Tag: Fitness

Doug Albers and GreatLife KC in Tee Times Magazine

TTGG GreatLifeKC April17   DocHub

In a recent Tee Times Magazine, writer Alan Hoskins discussed the newest acquisitions to the GreatLife KC family, and spoke with Doug Albers about the new additions, read on for more information!


Private club Blue Springs was in danger of being used for land development of residential properties, and with the public unaware of the quality of the club and course, (due to its private nature,) GreatLife KC found it a perfect addition to the list of clubs that continues to grow. By purchasing the course and keeping it functioning, they have kept the security of a club that might otherwise have been forced out of the community by the value of its land. Blue Springs is soon to be getting a brand new fitness center, either in the current clubhouse or in a new facility on the grounds.


Hillcrest is one of the most historic courses in the Kansas City area, being the second oldest course in Kansas City, and designed by Donald Ross, who is a well known architect, and master of excellence in the game. Plans for Hillcrest after the making the agreement include reopening the swimming pool, as well as adding health and wellness amenities in the future.


Prairie Highlands, with its traditionally European style of links course, was also a natural addition to the team. It is a well respected course, with player-friendly greens, and beautiful mounds and rolling tundra landscapes that reminisce with the roots of the game. A fitness center and other amenities are also slated for the near future of Prairie Highlands, as well.


When interviewed, co-owner of GreatLife KC Doug Albers said: “we want to give members the feeling of belonging to their own primary golf club where they also have the ability to have an extended family of other courses to play. So, while you belong to the one golf club where you joined – you actually belong to 18.” Which is a key to the success of GreatLife KC. Membership  levels vary, based on your needs, but membership to one gets you access to many other clubs, giving you an incredible amount of variety not just in courses to play, but also amenities that appeal to the whole family.  


This means that golf can be the focal point, but fitness, recreations, family bonding, and social activities are also inherently part of the package. “A big part of the the business for us is fitness,” said GreatLife founder Rick Farrant. “Many of our members are not golfers, but once they get in the gym and look out over the golf course, they often start exploring the idea of taking up the game. We also want our members to feel like we’re glad we’re here, that their primary club is their own club, and provide a family atmosphere.” This not just provides ample amenities and features for members, but also helps to breed new enthusiasts of the sport, proving that the growth potential of the game is still there.


New Aquisitions to the GreatLife KC Family

Busy as always, Doug Albers and the rest of the GreatLifeKC team are pleased to have acquired four new golf courses!


Green Hills Golf Course in Chillicotch has a challenge ready for golfers of any skill level. Native tall grasses and a beautiful location surround the course, which has a unique links-inspired layout that is very scorable, but also presents players with skill challenges. As with all GreatLife KC courses, it’s not just about the course itself: it’s about the people. A friendly and professional staff pair with excellent members, making for an enjoyable and welcoming  experience whenever you go.


Hillcrest Golf Club in Kansas City boasts beautiful grounds, event spaces, and a challenging course. Narrow fairways, scattered slopes/fast greens, and well-established trees make for a perfect afternoon of peaceful relaxation while still putting your game to the test! One of the area’s more historical courses, Hillcrest was the work of famed Scottish course designer Donald Ross in 1916. The setting away from any housing or development means a serene outdoor environment full of wildlife and beautiful vistas.


Blue Springs Country Club in Blue Springs resides under the watchful care of a meticulous Grounds Superintendent, leading to continously being ranked as one of the best-conditioned courses in the tri-state area! Quiet serenity surrounds this golfer-friendly course. Large trees with plenty of character, but matched with forgiving fairways presents the perfect mix for golfers! Professional staff excels at treating you like royalty. The Player’s Lounge consistently gets great reviews on the food and drinks, and is a perfect way to unwind after a game.


