Lawrence, Kansas: Turkey Bend? Windy Bend? Eagle Bend! Nice Course, But Little Wiggle Room

Eagle Bend Golf Course
1250 East 902nd Rd
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone: (785) 748-0600

If you find yourself traveling to or through Kansas City, Topeka, or Lawrence, Eagle Bend is not the cheapest public course by far, but it is a well maintained and challenging layout. The first six holes are links-style with undulating fairways surrounded by native grasses (sorry, no gorse) with the final 12 meandering through marshy woodlands surrounding the Wakarusa River.

Prices range from $22 (walking/18 holes/M-F) to $49 (riding/18 holes/weekend) with seniors (60+) and juniors (under 18) getting a slight price break during the week. There are no military or veteran discounts and, oddly enough, no “twilight” or winter rates and “NO DISCOUNTS (PERIOD) ON WEEKENDS”. You pay full price no matter what time of year or time of day it is, no wiggle room (more on that later).

The clubhouse is small with a snack bar that seems to do little business, a very limited pro shop, restrooms, a few tables and a couple TVs. I am not sure what capability to snack bar has, but I have never seen anybody sitting in the clubhouse eating a hamburger or sandwich. The pro shop has a small selection of balls and tees, a couple golf bags, and a few gloves, hats and shirts. It does not appear that Eagle Bend’s clubhouse is intended to generate much income as far as I can tell and it obviously does not.
The course is very walkable with the exception of the 300-yard treks between the clubhouse and 1st/10th tees and the 1st/10th greens and the 2nd/11th tees. Relatively flat, the only exertion you will encounter are the large gullies in front of the 17th and 18th greens.

The fairways are Zoysia grass and very well maintained. I have been told that their greenskeeper used to work for a cross-town course, Alvamar, and from what I have observed, they are lucky to have him because their fairways are in much better shape than semi-private Alvamar’s Zoysia fairways. If you hit a ball in the fairway, you should have a good lie, a ball that sits-up, and that is normally the case at Eagle Bend. The only exception, strangely enough, is the 18th fairway where the Zoysia stops at the 150 yard marker, leaving a routinely poor lie off of what looks like Perennial Rye grass for your approach shot to the final hole. 

The greens are decent and fairly fast, but few people seem to repair their pitch marks, so even the best putt can go astray from time to time. Maybe they could sell, or even give away, inexpensive pitch mark repair tools in the pro shop and post a few signs reminding people to clean up after themselves. Zoysia on the landing area of the 18th would also be a big plus.

There are not a lot of sand traps, but the few they have are strategically placed. The sand is heavy, likely river sand from the nearby Kansas River, leading to difficult shots and inconsistent results for those of us who do not carry a PGA Tour card.

With four sets of tees (gold, blue, white and red), the course is challenging for both sexes and all skill levels. Being close to sixty, I have lost some distance in recent years and find the blue tees a tad too long for my pleasure, so I normally play the whites when I want to enjoy myself. With prevailing winds from the south/southwest, all but four holes are reachable in regulation for the average golfer from the whites:

Hole #7 – From where the white tees are normally placed, hole #7 (par 4) plays close to 400 yards, normally into the wind, making it very difficult to reach the green even with two good shots. 

Hole #8 – A par 3, hole #7 normally plays between 150 and 170 yards directly into the wind with a lake running down the right and a large bunker left of the green, requiring anything from a six iron to a five wood off the tee. 

Hole #15 – Very similar to #7, this nearly 400 yard par 4 routinely plays into the wind with native grasses on the left and woods to the right as well as protecting the green on all sides.

Hole #18 – Another 400 yarder from the new, slightly elevated tees, this hole play into the teeth of the wind and has native grasses and woods lining the entire hole. There is a large gully in front of the green with a creek running under and on both sides of the fairway, narrowing to less than 20 yards for any short or errant shot.

When you are a high handicapper or senior and have difficulty hitting a drive over 220 yards with no wind, a par 4 that is 400 yards or a long, well-protected par 3 into the wind makes birdie impossible and par unlikely. From the white tees, 375-385 yards should be the longest par 4 on the course if you want to be fair to the average golfer and speed play.
Otherwise, Eagle Bend is fair and a good challenge as the wind is almost always blowing, swirling and changing directions because of the influence of the Clinton Lake Dam which towers over the west side of the course. Two of the four par 5s, #9 and #12, normally play downwind where par, even birdie, are very possible. Hole #12 is a double dogleg par 5 with trees to the right off the tee and a large lake guarding the left side of the fairway on your second and third shots. Hole #17, a short par 3 over a gully where par is achievable and wild turkeys can often be seen on the terraced slope in front of the green, is esthetically the nicest hole on the course.
Eagle Bend does not participate in GolfNow or other web-based discount green fee schemes, something a lot of courses utilize to fill empty tee times and generate additional income for the course. After all, it does not cost anything to have more people playing golf because overhead is the same while additional revenue is generated through green fees, cart rentals, pro shop and snack bar sales, and range ball fees. 

