Doug Albers recently took part in the groundbreaking at Canyon Farms Golf Club. Below are some photos from the event:
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Doug Albers and GreatLifeKC were recently included in a Kansas City Star article. Click the below image to view the article in its entirety:
The weather is perfect, the courses are looking amazing and we have set up some fun events for you and your friends to play in. Check them out.
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Yordano Ventura was a Dominican pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. Born in Samaná, Dominican Republic, he got his start as a prospect at just 16 years old. He was full of life, and his passion for the game and his obvious joy in playing it quickly made him a fan favorite. He was twice-named to the All-Star Futures Game, and helped the Royals win the World Series for the first time in 29 years. He had explosive fastballs, an even more explosive temper, and his promising career ended abruptly when he died in a car crash in his native country at the age of just 25 years old.
He began his career with the Royals, signing as a free agent and training at the KC Royal’s academy for a year and a half. After a few years in the minor leagues, he came back to the Royals after they promoted him to the major league in 2013. His fastball topped out at an incredible 102 miles per hour. He racked up 39 career wins (including playoffs), and had the most innings pitched for the Royals since 2013.
Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said in a statement. “He was so young and talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with.”
He was also known for frequently visiting Kansas City-area pediatric cancer wards to spend time with the children and give away memorabilia. It is in his memory that the Kansas City Royals, in their partnership with GreatLife KC, sent Doug Albers on a mission during his recent trip to the Dominican Republic. Doug brought Royals gear, in the form of official t-shirts and youth Royals caps, to the children and young baseball players of the Dominican Republic, in honor of the memory of Yordano Ventura.
They also visited Estadio Francisco A Micheli, the stadium that is the home of the Toros, the team fellow Kansas City Royals alum Edison Volquez played with before leaving the DR to play MLB. Volquez also participated the season and game that defeated the Mets to win the Royals the World Series.
It is always a tragedy to see a promising career cut short, and a young, joyful life ended abruptly. It was an honor and a privilege for Doug Albers, and GreatLife KC to pair up with the Royals to use the memory or Yordano Ventura to help inspire a new generation of Dominican children to dream big and play hard.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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