Prairie Highlands Golf Course in Olathe brings a touch of Scotland to the Kansas prairie! Following the traditional style, you can expect to find a walkable course with abundant shot-making opportunities. Ron Whitten is Golf Digest’s Senior Golf Architecture Editor, and he named the course “What Affordable Golf Should Be” in the Sept. 2001 issue of Golf Digest. Holes to make you think and 60 strategic sand bunkers will test your game, yet the oasis-like prairie-surrounded course is still very playable and fun. The perfect mix!
These clubs and courses are all unique, storied, and beautiful additions to the GreatLife KC family, and we welcome you to stop by and check them all out! If you want to stay up-to-date on all the latest happenings with GreatLife KC (there is always something new) you can sign up for a mailing list at the GreatLifeKC website, GREATLIFEKC.com

History Meets Progress at St. Joseph Country Club

Construction of a new addition and state-of-the art fitness center at the St. Joe Country Club began in the latter half of 2016, and has now been finished! The Saint Joseph Country Club Facebook Page has an event planned for January 19th to show the new fitness center to members, as well as discussing the future changes and updates planned for club!

Obviously with the site’s beauty, and their history and credentials, GreatLife KC, Doug Albers, and Rick Farrant were thrilled at the ability to bring St. Joseph Country Club into the the GreatLife Golf family. The discussions began with the members of the Foundation in November of 2015, and the final vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the sale in January of 2016.

Over 100 years old, the St. Joseph Country Club in Country Club, MO is a beautiful landmark that takes you back to the game of golf in the late 1800’s. The organization of the club took place in 1898 at the Corby home, which acted as the clubhouse until 1903, and the first round of golf was played in 1899. When the club began in 1898, there were only ten golfing country clubs: six in New York, two in Chicago, one in Columbus, and one in Kansas City, and the regular team matches between Kansas City Country Club and St. Joseph was directly responsible for the Trans-Mississippi tournament, which has become one of the nation’s most respected and anticipated amateur golf tournaments.

“While we are stable financially and have grown substantially over the last few years, the Board feels that the club can offer our members a brighter future and more amenities under the professional management, additional investment and economies of scale that GLKC offers us,” club President Tyler Morgan said.

Part of the plans in adding St. Joseph CC to the GreatLife Golf family were, of course, adding to the amenities already available at the club. Adding state-of-the-art fitness centers to a club’s existing amenities is one of GreatLife Golf’s key tenants, along with varied pricing options for membership that allow for greater accessibility, and options for families to keep fit and active as a group.

“We have a proven formula combining golf and fitness along with other club amenities that provides a strong model for club growth, We are excited that a tremendous golf facility with the tradition of the St. Joseph Country Club might become part of our family of elite clubs,” Farrant said at the time of the member vote.

The talks began tentatively in the Spring of 2015 when a decline in the the number of new golfers had club members concerned. Though financially stable, the numbers reflect a trend in the industry, and St. Joseph Country Club was looking toward heading that trend off at the pass. “We see this as the ultimate … step in securing this club’s future,” said Country Club Board of Directors President Tyler Morgan. “They’re very excited,” Morgan said. “They feel as if this will be one of their elite clubs in this Kansas City marketplace.”

“I’ve never been more excited to be a member of this club. Our membership came to us and charged us with a duty over a year ago to find a new solution, a viable solution that would take us into the future and help us to exist.”

With Doug Albers, Rick Farrant, and GreatLife specializing specifically in innovative ideas, and improvements that focus on adapting and adding to the existing character and amenities of a course and clubhouse, it seems like a match made in heaven!

GLKC said during talks that it plans to keep key personnel at the club, as Stjoechannel.com reported during the vote. “As a highly respected professional, we definitely want [PGA golf professional] Mike Habermehl to continue his excellent work at the club, and Greenskeeper Kip Beer has a tremendous track record of maintaining the course in exceptional condition,” said Farrant. “We not only want to see operations continue, but be improved.  We also see St. Joseph Country Club as a big asset to the St. Joseph community, and want to assure it plays an even bigger role in that regard.”

5 Steps To Getting Your Child Involved In Golf

The junior golf industry has grown significantly in recent years. A number of companies have sprung up in the past decade selling junior-only equipment and apparel. There is a lot of opportunity for junior golfers to hone their craft, and many of those opportunities are available to young children. Golf is a great activity for young children since it is a sport focused on self-discipline. If your child wants to take golf lessons, it can be hard to know where to start due to the wide variety of options. Here are a few tips to help you get your young child into golf:

  • Make sure your child is having fun. 

