Sycamore Ridge Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course, which Golf Digest has consistently ranked as the #1 Public Golf Course in Kansas six years running. Zagat concurred, ranking the course as its #1 Public Golf Course in Kansas in 2009. The par-72 course is also one of the most challenging when played from the back tees, with a yardage of 7,055, a USGA rating of 76.2 and a slope rating of 150 on Bent grass.
An interesting feature of the course is the distinct difference between the front nine and the back nine. The front nine features gently rolling topography and a wide-open, links-style design, while the elevated back nine has been carved out of mature woodlands. Water comes into play on 10 holes, and there are lots of bunkers and natural waste areas to add to the challenge. The greens are Bermuda grass and vary in both size and undulation.
One of the most noteworthy holes is the par-3 No. 8. This uphill hole plays to 174 yards from the White tees, 215 from the Black, but the rise in elevation makes it an even longer hole that will force golfers to add a club length or two. The tee shot passes through a wide opening in the trees, over an initial shallow rough ravine to an expansive green, but the challenge is not over. The green is difficult to read and features some gentle undulations.
Another particularly noteworthy hole is No. 9. This par-5 plays to a manageable 470 yards from the White tees and 525 from the Blacks. It's also one of the most scenic holes, as the fairway doglegs to the right around a lake. Any tee shot right of the fairway will be in trouble, as the lake, sand and native grasses guard the entire right side up to the green.
On the back nine, the change in course style becomes immediately apparent as the links give way to tree-lined fairways. Hole No. 10 is also rated the most difficult on the course. At 467 yards from the back tees, it's a hike, but only 368 yards from the Whites. In either case, the fairway is narrow and slopes right to left, while water cuts through the fairway to guard the front of the green.
The next hole is also one of the most scenic and one that leaves little margin for error. This par-5 plays downhill from an elevated tee into a tree-lined valley. At 544 yards from the back tees, laying up is the only option for most golfers. And even those choosing the much more manageble 427 yards from the White tees will have to think twice as they approach a green surrounded by water.
The par-4 No. 12 is the signature hole and presents golfers standing on the elevated tee with a visually intimidating sight. Trees line this hole like the outside of a funnel, there's a forced carry over some nasty rough, and a creek runs the length of the hole on the right.
Practice facilities include a range with natural grass teeing area, along with putting and chipping greens with a sand bunker. Lessons are also available from the staff teaching professional.