Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate
Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course Design
A Pro’s Review by J.D. Brake, Head Golf Professional at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate
Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate in Overland Park, Kansas, will once again serve as the host golf course for the KC Golf Classic. Here’s a look at the golf course the Web.com Tour players will be facing the week of July 30th – August 5th. The front and back nine will be reversed for the tournament, creating some exciting finishing holes for these professional golfers.
Hole No. 1 - 487 Yards Par 4
Our 10th hole for the members, No. 1 is a dogleg right uphill. The club selection for the second shot will be determined by how much of the dogleg these guys want to bite off. A solid tee shot with a driver will leave a mid-iron to a large green where pin placement will be a key factor.
Hole No. 2 - 447 Yards Par 4
The most elevated tee shot on the golf course will be assisted by the prevailing wind. A three wood or driver should leave a short iron into a green that has a severe right-to-left pitch. The tee shot gets the attention here and is key to the hole.
Hole No. 3 - 592 Yards Par 5
The first par five is a risk/reward hole where a good tee shot sets up an opportunity to go for the green on the second shot. The risks are water to the left of the green and hitting from a downhill lie. If the decision is made to lay up, there are plenty of bunkers to gain their attention.
Hole No. 4 - 386 Yards Par 4
Although there is water near the tee box, that’s not a factor for these pros on this dogleg right. A three wood or a hybrid will clear the right fairway bunkers and then leave a short iron to one of the most severe greens on the course. The green sits up above the fairway with a large collection bunker that will catch balls coming up short.
Hole No. 5 - 158 Yards Par 3
The first par 3 is the shortest on the course where the left side and back of the green are surrounded by water. Opposite that, on the right-hand side, sits a small pot bunker that can be menacing. The wind is typically in the player’s face, which will make club selection a premium.
Hole No. 6 - 363 Yards Par 4
This hole begins a strong four-hole stretch on the front nine that can make or break the round even before you make the turn. Players will use a hybrid or long iron off the tee. Water guards the front of a small green, a two-tiered piece of real estate that can make putting hazardous to your score. It’s our No. 2 handicap hole for the members and has earned its distinction.
Hole No. 7 - 447 Yards Par 4
A strong dogleg left par four featuring a large waste bunker that guards the left side of the fairway right at the turn. There is a saddle in the middle of the green so getting on the right level of the green is going to be vital to make a good score here.
Hole No. 8 - 231 Yards Par 3
The longest par three on the course will require a long iron or hybrid to reach a green that is guarded in the front by a bunker. The right side of the green slopes away from the player and will require a soft landing to hold the putting surface. This hole is a long, strong par three that will require accuracy.
Hole No. 9 - 448 Yards Par 4
A solid finishing hole for the front nine with a slight dogleg left and fairway bunkers on the left side, setting up the need for an accurate tee shot to avoid the sand. The second shot is just as difficult to a very well-bunkered kidney-shaped green. This is a good front nine finishing hole that can produce a variety of scores.
Hole No. 10 - 427 Yards Par 4
A solid tee shot is primary on this straightaway start to the back nine with the emphasis on avoiding the bunkers on either side of the fairway. A good tee shot sets up a relatively easy approach to the green but a menacing bunker on the front right makes it a little more difficult.
Hole No. 11 - 211 Yards Par 3
A 200-plus yard shot over water to a green that sits right to left away from the player. The pin location will make a significant difference in club selection, particularly if the cross winds are blowing.
Hole No. 12 - 467 Yards Par 4
A solid dogleg left par four where a well-positioned tee shot can result in a mid-iron approach to the putting surface. There is a menacing bunker to the left of a tricky green that slopes from right to left.
Hole No. 13 - 562 Yards Par 5
The best eagle/birdie opportunity on the course where a strong tee shot will set up a possible iron to reach the green in two. The green is deceiving because it slopes away from front to back. Great scoring opportunity.
Hole No. 14 - 447 Yards Par 4
A dogleg left downhill with bunkers on the left side. Players can elect to bite off the bunkers to get a shorter approach shot. But beware if your ball finds sand. The green is wide but narrow front to back, and the club selection on the second shot can be crucial.
Hole No. 15 - 570 Yards Par 5
The start of the back nine stretch run that can make or break a round and will be key to winning on Sunday. The hole is reachable in two for long hitters with a wide, generous fairway. To make the green in two, you have to avoid a small bunker guarding the green.
Hole No. 16 - 364 Yards Par 4
Tee placement and wind direction on this challenging hole could create lots of excitement when players choose to go for the green from the tee box. Although the green is small and surrounded by four bunkers, it is relatively flat once the ball reaches the putting surface.
Hole No. 17 - 188 Yards Par 3
This is the Par-Tee Club hole, where cheers and shouts will echo in a stadium-like atmosphere that promises to generate lots of excitement. This hole is a “can’t miss” spot for spectators. The back of this green slopes severely to the front and will offer great chances for a hole-in-one.
Hole No. 18 - 442 Yards Par 4
A good finishing hole where a solid straightaway tee shot is everything. Tee shots will have 280-plus yards to carry the cross bunkers in the fairway. After a solid tee shot, the second shot is usually with a short iron to a relatively flat green. Players will have a good chance to close out with a winning birdie.
Total Yardage - 7,247 Yards Par 71
J.D.’s Picks as the Best Spectator Holes:
- 18th green watching the championship putt fall is always a must
- 17th green for all the excitement
- 7th green where there is a natural amphitheater setting
- 6th green to watch approach, putting, and tee shots
Blue Hills Country Club
Blue Hills Country Club, established in 1912 received its name from the fields that were covered in beautiful blue grass. In 1963, the Club moved to its current location located on Burning Tree Drive. In the 102 year history of Blue Hills our golf members have been led by only 5 Head Golf Professionals. Tom Clark, Duke Gibson, Bud Williamson, Todd Loechler, and our current head golf professional, Sean Dougherty have dedicated their lives to making each member’s golf experience memorable on a daily basis.
The golf course, designed by Robert Dunning, is kept in tournament ready condition and is consistently rated among the top courses in the Midwest. Its 7,347 yard layout has hosted many state, USGA, and U.S. Open local and sectional qualifiers. For twenty-five years, Blue Hills had the honor of hosting Tom Watson's Children's Mercy Hospital Golf Classic. Tom hosted four of the game’s greatest players - Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino. Over the years this event raised twelve million dollars for the hospital and is considered to have been one of the finest and largest grossing events of its kind. Mr. Watson, an honorary member of Blue Hills, retired this event in 2005.
Blue Hills Country club continues to be the finest championship golf course in the Kansas City area. With the completion of the greens renovation, Blue Hills has an A-4 bent grass putting surface that is second to none. A new irrigation system was installed in 2007, the pond on #5 was enlarged, and new all concrete cart paths were installed in the spring of 2014.