When your child takes on a new hobby, it can be tempting to create goals for your child to reach. Don’t get caught up in what you want you child to achieve. Focus on whether your child is having fun above all else. Remember that it’s just a game and remind your child of this, too. Make sure your child is well-rounded by encouraging him or her to play other sports or engage in other activities like music or art. Golf clubs that have related activities like Fling Golf or Foot Golf, or a swimming pool, can also be a lure for children. Mixing it up between fun games and learning the game of golf makes it feel like an outing to fun activities, rather than a a chore or skill to practice. If you are in the Kansas City-area, check out GreatLife KC, which has a variety of family-friendly innovations!

  • Find the right instructor. 

Even if you’re a golfer yourself, it’s best to find your child a professional instructor who knows how to teach someone the basics of golf. One of the best resources to use when looking for an instructor is PGA.com, which you can visit to find a PGA Professional near you.

  • Get the proper equipment. 

When it comes to buying equipment, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the large variety of options, especially if your clubhouse doesn’t have a pro-shop and/or doesn’t carry items for youngsters. While the majority of major golf club companies make junior sets, it may be best to first look at manufacturers that cater to junior golfers in particular. One of the best manufacturers of junior golf equipment is U.S. Kids Golf. Studies have shown that many junior golfers who use the wrong equipment end up with lifelong swing flaws. In the past, children learned golf using adult clubs that were cut down to junior size. These clubs were heavy and unbalanced. That’s why junior golfers should turn to junior-specific equipment companies. Also make sure that it isn’t just gear your child is equipped with, you need to make sure that they have the apparel to keep them safe in the sun, comfortable, and stylish on the green! If you have a very young golfer between the ages of 3 and 6, check out a company called The Littlest Golfer, which not only has equipment, but also has a great selection of hats, shirts, outerwear and accessories for boys and girls of all ages. Their apparel is of the highest quality and the clothing is specifically tailored for children.

  • Find the right place to play. 

The majority of golf courses are accommodating to junior golfers, and some have specific times set aside for when juniors are allowed to play. It’s a good idea to look for a course that offers junior or “family tees.” There is also the PGA of America Family Course Program, which allows PGA Golf Professionals to make golf enjoyable for the whole family. Which leads us to our last point:

  • Make it a family affair. 

If you don’t know how to golf, take lessons at the same time, and practice with your child! If you do, go golfing together! Practice putting at home in the back yard together. Stop for a treat at the clubhouse together. It’s important not just to help your child develop a skill, and get them out and active in the sunshine, but it’s a great opportunity to develop moments together as a family.

It’s never too early to put your child in golf classes. If you follow these steps, your child will be able to hone his or her skill in the amazing sport of golf.


Doug Albers on The Radio

The KC Golf Guys Radio Show presented by TEE TIMES GOLF GUIDE Magazine airs Wednesdays on 102.9 FM and 1140 AM at5 p.m. Bill Cromwell with Host Mike Hull provide all the information they can cover in one hour each week about golf within the Kansas City, Lake Ozarks and Branson areas.

Guest Doug Albers co-owner of GreatLife Golf KC discusses all the new courses the company now owns in the Kansas City golf market and Lake of the Ozarks, and find out about the new Golf Skate Caddy now available for rent at several KC area golf courses.

Below is the interview with Doug Albers that aired on August 3rd on 102.9 FM and 1140AM at 5pm. Listen to it here, or find out more info about the show.

Tell us about the courses you’ve purchased in the last 6 months.

We’ve added six new acquisitions since the first of the year. Osage National, most recently we acquired Deer Creek and Tall Grass from another company that used to be in the Kansas City market and decided they probably didn’t want to compete with us and so decided to sell to us.  

We also picked up Royal Meadows golf course by the ball park, Painted Hill in Kansas City, Kansas and Falcon Ridge, which I believe is a premiere property for us.

Tell us about the membership… When you join one course you have the ability to play on the other’s as well?

We’ve broken our membership rate into three categories. We have what we consider our private courses and those would be Canyon Farms, Staley Farms, St. Joseph Country Club and Tall Grass. Then we have our classic membership, which includes Deer Creek, Drum Farm, and Falcon Ridge. And then our champions membership, which includes our courses Leavenworth Worth, Liberty Hills, Painted Hills, River Oaks, Royal Meadows, and The Oaks. We call Osage National part of KC Great Life journey, so we have them in most categories.

