Archive for Thursday, June 29, 2000

Lakeside Hills: Olathe’s accessible public course

Blind tee shots make for interesting round

June 29, 2000

Editor's note: This is the fourth part of a summer-long series highlighting some of the better golf courses in the Kansas City metro area. This week, we take a look at Lakeside Hills Golf Course in Olathe.

In this day of the golf explosion (thanks, Tiger), getting a last-minute tee time is akin to accomplishing the impossible.

It's good to know there are places like Lakeside Hills in Olathe, where you need only show up, pay a reasonable fee and get in line at the first tee box to begin your round.

The 16th hole at Lakeside Hills, a 327-yard par-4, requires a
player to hit a blind tee shot down a hil. It also gives a
spectatular view of Lake Olathe.

The 16th hole at Lakeside Hills, a 327-yard par-4, requires a player to hit a blind tee shot down a hil. It also gives a spectatular view of Lake Olathe.

Lakeside Hills has an identity problem.

Part of it has to do with the fact that it is located near some of the top golf courses in the area Falcon Ridge, Iron Horse and even Heritage Park are all a drive and a short chip away. As a result, most people choose those courses, which are more accessible and more highly publicized.

In addition, Lakeside Hills, which features beautiful scenery through a tree-lined layout on the banks of Lake Olathe, is in need of some capital improvements. However, the city, which owns the course, is reluctant to put any real money into upgrading what has the potential to be an incredible course.

So the course plows on.

It operates from day to day by offering an excellent golf bargain. Consider that two golfers can play a round during the week (after 2 p.m.) with a cart for a mere $39, it is a steal.

On the weekends, you can walk the course for $19 or get a cart for just $11 more.

Who knew?

It's a price that is well worth it. The course features a number of interesting holes, which are made more challenging by hills a golfer must shoot over. It creates a number of blind shots that can sometimes make it a challenge just finding a ball.

Nowhere is that more apparent than on the 16th and 17th holes. The 16th, a par-4, 327-yard hole, would have to be considered Lakeside Hills' signature hole. A golfer drives at a wide-open fairway that heads down a hill overlooking the picturesque lake.

A straight drive could roll to the green, but most times a player is a short chip to the ample green. Of course, a drive that isn't as straight cam make for an interesting second shot through trees and golfers playing on other holes (the ninth hole is to the left and the 17th to the right).

Speaking of the 17th, it is a 317-yard, par-4 that features an uphill drive and a dogleg to the left. Again, it's a blind tee shot. If a player can stay to the right, he will get a roll down the fairway toward the green.

If he goes to the left, his second shot will be from a grove of trees. The chances of getting to the green in regulation are hampered greatly by the presence of a tree blocking your approach.

The 18th hole is another blind tee shot this one a 205-yard par-3 that requires a lot of club to get to the uphill green.

But blind shots aside, this is a course worth playing. The greens are a little slow in the early morning, but they firm up nicely to give a player a fair shot at making a putt. The fairways are a bit choppy at times, but are really no worse off than several other comparable courses.

And there are a few holes worth playing. The 367-yard, par-4 eighth hole is worth mentioning. This dogleg to the right allows a player to make the wise choice going straight down the middle down hill to a second shot that is no more than 140 yards or taking a chance and cutting the pond and grove of trees to the right.

A perfect shot going over the pond and trees will put a golfer on the green, putting for an eagle. Unfortunately, few get through the trees and the second shot is a punch through the trees with little hope of sticking it on the green.

It's a fun gamble. It's one of the reasons Lakeside Hills is worth playing.

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