Firekeeper golf course is an economic endeavor of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and the #1 Golf Course in Kansas according to Golfweek® magazine. The course is located in Mayetta, Kansas 15 miles north of Topeka just off Highway 75. Firekeeper is the first signature course of the four-time PGA TOUR winner Notah Begay III, the only full-blooded Native American on the tour. He designed Firekeeper in partnership with Jeffrey D. Brauer, ASGCA. Completed in 2010, the course opened in the spring of 2011.
Walking the Land
Before work began, the design team went through numerous routings to find the best possible 18-hole layout with minimal disturbance.
"We put a lot of time in walking the land, which is so important in golf course architecture and particularly in the Native American community," Brauer said. The process started from the moment the potential project was announced.
Randy Towner longtime Head Professional at Alvamar in Lawrence, Kansas is the General Manager and Head Professional. Towner was voted Golf Professional of the Year by his peers within the Mid-West Section of the PGA in 2010 and inducted into the Mid-West PGA Hall of Fame in 2016. “Firekeeper is a special place, and it is an honor to be chosen to help it reach its full potential. The course looks like it has been here for years and fits the land so perfectly. That’s the highest compliment you can give designers and Notah and Jeff have done a fantastic job with this course. It’s playable for all handicaps if you choose the right tees. I feel confident that Firekeeper will be one of the highest ranked courses in the state.” Michael Powell PGA from Lawrence and Tarell Ramsey from Topeka assists Towner in the management of Firekeeper. The Firekeeper Pro Shop has been voted the best Resort shop in the Midwest in 2016 and 2018.
The course is a par 72 and has four par fives, four par threes, and ten par fours. Firekeeper can play as long as 7,500 yards from the longest tees or as short as 4,500 yards from the forward tees. The course features bent grass tees, fairways, and greens with fescue rough. Holes number one and six share the same huge green, and although unique to a Kansas course this blends perfectly with the natural design. The only real hazards that come into play are the tall native prairie grass that helps define the holes but is positioned well off the fairways and an occasional creek that meanders through the heavenly back nine.
Step Away From The Bustle
The appeal of Firekeeper is that unlike golf courses that are designed to build houses, it is free of residential bustle. Tees are close to the last green, and the routing is easy to follow. At Firekeeper you hear and see all that nature has to offer. Firekeeper opens with seven holes in the prairie and finishes with eleven holes of natural Kansas creeks, rolling hills, and trees. Firekeeper has no weak holes, and you can comfortably hit a driver off almost every tee. Potential signature holes include the long five par fourth hole which measures six hundred and twenty-five yards and has a huge fairway bunker you must avoid off the tee and a massive mounded green bordered by sand. Hole number nine is a long par four which resembles the eighteenth at Augusta National and will play uphill into a south breeze. It’s usually easy to pick a signature hole, but there are many candidates at Firekeeper. The eighteenth is a fabulous par four that boasts a double fairway and offers a shortcut for the gambler. Towner said, “we will let the players decide their favorite.” I’m sure it will be the topic of debate over a cold beer in a rocking chair on the patio. The clubhouse has a patio that boasts a fire pit and a western view, the perfect place to watch a Kansas sunset.
Firekeeper Golf course is well worth your drive. Firekeeper is the only resort course in the Heartland ranked in the top 100 resort courses in America. Located across the street is the newly remodeled Prairie Band Hotel and Casino. The hotel is offering great stay and play packages, and it looks like a great bet for an overnight escape.