For those that belong to the legend, which would be our upper tier, basically our private golf courses, membership rates are as low as $225/month for a single and $275 for a family. Compared to what people are paying for private golf courses, which is around $800 per month or higher, this plays into what Great Life is all about including more families and a greater array of people to play golf at reasonable rates.

Since membership deals give you access to multiple courses, you have the ability to experience more and won’t be playing on the same courses each and every time like most single club memberships. It’s like you belong to 6 – 8 different courses and can plan your week, month and more around playing different places yourself and with others.

Yeah, it’s really fun. A lot of guys have told me normally we play here at our normal course on Thursdays and Saturdays, or Thursdays and Sundays, and now what they are saying is, well, maybe now our Thursday group will play at Falcon Ridge and our Sunday group will play at our home course Deer Creek! Maybe every other week we’ll go up to Drum Farm and play with our Thursday group. And again, you get treated as a member because you’re a member at all of the courses. If you aren’t on your home course, the worst you’ll have to pay is the cart fee.

You’re involved in charities for children and family. You belong to the Great Life Cares Foundation?

Our founder Rick is just an awesome guy. He and his wonderful wife have been foster parents for over 100 kids in the last 15 to 20 years. In fact, the last five kids they were foster parents for they ended up adopting. So their own five children were grown, and next thing they know they have five more kids that they are raising. So when we became connected with the Drum Farms golf course, the purpose of Drum Farm Children’s Institute is to take care of foster families and foster kids that need to be placed either temporarily or permanently. It went in real easily with what Rick and his wife have always been closely tied to. And so, currently about 15-20% from the Drum Farm golf course go back to the Drum Institute for Children to help keep the work they are doing moving forward.

Great Life Cares also works with the Make A Wish Foundation and other charities. It is an overall perspective of the Great Life family that we are not only here as a revenue generator for the properties and families in and or around the Kansas City area, we also do care to help people in a charitable manner.

Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge Join GreatLife

This article comes from  KC Golfer Magazine Publisher, about Doug Albers, Sr. and the exciting developments and innovations from GreatLifeKC!

The GreatLife golf family just got bigger.

The regional golf and fitness group has added Deer Creek, Falcon Ridge and Wichita’s Tallgrass to its group of fourteen (14) GreatLifeKC courses.

During a July 29 open house, GreatLife owner Doug Albers explained why the addition of these courses made sense.

“It’s a great addition to the courses we already have in our family,” he said. “Now we’re somewhat on the Johnson County side. We’ve had a heavy presence on the Missouri side of the state line, until we got Canyon Farms recently. Now we get to kind of round out this side of town. In the big 435 loop of life in Kansas City there’s a whole lot of access to our golf courses for all of our members.”

Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge join Drumm Farm in the ‘Classic’ tier of courses, while Tallgrass becomes part of the ‘Legend’ tier, along with Canyon Farms, St. Joseph Country Club, and Staley Farms. The ‘Champion’ tier remains the same, including Leavenworth, Liberty Hills, Painted Hills, River Oaks, Royal Meadows, and The Oaks.

GreatLife CEO Doug Farrant was pleased to add these courses to their offerings, even though 2016 has been a hectic time for all involved with Painted Hills, Royals Meadows and Tallgrass all coming into the GreatLife family at about the same time.

“We’re having a lot of fun doing what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re really excited about these because these are two really great properties, and Drumm Farm we would really put in that category, too.”

Both Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge are currently public, daily-fee courses. GreatLife has plans to take them to a private membership level which helps increase the value of the course and the surrounding properties.

“(Local homeowners) would rather have it become a more of a prestige-type of course than a public-type course because they feel that it adds to the value of their homes,” Albers said. “And it probably does, especially if they have a home on the golf course.”

Farrant explained that the process has worked well at their ‘Legend’ level courses and expects the same results for Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge.