While on the topic of range ball fees, Eagle Bend’s are some of the highest in the area at $5 for 25 balls and $400 for an annual pass (unlimited balls). I get 75 balls for $8 at a crosstown range and paid a little over $100/year for unlimited balls while a member at Alvamar, so Eagle Bend’s prices are “out of range”, pun intended. High range ball prices are another phenomena I do not understand. The investments (balls, facility, personnel, equipment) have already been made, so why not get as many people hitting range balls as possible by lowering fees to a more reasonable level? I refuse to pay $5-$15 for a bucket of balls as do many others I know, so instead of generating some income, they generate little. Penny wise and dollar foolish in my opinion.

I play Eagle Bend several days a week and would think that with all of the empty slots I see, that the city would be clamoring for income, but the City of Lawrence and their employees do not seem to be very interested in profit. Maybe if the course had more play and a more enticing clubhouse, they could lower green fees, offer military/veteran discounts, extend junior/senior discounts to the weekend, and have twilight rates, adding even more revenue from those who would have played elsewhere. As an example, I play most of the winter at Alvamar because they reduce green fees to $15 (18 holes/walking/7 days a week) in the winter, several dollars lower than Eagle Bend’s “unbending” fees. 

The City of Lawrence government seems eager to maintain the status quo in this city of around 90,000. They stifle competition in favor of their friends (not a decent chain restaurant or selection of retailers in town) and are stuck in the 20th Century when it comes to managing their only golf course. Eagle Bend could be the premier golf destination in eastern Kansas, but backward thinking and poor management make it an average, underutilized entity likely on the brink of obsolescence and ultimate closure to become another park or free Frisbee/soccer golf complex.

If you play a lot like I do, they do not have an annual membership, but they do offer punch cards for 10, 20, 50 or 100 rounds (good for more than a year) with savings ranging from 25% to 60%, bringing green fees down to as low as $11 per round (walking) for a 100-round card … if you are willng to pay $1,100 in advance.

Eagle Bend is a fun, challenging course in desperate need of innovation, creative marketing, and management that embraces thinking “outside box” rather than maintaining the status quo. Golf courses are losing business and thousands are going bankrupt across the nation, a path I hope Eagle Bend is not headed down because the only other options in town are private and very expensive.

CombatCritic Gives Eagle Bend 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

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Title: Turkey Bend? Windy Bend? Eagle Bend! Nice Course, But Little “Wiggle Room”

Key Words: Eagle Bend Golf Course, eagle, bend, golf, course, links, City of Lawrence, Lawrence, Kansas, university, KU, Jayhawks, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Translation for Civilians: S&G = “Shits & Grins”

Too Late To Help Us Save K.U. Jayhawk’s Life – K.U. Died On February 23rd, 2016

RIP Little Buddy – K.U. Jayhawk: 2006 – February 23rd, 2016

His shelter name was Ryker, but we renamed him K.U. (pronounced k-you) Jayhawk when we fostered him on Thursday, February 11th, 2015 after he had been found wandering Lawrence just down the street from the University of Kansas (KU).

Poor K.U. was obviously sick when we brought him home even though the Lawrence Humane Society (LHS) said that their vet, Dr. Stone, had given him a “clean bill of health”. They told us that he had not been eating and had lost a lot of weight in the past week because he was “depressed”, adding that he was on an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection.
When we got him home, he was lethargic, would not eat, and vomited much of the water he was constantly drinking, peeing every two hours with zero defecation. When the situation continued into Friday evening, we became very concerned about his health and whether he was dehydrated (he was shaking uncontrollably) or not and that he possibly had an impacted bowel. His abdomen was also sensitive to the touch, wincing when I tried to pick him up by the belly and making me believe that there was a bowel problem. We decided not to call the 24-hour emergency number LHS told us was available, but waited to bring him in the next morning if he had not improved.

