Cottages, Manors, and Residences
The residential architecture will reflect styles typically found in newer Johnson County residential developments, including expressions of country English, country French, and the more native prairie styles. Neighborhoods within The Kenneth Estates will connect with winding trail paths for nature viewing. Lots will range from $105,000 to $210,000. The cottages will be maintenance provided.
A History of Prestige
Kenneth Smith was born in 1901 and spent his teen years caddying at the Mission Hills Country Club. He quickly became fascinated with making and repairing clubs in his father’s Westport garage. In 1928, the young entrepreneur opened a Kansas City shop to make and sell golf clubs.
He and his wife, Eva, bought the late 19th-century stone home as well as 177 acres just south of 71st Street in Shawnee in 1933. This property became The Kenneth Smith Estates. In 1934, according to the Dispatch, Horton Smith won the first Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia, with a set of Kenneth Smith clubs and the business took off. Kenneth Smith was a skilled craftsman who made clubs tailored to each client’s specifications. Smith moved his golf club operation from Kansas City to his Shawnee location in 1935.
As word of mouth spread, Smith’s success grew, eventually including clients like Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby, Mickey Mantle, George Burns, and former presidents Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon Johnson.
The original Kenneth Smith Estates included the Smith family home (still standing) and manufacturing buildings bordered by a stately stacked-stone wall and a golf course where clients could try out their clubs.
In 1971, according to the Dispatch, Smith visited one of his clients, King Hassan II of Morocco, and later told employees about getting caught in the middle of a rebel desert attack. The coup disseminated and Smith returned home safely.
Legendary Kansas City golfer Tom Watson told The Pitch in 2006 about stopping by the Shawnee facility in the 1970s to have a putter refinished. “It was always fun to be in a place where they were making clubs professionally, not just gluing them together,” he remarked.
In a recent email to The Star, Watson wrote that Kenneth Smith “had a worldwide reputation of manufacturing sought-after woods and irons. His woods, in particular, were very popular with Japanese golfers who traveled to Kansas City to have clubs individually fitted. In Watson’s early years competing in Japan, it was fairly common for people to show him their Kenneth Smith clubs.”