“We’re really comfortable with the membership model,” he said. “We’ve got some history on this and we’re officially full at Staley Farms. Canyon Farms is probably under 80 from being (full). Once again, I think more is better. The more we add – courses, fitness, activities, all of the above – is all good.”

As always with GreatLife, the focus is not just on golf. Plans are afoot to enhance the existing golf offerings at Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge with access to fitness facilities and additional family-oriented activities.

“It’s an evolving process,” Farrant said. “It is what we do. We’ll eventually have fitness options and we have definite ideas on what we’re going to do over here, but we’re not quite ready to announce that yet.”

“They’re working on that,” said Deer Creek General Manager Chris Fink. “There’s a possibility of adding on to this building and adding a fitness facility in the future, or joining up with some of the local fitness clubs. Joining here, our members would become a part of that fitness center, doing a partnership. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes to try to get fitness here at Deer Creek.”

Primarily, GreatLife wants to provide activities for the entire family, including fitness, plus FootGolf and FlingGolf, which are golf-oriented variants of soccer and lacrosse, respectively.

“It’s one more thing to get families here,” Albers said. “We can have a dad on a weekend playing golf and mom goes shopping and he’s got the kids. Well, now he can go out and play nine holes at Drumm and his kids can play right next to him, playing FootGolf or FlingGolf. Or we can have a group that tees off that’s playing regular golf and right behind them is a group that’s playing FootGolf and behind them is a group playing FlingGolf.”

“Any family activity is good for us,” Farrant added.

GreatLife is also the first organization to offer another fun item with the introduction to all of their courses of the Golf Skate Caddy, which Albers expects will improve speed of play.

“If a foursome goes out – all four players are on a Golf Skate Caddy – they’re all going to their own ball individually at the same time,” he said.

“We just put those in last week,” Fink said. “It’s different. It’s something that’s going to change golf a little bit. They are fun to ride. We’re the first courses in Kansas City to have them, all the GreatLife properties.”

The offering from Sprocket Golf is like a golf cart built for one person who rides it in a manner similar to a Segway, quickly allowing individuals to move directly to their own ball.

“All the millennials are excited,” Albers said. “I’m excited and I’m not a millennial. Being on one of those things would be super fun to get out there and just go to your own ball and play.”

Of course, the golf at Deer Creek is always good.

“It’s the golf course itself (which makes it unique),” Fink said. “The golf course conditions are really good. The greens are really good here. I don’t want to say it’s a hidden gem because it’s been around for a while, but the golf course is a good golf course. Deer Creek’s been around a long time. I’m just excited to get it back on the map, being a place that people want to be at, just a fun place.”

Deer Creek is also a good place for community and corporate gatherings.

“We have two and a half banquet rooms,” Fink said. “We have a multi-boardroom style that fits 20 to 30 people and then we have an upstairs one that holds 150 and then another one that holds about 300. Last year, we did about 70 weddings. This year we’ll do 60 and next year we’re on track to do 80. Plus, we do another 300 or 400 events, whether it’s corporate or bar mitzvahs or retirement dinners, birthday parties, meetings. We do a lot of corporate meetings.”

At Deer Creek and Falcon Ridge, and at Drumm Farm, the goal is to increase membership to about 400 with a collective membership level of at least a thousand for the three courses. The annual membership at Deer Creek, Falcon Ridge or Drumm Farm allows members to play at any of those three courses or any of the ‘Champion’ tier courses, while play at the ‘Legend’ tier courses would be available for a small additional fee. Membership at any level also provides discounted rates at Osage National for the golf course or their “Stay & Play” packages.

Members have access to 58 regional clubs. The reciprocal play opportunities at 14 clubs in the Kansas City, Wichita and Southern Missouri area means there will always be somewhere for members to play, even when your home club is closed for a tournament or other private event.

“There’s going to be a lot of availability for people to play,” Fink said. “Even if we have a tournament or Falcon Ridge has a tournament, there’s still other golf courses these guys can go play. From a market standpoint, it’s going to be fun to watch. Everybody’s a part of the GreatLife family.”

“Somebody may have an outside tournament on (one course),” Albers explained, “so it gives them somewhere else to play instead of saying ‘we’re out of luck, our course is shut down’.”

Reciprocal club access also helps members in other ways.

