A nickel tour with a $5 round

By |  November 12, 2018 0 Comments
Seth Jones headshot (Photo: Golfdom)

Seth Jones

My father-in-law recently visited my family here in northeast Kansas. He lives in south Texas (McAllen), so he doesn’t get up this way too often.

I gave him the Seth Jones nickel tour of Lawrence. He’s a fellow Kansas University alumnus, but a lot has changed around town since the days Gale Sayers was running the football for the Jayhawks. Stops included Allen Fieldhouse, home of the original rules of “basket ball,” typed by Dr. James Naismith himself; West Coast Saloon, maker of the best cheeseburger in Lawrence; and Rick’s Place, my bar of choice since the day I turned 21.

It’s the same tour I’ve been giving visitors over the last 20-plus years I’ve lived here, plus or minus a few places, and in my biased opinion it’s pretty solid. Alan from McAllen enjoyed it. It’s nothing too sophisticated, I’m not really the art museum kind of host, but if that’s your thing I can point you in the right direction. You can meet me at Rick’s when you’re done.

My nickel tour soon will be growing by one stop, a golf facility visit right down the road from our small town of Eudora. I’ve got some great golf courses nearby, definitely, but time is money, and this humble little course only takes 15 minutes to play for the price of $5.

The Red Bridge Wee Links at Twin Oaks Golf Complex opened for play this summer. It’s a six-hole short course meant for kids, beginners or folks looking to knock the ball around in a quick and easy format. The length of the entire course is 152 yards and can be played in about 15 minutes. The longest hole is 33 yards, the shortest, 14.

The course was designed and constructed by David Axland and Twin Oaks owner Jeff Burey. Axland, a Kansas native and old friend of Burey’s, has done shaping and renovation work at courses like Riviera, Prairie Dunes, Friar’s Head and Sand Hills.

Twin Oaks comprises a driving range, a par-3 course, and now this short course. Before the Red Bridge Wee Links was there, Burey had a rundown putt-putt course on the acre of land next to his clubhouse. Burey ripped all that out and, with donated time and supplies, built the Red Bridge Wee Links for $10,000. He likes to joke that he took his lemon and made lemonade.

Kids can play the course with a golf ball, a low-flight soft ball or a SNAG ball. The greens have 6-inch cups and are Meyer zoysiagrass. Burey can mow the whole course in 45 minutes.

Burey is bullish on the activity the course saw this season. It’s mostly been kids getting in some actual golf after their lessons, but he’s also hosted a college golf class there, families and adults working on their short game.

“Throughout my career, and spending a little time with Tom Watson this year, we always talk about how we can get kids from the practice range on to the actual golf course,” Burey told me. “Lots of kids do clinics and camps, but they don’t always get on the course. This is beginner friendly and allows the 5-, 6-, 7-year-olds to learn the game.”

I took my 7-year-old son out for a quick round on the Red Bridge Wee Links. He also likes the par-3 course and he likes hitting range balls… but he told me this new course was his favorite part of the facility. Why? “Because it’s easy.”

Golf and easy are two words I rarely use in the same sentence, but I would agree. It’s the first time I’ve ever shot even par, that’s for sure. We played it twice and it made for a quick and pleasant hour — yes, hour — at the golf course.

It’s not traditional golf, but it’s the right amount to fit into the nickel tour.

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