Flint Hills National Golf Club – Played September 2016
- Rankings: Golf Digest #72
- Location: 1 Flint Hills National Drive, Andover, Kansas
- Year: 1997
- Architect: Tom Fazio
- Course Access: Private
- Walking Rules: Carts & Caddies Available
Score Card Information:
- Tournament: 7,080 yards, Par 71, 75.4 Rating/144 Slope
- Combo: 6,654 yards, Par 71, 72.9 Rating/141 Slope
- National: 6,425 yards, Par 71, 71.8 Rating/135 Slope
- Combo: 6,133 yards, Par 71, 70.7 Rating/133 Slope
- Member: 5,855 yards, Par 71, 70.2 Rating/131 Slope
The second course on our short jaunt to Okalhoma and Kansas was Flint Hills National Golf Club. This club is located just outside of Wichita and was about just under a four hour drive from Tulsa.
The club was started by Tom Devlin, who built his wealth with the company Rent-A-Center. He eventually built a clubhouse entirely of logs that came from Yellowstone. The wood was charred in a fire from the 1980’s and I am glad they were able to put to use. The club has hosted numerous large events and has received plenty of accolades for its 18 holes. The popularity of the club was evident the day I played as a titan of industry was playing with an LPGA player in the group behind us. This was my first time encountering a security detail on a golf course so that was interesting.
Below are a few photos around and of the clubhouse.
We were set to tee off in a heavy fog as you will see in the first few holes. The course had also received about 10 inches of rain in the previous two weeks as well as about 2 the day before we played. I would like to give a huge shout out to the grounds crew because aside from some wetness the course was in immaculate shape. It can’t be understated the job they had to do to get the course in that condition. Alright, let’s get into it. We played the National tees and all distances will be from those.
Hole 1 – 526 yards – Par 5
See what I mean about the fog. Luckily we had a great caddie who found all our shots, which is quite impressive. This hole is a dogleg to the right.
I was forced to stick with photos of the greens on the first few holes. This hole is a dogleg to the left with fairway bunkers on each side. The approach plays slightly uphill. As you can see below the green has a large hump off to the side that can influence certain putts.
This one is on the shorter end and is pretty open. With no fog the aggressive play would be to bomb driver as far as you can. The hole is straightaway and out in front of you. The challenge lies in the undulating green seen below.
In the fog we were lucky not to be able to see the large wetland area that is a forced carry off the tee. The green is pretty large, but is guarded by a few deep bunkers. You can have some long putts as seen below.
We remained in the fog here. This hole doglegs to the left. A drive up the left side will result in a shorter second shot.
The seventh is one of the longer holes so far in the round. The drive needs to be long and straight. The green sits angled to the fairway. It is one of the more unique greens I have seen with two tiers. It is different because the tiers are left/right instead of back/front. Your putting will definitely be tested.
The fog finally started to clear by the time we got to the eighth tee. We were greeted with a mid-length par three. This hole has less trouble than many others on the course. The only spot to avoid is the front bunker. Every other spot on or around the green gives you a chance for an easy par.
I mentioned the large amount of rain the area had gotten recently. A prime example of that is the ninth hole. This fairway was under a couple feet of water the week before. It is amazing how well it played. This hole calls for a long tee shot that stays right of the hazard on the left, which you cannot quite see from this photo. A slight draw that starts at stand of trees straightaway is ideal.
The second shot on the ninth may be the toughest on the course. As you can see, left is dead. There is room to bail to the right, but then you are faced with chipping back toward the water. Summon your best here.
The first hole on the backside gave me a case of deja vu. While it is not downhill, this reminded me of the 17th at Shadow Creek. As I play more I am starting to see more in the courses I play. This one makes sense as both are Fazio courses. The tee shot is obviously all carry. The green has quite a bit of undulation, but provides a large target.
There is plenty of room to bomb the tee shot here. You still need to be somewhat accurate as there is trouble left and right if you stray too far. The hole bends to the left and will be a three shot hole for most.
The twelfth features a halfway house and the monument you can see below. It is an isolated area of the course and is very peaceful.
This hole uses visual intimidation instead of length. The tee shot is blind, but is not too tough. The preferred play is a little to the left of the walking path.
This one-shotter plays to a very wide, but shallow green. Distance control is critical. You can see in the photo below that the overall slope goes from right to left.
There is nothing flashy with this hole. It is long and straight and requires solid shots to make a good score. The tee is set up to favor a draw, but don’t overdo it.
While this is not a short hole there is plenty of room to blast a driver. The best line is at the two bunkers in the distance on the left. The approach shot is not overly difficult and provides for a good birdie opportunity.
This can be a tricky shot even though it isn’t long. The pond borders the green everywhere except the right side. The slight downhill grade makes club selection difficult.
The home hole begins with a tribute to departed member. I always like to see these monuments.
The last tee shot is one of the most exciting. You have to be accurate with the driver as you can run out of room to the right. The trouble on the left is obvious, but the more you can bite off the shorter you will have left to the green.
I really enjoyed my experience at Flint Hills. As you have seen from the photos the course is equal parts challenging and fun. There are scoring opportunities if you are thoughtful throughout your round.
After the round my friend and I retired to the grill to get some food. I got the french toast, which I would highly recommend if you visit. We watched a little bit of college football before we headed out on the road back to Tulsa. It was a short trip, but I was fortunate to knock out two great courses. I really enjoyed my time in Oklahoma and Kansas.