On Saturday morning, two days after bringing him home, he had not improved (still not eating, no bowel movements, and vomiting most water) and appeared to be in obvious distress, so we took him back to the shelter. We were led to believe that he would be seen by Dr. Stone that day, that he was “severely dehydrated” and on an IV, and had been given medications to help him have a bowel movement and stop vomiting. He was obviously a very sick little dog, requiring immediate medical attention and suffering needlessly. We received no further updates on his status on Saturday other than he was “the same” and that the Dr. Stone would probably now see him on Sunday. We were also not allowed to visit him.
We went to the shelter first thing on Sunday morning and their medical staff told us that he would not be seen by the vet until Monday, that his condition had not improved (he was obviously still suffering), and that we could still not see him. I was very upset by that point and told the medical staff member: “I hope he is still alive on Monday”, adding that we were also not happy because we were being prohibited from even seeing him.

My wife phoned me early Monday afternoon and told me that he had been hospitalized, that they were running more tests, and that it may “cost too much” to treat him now and that he could be “put down”. I called and spoke with a staff member around 1:30pm, asking to speak with someone about his status because my wife had not understood all that was told to her, but was I told the vet was on still “on lunch” and would not be available until around 2:45pm.
I told LHS in a Monday afternoon email that my primary concerns were as follows:
  1. Why were we sent home with an animal that was obviously very ill before he was given to us?
  2. Why was KU not seen by a vet over the weekend and allowed to suffer for two days without possible lifesaving interventions/treatment?
  3. Why were we, his foster parents, not allowed to even see him while he suffered alone in the shelter over the weekend?
  4. Had he been seen by a vet on Saturday, it may have allowed for interventions that could have precluded further deterioration and suffering, possibly leading to a more positive outcome than seems likely now.

K.U. is a such a sweet little dog and does not deserve the treatment, or lack thereof, that led to his unnecessary suffering and possible death, either natural or by euthanasia. We became quite attached to him in the two days he was with us, cooking for him to try to get him to eat, comforting him as much as possible, and giving him the love he had not been receiving. 
It does not seem very “humane” to me to allow a very sick animal to suffer needlessly for more than two additional days when we were told when we fostered him that “a vet is available in the event of an emergency, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week”. I also do not think it is very fair to us, the people that took him into our home and fed, sheltered and loved him, to not allow us to even see him. Is that any way to treat the people that volunteer to foster animals, expending a great deal of time, resources, and emotion in the process?

I finally received a call from Dr. Stone at 3:45pm in response to my email, telling me that his blood tests were abnormal and had a heart murmur, possibly caused by the underlying condition which at that point was still not clear. Dr. Stone referred to him as a “geriatric” dog on two occasions, qualifying the fact that he could be expendable, at least that is how I took it, so I told her, “he’s only ten years old, he not geriatric”. She then told me that they were doing an x-ray to see if there was an obstruction in his bowel, something they said they were going to do two days ago, and that she would get back to me.

Dr. Stone called back as promised an hour-and-a-half later telling me that the x-ray showed that his kidneys and liver were not where they were supposed to be, indicating that there could be a mass in his abdomen but they would not know for sure or what the prognosis was until the radiologist could finish his analysis.

It seems that from what we have been told that he may now be beyond help or that it would be “too expensive to save him” based on LHS fiscal constraints, but it could very well be benign mass which could be removed, allowing him to lead a healthy, happy life with us until we can find him a permanent home.
So I ask you to help save K.U. by contacting the Lawrence Humane Society @LawrenceHumane on Twitter, on their Facebook Page, by phone at         785-843-6835, or by email at using the following verbiage:

We beg you … please do not euthanize KU Jayhawk (aka Ryker) unless he is beyond help and it is the “humane” thing to do

Do it now because today could be his last day on Earth and we will never see him again. Spread the word to all of your friends on social media … PLEASE … and ask them to HELP SAVE K.U NOW!

Thank you.

UPDATE: February 18, 2016K.U. is at the Blue Pearl intensive care animal hospital in Overland Park, Kansas, 30 miles from Lawrence, but he is feeling a little better. Turns out he has diabetes, but the doctor at the Lawrence Humane Society didn’t realize it, so he went without insulin for several days. Now K.U. has an enlarged liver and pancreatitis, so he needs insulin and rest while his blood sugar stabilizes and his organs start to heal.

Thank you all for your warm thoughts and support. We hope to have K.U. back home with us very soon.

UPDATE: February 23, 2016 – K.U. passed away this evening after being transferred from Blue Pearl to Gentle Care Vet Hospital in Lawrence, Kansas. We were told he had been improving and was being tube fed, but he somehow died during the night. He is and will be greatly missed.

aka K.U.’s Foster Dad

Title: Help Us Save K.U. Jayhawk’s Life – ACT NOW – Tomorrow May Be Too Late

Key Words: KU Jayhawk, KU, K.U., Jayhawk, Jayhawks, University of Kansas, university, Kansas, Lawrence Humane Society, Lawrence, humane, society, dog, sick, shelter, ill, kill, plea, help