Out of nearly 400 metropolitan areas in the US that we examined, here's how Kansas City stacked up:
Quantity Rank: 9
Quality Rank: 9
Overall Grade: 69/100
Quantity rank reflects the number of holes available for play within radiuses of 20, 50, and 100 miles of the city/cities, and the quality rank reflects the average ratings of local courses within those same distances. In both cases, the closer in a hole/course was, the more it counted towards an area's score. The overall grade was determined by how each city compared with 2018's #1 city.
Kansas City is a place where things meet: the borders of Kansas and Missouri, the Kansas River and the Missouri River, and, of course, discs and chains. With the Kansas City Flying Disc Club promoting the sport in the area since 1988, the city offers a wealth of courses that can delight players of all skill levels. Oh, and we’ve heard the BBQ isn’t half bad either.
We got two locals to give us their takes on what makes Kansas City one of the best disc golf cities in the United States: Ladies of the Chains hostess and former Ultiworld Disc Golf contributor Becca Kephart and course designer, former GM of Dynamic Discs Kansas City, and current local disc golf promoter and tournament director Scott Reek.
The mere mention of Kansas might put images of flat, treeless, windswept courses in your head. However, while Kephart admits that wind could be a “defining quality” of golf in the area, she also pointed out that it’s the kind of place where “you can play just about whatever kind of golf you’d like.”
Reek echoed that sentiment, saying, “If you want a flat course, wooded course, long course, or elevated course, you have a choice within a short drive.”
Also, if a little time in the car isn’t something you mind, other disc golf hot spots Emporia, Kansas and Columbia, Missouri are both under two hours from the city, making the array of course choices for visitors truly enormous.
Waterworks Park: Originally built by Depression-era water treatment plant workers in their spare time (the park, not the course), Waterworks Park offers a somewhat rare commodity for Midwest disc golf: elevation changes. Reek said the “fairly wooded” Waterworks is “a landmark course…[that] has been one of the most popular courses, not only in Kansas City but also to many of the top professionals over the years.” Along with great golf, the course’s elevation also offers players some spectacular views of the city and Missouri River. The course—found on the Missouri side of Kansas City—is the highest-rated course in the city by UDisc users.
Rosedale Park: Hopping over to the Kansas side, you can hit two courses in one park at the centrally-located Rosedale Park. First designed in the '80s, the original course on the property—known as Rosedale Up Top—consists of "mostly open fairways [that] feature steep drop-offs to punish errant shots” according to the Kansas City Flying Disc Club’s description of the course. Up Top’s counterpart, Down Under, was added in the late '90s and is a haven for those who prefer their fairways with some trees. Kephart said Rosedale Park was where she “fell back in love with the game” and also said it’s near “lots of places to grab lunch between rounds.”
Other Notables: Heritage Park (Olathe, KS — 30-minute drive from city center), Bad Rock Creek (Liberty, MO — 30-minute drive from city center)
Gear: To beef up your overstable disc supply to fight those prairie winds, both Reek and Kephart say you’re likely to find what you need at Dynamic Discs Kansas City.
Guides: The Facebook group for the Kansas City Flying Disc Club is a great place to reach out to locals for advice or guides. Kephart also recommends the Kansas City Disc Golf Divas to anyone looking for tips from female disc golfers’ perspectives.
Leagues and Weeklies: You can find all the information you need about local events on the Kansas City Flying Disc Club events calendar.
Chow Down and Drink Up: Unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, no trip to Kansas City is complete without some BBQ. This list from Southern Livinggives you a good place to start your research into finding the perfect Q, but if you want a shortcut, Reek seconds their choice of Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que (which Kephart says also has vegetarian options). If you’ve had your fill of the grill, Kephart recommends trying out the brewpubs McCoy’s Public House and Breweryand Brew Lab—both of which serve their own beer. Reek’s suggestions on where to get a few pints is Crane Brewingin Raytown, MO (20-minute drive from city center), who he says sponsor many disc golf events in the area.