Set within an extensive Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation property, the Firekeeper golf course is a Notah Begay III and Jeff Brauer design that debuted in 2011. It’s the first golf course built on Native American land by a full-blooded Native American as Notah Begay is one-half Navajo, one-quarter San Felipe and one-quarter Isleta. Graduating from Albuquerque Academy in 1990, he gained a degree in Economics from Stanford University in 1995.
The layout plays to a par of 72, configured with four par fives, four par threes, and ten par fours. It can be stretched to 7,500 yards from the back tees but it also measures a mere 4,500 yards from the forward tees, allowing players of all abilities to tee it up here. The course features bent grass tees, fairways, and greens with fescue rough.
A big plus point for Firekeeper is the absence of any residential elements. The routing is easy to negotiate, with tees set out close to the previous green. A round here starts out with seven holes in the prairie before transitioning into more undulating territory for the remaining eleven holes.
Highlights include the 1st and 6th holes (sharing the same large green); the very long 4th hole (with an enormous fairway bunker to avoid off the tee); the long par four 9th (played uphill into the prevailing wind); and the par four 18th, where the split fairway offers alternative paths to the home green.
Firekeeper is far and away the best conditioned public course in Kansas, and in my opinion is the best public course in the state. Very fun 18th hole stands out as the most memorable hole, and makes you make a decision off the tee to finish out your round. The course has plenty of length to host tournaments and I would not be surprised to see this course climb up national top public course rankings.