alongside Lake Shawnee. The course is a manageable length, and the rates are affordable. The course rating is 70.0 and it has a slope rating of 118 on Zoysia grass.
Sand Creek Station, Newton
Sand Creek Station plays on Newton's history and the Scottish phrase "hard by the cinders," continuing a long tradition of golf bordering railways. Some of the course was inspired by historical and famous greens, but it's thoroughly modern. Its 7,200+ yards on the back tees, ever-present breeze and holes routed in various directions make it a top challenge in the state. With five sets of tees, this course is negotiable by all. On the front nine, the long sixth may be the toughest. The 10th is a long par-5, requiring negotiation of water on all three shots. The 18th is a long par-4, requiring a tee shot to a narrow fairway between flanking fairway bunkers. The website's course tour of the holes provides a great preview.
St. Marys Public Golf Course, St. Marys
Can I play it? Yep, it's public. Simply show up and play when it's convenient. There are no tee times.
The caddie says: This challenging 9-hole, par-35 public course consists of two par-5, four par-4 and three par-3 holes. Each hole has three tee boxes to accommodate golfers of all skill levels. Enjoy fun and affordable golf amidst some of Kansas' most scenic countryside, right in the Kaw Valley.
Sycamore Ridge Golf Course, Spring Hill
Can I play it? Only if you've got $49 on weekends, $39 on weekdays.
The caddie says: This course is regularly voted the top public golf course in Kansas. The front nine plays like a links-style course, while the back nine becomes a roller coaster of topography with hills that make for interesting shot selections, challenging the most experienced golfers. It's as if someone took two geographically diverse nine-hole courses and pushed them together. Bring an extra sleeve of balls, because the back nine gets tricky.