Golf In Wichita, Kansas -- Something for Everyone
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Written by Jim Elliott, PGA Professional, Industry Expert, and Realtor with Hayden Outdoors Farm, Ranch & Recreational Real Estate
Golf In Wichita, Kansas -- Something for Everyone
The game of golf in the greater Wichita area has a wonderful and rich history and provides something for everyone.
Whether you are a seasoned and avid golfer, a recreational player, or simply enjoy golf’s social atmosphere, Wichita has you covered.
Wichita is filled with golf hungry folks. We take it seriously and we invite the game into every fabric of our lives, from sport & competition to camaraderie, social functions and fundraising. If you are in Wichita and not intimately involved with the game of golf, chances are you are well within the “six degrees of separation” of someone who is.
Wichita’s golf history includes the founding of the LPGA (Ladies’ Professional Golf Association) at Rolling Hills Country Club in 1950, following the completion of that year’s US Women’s Open. Other major events held in the area include the US Women’ Amateur in 2001 and the US Men’s Amateur in 2007, both hosted at the heralded Flint Hills National Golf Club located in Andover. Newton’s municipally owned Sand Creek Station Golf Course was the host of the very last US Public Links Championship in 2014 and just beyond the Wichita metro area, Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, has hosted many, many prestigious events throughout its storied past, including the US Women’s Open in 2002 and the US Senior Open in 2006.
Three courses (Reflection Ridge, Willowbend Golf Club and Crestview Country Club) have hosted the Wichita Open over its 29-year history, making it one of the longest lasting continual events on the Korn Ferry Tour. Today, the event resides annually at Crestview Country Club and has become known for its raucous social atmosphere surrounding the 17th hole. The winner of the 2019 event took home $112,500 from an overall purse of over $650,000.
If you need golf equipment, nearly every course has a Pro Shop filled with merchandise, much of which is logoed with their specific brand. Wichita is also home to The Golf Warehouse, which was founded by two local brothers and grew into one of the world’s premier website retailers. Currently, they boast an extremely large Pro Shop which is open to the public and global sales reach through the website.
There is something for everyone, even when it comes to the grass grown on Wichita area golf courses. Wichita sits directly in the bullseye of an area of the country known as the “Transition Zone”, which spans the middle states and is neither ideal for warm season grass, nor cool season grass. States to our north are best suited to planting cool season grass and those states to the south are prime for warm season grass. I tend to take a “glass is half full” approach and know that no matter if it is spring, summer or fall, Wichita always has a grass that is thriving. All the putting greens in the area are bent grass, but the fairways and rough areas vary from warm season bermuda grasses and zoysia grass to cool season bent, rye and bluegrass varieties.
Speaking of seasonality, the golf season and its length is continually up for debate. Fair weather golfers will find appropriate temperatures and conditions spanning from March through October while die-hard golfers can be found throughout the city even on the harshest days of winter. With enclosed and heated carts and plenty of layers, Wichita golfers can often be seen playing on frozen ground and right through the first, light snowflakes.
If your game needs a keen eye, Wichita is full of wonderful PGA instructors, many of which have been given regional and national awards for their efforts in teaching beginners, juniors, recreational and competitive players. Local Golf Professionals are also adept at making introductions and helping to foster friendships and golfing groups built around common interests. This is simply an extension of the friendliness that runs deep throughout Wichita. If you are new to town, or new to a specific course, I would always suggest leaning on the local golf professional for help with integration. Any PGA Professional will take pride in helping with this.
Continuing the theme, the clubs and courses in Wichita all have their own personalities, ownership structures and there is something for everyone. Recreational players, defined as someone who may only play a handful of times per year, will find the abundant number of public, municipally owned courses to be a great option. The City of Wichita operates four courses, and many of the smaller surrounding cities operate a course as well, including Cheney, Andover, Winfield, Newton, Wellington, Halstead, Valley Center and McPherson. There are also some wonderful choices in privately owned, public golf courses in Wichita, Haysville and Derby.
Finally, there are many, many options for private clubs in the metro as well. Each one has its own focus, list of amenities and strengths. Many of the private clubs are surrounded by beautiful homes and offer an entire golf lifestyle, complete with an option for private golf carts, workout facilities, pools and social functions. Some are more casual, and some are more formal. Some are owned by local individuals; some are owned by corporations with a portfolio of other clubs spread across the United States and still others are owned by the members themselves and governed by a board of directors. And, like just about everything in Wichita, there are eastside and westside options that generally mirror each other. Dependent upon how many times you may play per week or month, there may even be a bottom-line financial advantage to joining a private club. Competition has driven the consumer costs down and made for excellent pricing options across the city.
I would encourage anyone who is interested in the game of golf, whether an accomplished player or someone simply wishing to get started, to take full advantage of all the incredible opportunities Wichita has to offer. Economically speaking, it is an incredible value compared to the coasts and other metropolitan areas, and there is not a single aspect missing from Wichita’s golf offerings…there is something for everyone.
Written by Jim Elliott, PGA Professional
and Realtor with Hayden Outdoors Farm, Ranch & Recreational Real Estate