Staley Farms - Missouri - USA

Staley Farms Golf Club,
10310 North Olive Avenue,
Kansas City,
Missouri (MO) 64155,

  • +1 816 734-3839

  • Stacey Clodfelter

  • Eric Iverson

  • Joey Martinak

Eric Iverson has certainly packed his references list, working with Pete Dye at Dye Design and ending up with Tom Doak at Renaissance Golf. Between those two career stops, he managed to find some time to create a course of his own at Staley Farms, north of Kansas City.

It’s not difficult to spot the first first boss’s influence all over the work at Staley, whether it’s in the form of double-dogleg par fives or the No. 10 par three, which plays close enough to a Redan without fully being a Redan. It’s no surprise that Doak, himself a former Dye associate, picked up Iverson to join his team. If Iverson never gets around to doing another solo design, he can take solace knowing that Staley Farms is a highly-regarded effort.

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Reviews for Staley Farms

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Description: Eric Iverson is a very well known, having designed and built lots of Tom Doak’s new millennium courses at Renaissance Golf Design. Not so many people will be aware that he cut his design teeth with the course at Staley Farms Golf Club. Rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 1
Jeff Kissel

What makes a golf course truly exciting? That’s obviously in the eye of the beholder. A routing with wide hole corridors allowing for strategic decisions, gently rolling terrain, bold green contours, and firm and fast conditions – regardless of setting – are generally the boxes that need to be checked for me. While a course in a subdivision lined by houses may be a less desirable setting than a links by the sea or a mountaintop with views for days, by no means does the residential setting preclude a world-class level of excitement when it comes to the golf course itself. In my view, Staley Farms is easily the best example I’ve come across of a truly exciting golf course in a residential setting; it gets the player’s heart pounding from start to finish despite nearly every hole playing alongside early-2000s upper-middle-class homes.

As noted on the course’s information here, Staley was designed by Eric Iverson, an associate of Pete Dye’s who briefly went out on his own before joining Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf firm in the early 2000s. It certainly has a look and feel of a Dye design, but in a more minimalist way than was typical of Pete who was known to relocate quite a bit of earth at times. The course is routed across a very large, gently rolling piece of property dotted by creeks and a couple of ponds; while it’s hardly mountainous, no hole is flat from tee to green, and a few spots feature some pretty steep slopes. The greens are simply incredible: large, severely contoured, firm, and incredibly fast. The joy of imagining and creating one’s shots on and around these greens is palpable for players who enjoy that sort of thing; I would argue that this set of eighteen greens is as interesting as that of any Dye design I have played.

Staley’s opening hole sets the table with what the theme of the day is going to be: despite being one of the longer par fours on the card, the fairway measures between forty and sixty yards wide at various points allowing for players to swing away with impunity; the green, however, is one of the more severe on the course, with a massive drop-off leading down to its front left side from the upper shelf. From there, the course dips and tumbles across the terrain, rarely stopping on a level spot and always featuring a green complex with serious undulation. The entire front nine is lined with housing on both sides of nearly every hole, but with wide playing corridors, those houses do not particularly come into play. Great features abound, like the tiny fifth green with its minuscule pinnable shelves or the long seventh, a “Dye template” par four where hugging the fairway bunker provides the most optimal angle to avoid the subtle mounding short of the green on the approach. But for me, the biggest highlight of the outward nine was the short par four eighth, featuring a 70-yard wide fairway and a 10,000 square foot putting surface – a surface which on the day we played featured a devilish pin cut in the back left behind a four-foot-high shelf. Watching the ball land on the top of the shelf and disappear beneath it was a delight.

The inward nine is situated along the eastern edge of the property and runs along the newer phase of the residential subdivision where houses have not yet been built, creating a somewhat different character, especially over the first half of that side. With two par threes right out of the gate and two par fives coming immediately thereafter, it’s a unique routing, with what I consider to be a better overall collection of holes than the front; the tenth is the star of the early show, playing a bit like a Redan template hole with its massive kickslope pushing balls down onto the back left portion of the green. The thirteenth is a cool par five which doglegs right, splitting its fairway around a tree, and pinches severely between bunkers at the layup area, forcing a decision. The best green on the golf course, however, sits at the fourteenth: it features a huge trough within its 8,000+ square feet, angled from back left to front right, creating all sorts of intrigue for pin positions all over the surface. The closing stretch of three par fours features a ton of variety, from the short and uncomfortably uphill sixteenth to the rolling eighteenth with one of the more severe green complexes and surrounds on the course, with many pin positions requiring – not offering, but requiring – the use of a backstop slope to get close.

I can’t mince words when it comes to Staley: it was the most fun I’ve ever had on a golf course in the state of Missouri. While other courses may be objectively or subjectively “better” by any number of criteria – including the rankings on this site! – I can all but guarantee that if you are excited by the same things I am on a golf course, you’ll walk off the final green with a smile on your face. Aside from a brief nine-hole round on the Kansas side to check off #31 in my quest to play golf in all 50 U.S. states, I essentially traveled to the Kansas City area exclusively to play Staley Farms, and consider it to have been well worth the trip; I have a hard time believing there are any better courses in that area.

Played October 17, 2021

October 29, 2021
8 / 10
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