These are Kansas’ top five public and private golf courses, as ranked by Golfweek

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These are Kansas’ top five public and private golf courses, as ranked by Golfweek

In designing Mayetta’s Firekeeper Golf Course, professional golfer Notah Begay III — a native American — sought to highlight the natural beauty of the land where it’s located.

“You just say a prayer and talk to the land and ask it, ‘What do you want to do?’” he told The Capital-Journal in 2009.

Firekeeper opened two years later, and quickly became the crown jewel of public golf courses in Kansas.

In the updated annual rankings put out last June by Golfweek, Firekeeper — located 15 miles north of Topeka — retained the title it has held since 2012 as best public golf course in Kansas.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson’s Prairie Dunes Golf Course topped the state’s list of private courses. Golfweek also ranked Prairie Dunes 11th among the nation’s top 200 classic courses.

An international judging panel evaluates and ranks courses annually based on 10 criteria on a points basis of 1 through 10, according to Golfweek. 

Judges also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings are averaged to produce the rankings.

Below are the top rankings for public and private golf courses in Kansas for 2022, according to Golfweek.

Public courses

1. Firekeeper Golf Course at Prairie Band Casino & Resort, which was created by architect Jeffrey Brauer and Begay, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour. Firekeeper was the first golf course on Native American land designed by a Native American, according to Golfweek, which ranked it 15th last year among the nation’s top casino golf courses.

2. Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, Garden City. “It’s a visual landscape that spans two generations and 320 acres of land in Finney County,” says the course’s website. “Buffalo Dunes Golf Course is a Garden City attraction that has grown by leaps and bounds — as well as holes and slopes — since it opened in 1976.”

3. Ironhorse Golf Club, Leawood. “Sitting just off the state line of Missouri and Kansas, Ironhorse Golf Club is a quick drive from any location,” says the course’s website. “Just 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City, the Country Club Plaza and minutes away from Overland Park, this club is easily accessible for a quick getaway.”

4. Sand Creek Station Golf Course, Newton, which was honored by being chosen to host the USGA’s 89th and last U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in 2014. “Sand Creek Station strives to offer an unmatched experience similar to a private setting,” its website says.

5. Colbert Hills Golf Course, Manhattan, which was designed by Brauer and retired professional golfer Jim Colbert, who has eight wins on the PGA Tour and 20 on the senior Champions Tour. Colbert Hills is “a public golf course with all the amenities and polish of a private club,” says its website.

Private Courses

1. Prairie Dunes Country Club, Hutchinson, which opened in 1937. Prairie Dunes was designed by well-known golf course architect Perry Maxwell, who also redesigned the course at Augusta National. Prairie Dunes features rolling hills “reminiscent of the seaside courses in Scotland,” its website says.

2. Flint Hills National, Andover. Golfweek ranked Flint Hills National this past June as being in a tie for 116th among the top 200 modern courses. “Nestled in the rolling hills of south-central Kansas, Flint Hills National Golf Club features greens designed by renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio,” its website says.

3. Kansas City Country Club, Mission Hills. “Founded on May 1, 1896, The Kansas City Country Club is one of the oldest country clubs west of the Mississippi River,” its website says. “The Club has a proud heritage and was founded on a strong love of the game of golf.”

4. Wolf Creek Golf, Olathe. “Founded on a hunting trip in 1969, Wolf Creek stands as a shining testament to the efforts of those original six founders,” its website says. “Now 45 years old, Wolf Creek remains unique among golf clubs throughout not only the Midwest but the entire nation.”

5. Shadow Glen Golf Club, Olathe. “Conceived to meet the  high standards of the dedicated golfer while capturing the magnificent beauty of the rolling, wooded terrain, Shadow Glen wraps itself around hills and bluffs as though it has always been here,” the course’s website says.

Tim Hrenchir can be reached at or 785-213-5934.