“You may have a guy who lives here and works in Independence, so he can go out and work out at that facility out there and he plays golf here,” Albers explained. “There are always those tradeoffs. Maybe it’s absolutely the reverse. He plays golf there and works out this way. So, I think with the 435 loop, this gives everybody so much access to all of these properties.”

“Everybody’s still going to have a home course,” Farrant said. “We wanted to have that member feel, but we’ve got a few people that just play them all regularly. I think that’s a real added benefit. If you’re a GreatLife member, there are 58 courses you can play for basically a cart fee. As that continues to expand we just hope that continues to get better and better.”

Another positive aspect of being a GreatLife member is that it benefits the community. Fifteen percent of Drumm Farm’s revenue goes to the GreatLife Cares Foundation, a charitable organization which assists foster care children and families.

“When you play golf there you’re technically helping the Drumm Farm Children’s Institute,” Farrant explained. “They’re a fabulous thing. They do some really great work. It’s something that really makes you feel good to get behind and support.”

There are a lot of good reasons to become part of the GreatLife family.

“It’s just a good day to be a GreatLife member,” Albers said. “A lot of times we’ll see a family come out and to be a part of that quality time – you can tell they’re enjoying themselves, even if it’s not playing golf – is something we take a lot of pride in.”

For more information about Deer Creek or Falcon Ridge, visit www.deercreekgc.com or www.falconridgegolf.com

For more information about GreatLife, visit www.greatlifegolf.com

The Perks of GreatLifeKC

In August, the Kansas City Star reported on GreatLife KC, and the remarkable concept of combining fitness centers with golf courses. It details the growth of GreatLife KC, and the idea behind it’s expansion into the Kansas City area.


“In analyzing the Kansas City market, we saw there was a nice top-tier of country clubs, but we didn’t feel there was a mid-level market,” said Rick Farrant, whose company also owns and operates the Staley Farms, The Oaks, Leavenworth, River Oaks and Liberty Hills courses.


Part of the mid-level market appeal is the business plan of one membership covering both golf and a gym. All the local golf course properties acquired by GreatLife will either have gym facilities built into converted spaces within the existing buildings, or will have a new building erected on site to house the new workout spaces. In the event that those options aren’t possible, the company will look to partner with a nearby gym or health club to continue to provide the same benefits.


“We’re trying to bring our membership-based system to that” market, Farrant said. “What we do is a two-for-one. We don’t care if you join for fitness or golf, you get both. And you get both for what you’d normally pay for one.”


The great part about the idea is that it’s beneficial for the members not just because of the two-for-one prices, but because it gives more opportunities for an individual or family to get out and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Maybe while you’re working out you realize it’s going to be beautiful weather over the weekend, and maybe the family would enjoy a few rounds outside. Or maybe you’re a golfer, who is more inclined to spend a little time at the gym now that it’s part of the package. “A lot of times at our fitness centers you’re looking out at a view of our golf course,” Farrant said. “We’ve found that people who join the gyms eventually start playing golf. And with the club setting, you can bring the kids out and play two or three holes, or six, and you don’t have to leave your life savings there when you leave.”


It isn’t just fitness and golf, either. While the amenities will vary by location and membership level, don’t forget that many of these clubs have perks like dining facilities, social functions and special events, pools, lessons and private instruction, club rooms, and more. “We believe that we’re creating golfers, and we’re excited about that,” Farrant said. “For us, a good day is dad’s playing golf, mom’s working out and the kids are in the pool. If we can get the whole family to the facility, then that’s a good day.”


And the hopes of the company don’t just stop with the KC area, they want top-tier memberships to be able to travel just about anywhere and get the same benefits. “We’re just getting ready to franchise,” Farrant said. “Hopefully you’ll be able travel to over 30 states and pull out your GreatLife card and you’re good to play.”


In a time when the game of golf is experiencing a decline in popularity, this can not only attract new members looking for gym facilities and entice them to learn to play, but it can also help families raise children who spend time outdoors, playing golf as a family. This sort of business model can also help revitalize golf as an industry. That’s a win-win situation.


You can view the the full article at KansasCity.com, or you can check out GreatLifeKC.com to see more about membership.

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