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Introducing The Malaska Golf Online Learning Center

Fix your dreaded slice.

Add more distance.

And save $20 on Mike’s first book, I Feel Your Pain.


Promo Code — GLSAVE20

In the 2015 golf season, will you fix your slices and distance forever? Take a lesson from the former #1 player in the world? Or follow an innovative new path from beginner to scratch golf? It’s all made possible with GreatLIFE and their director of instruction, Mike Malaska.
Mike Malaska is bringing his decades of teaching experience to GreatLIFE members with the Online Learning Center.
As part of your GreatLIFE membership, you’ll have free unlimited access to the learning center for the entire 2015 season. We’re offering a sneak peek this week, as Mike fixes your slice and adds more distance to your game.
Mike was the PGA Teacher of the year in 2011. You may have seen him on the Golf Channel last week, helping golfers around the country with his renowned ‘uncomplicated’ teaching. Now Mike is bringing his decades of teaching experience to GreatLIFE members with the Online Learning Center — so that he can help you, and all our members, have a chance to become among the best golfers in the country.
Unlimited access to the golf course. And now, unlimited access to the best instruction in the world. This truly is the Great Life!
Follow this link for a special sneak peek. Mike will be fixing the dreaded slice, and adding more distance to you game, with a series of videos from all parts of the Online Learning Center.
P.S. – Also take a look at Mike’s first Book — “I Feel Your Pain”. Take advantage of the GreatLIFE discount of $20, using promo code GLSAVE20. It’s the perfect compliment to Mike’s teaching, and to your golf game.
Here’s to the GreatLIFE in 2015.

GreatLIFE Updates: A Successful Year One

Story provided by
Troy Klongerbo  

Announced on December 11, 2013, almost exactly one year ago, the GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club reports a successful year one.

Starting with 3 golf courses, a couple of fitness centers and a dream of changing the Sioux Empire golf scene, they ended 2014 with 12 courses in partnership, 5 fitness centers and plans for even more expansion in 2015. GreatLIFE General Manager Donn Hill is happy with their first year.

“This year has been a great success,” said Hill, in a phone interview last week. “Golf overall is in a bit of a decline, but rounds at GreatLIFE courses were up 48%. That’s something we’re proud of.”

With focuses placed on families and fitness, GreatLIFE was able to generate record numbers of couples, children and women at their facilities.

“We are shattering the old model for golf,” explained Hill about the program’s infrastructure.

“We appeal to a much larger audience with fitness and family centered activities. Through it, we are broadening the appeal for golf so now, it appeals to everyone. And GreatLIFE can also help these people achieve healthy lifestyles.”

With affordable, family, fitness focused golf, the perception of the GreatLIFE model was to “rack up golf courses” and let them just run themselves. The opposite is true.
The number of renovations to GreatLIFE related golf courses and fitness centers have made noise throughout the region.

Facility Improvements
Willow Run, which announced hosting the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge for next fall, is shaking everything up. They are improving almost all elements of the club.

First, the new practice facility. It will feature a new short game area with 3 greens, bunkering and the ability to hit 100 yard pitch shots. The putting green will be re-vamped. They will also be completely restoring the driving range. The new driving range will be visually more appealing while better protecting the holes surrounding it.

Also to be added, are “The Willows,” a 160-unit apartment complex adjacent to the golf course.

These changes are made in congruence with a brand new, 16,000 sq. ft clubhouse to be completed by next April/May. The old clubhouse was torn down in the fall. The clubhouse will feature 2 levels, with the lower level containing the fully-loaded fitness center. They also have plans to host a full-service restaurant within the clubhouse.

Next year, Willow Run has future plans for a 9-hole short course across the street.
In its 3rd year of renovation, all bunkering changes are complete at Bakker Crossing. Water hazards were also repositioned for a more playable golf course. In 2016, Bakker Crossing will be working to add a short course, similar to the one being added at Willow Run.

Central Valley GC in Hartford, SD also is undergoing upgrades. New cartpaths along with an added storm shelter and restroom facility. Re-shaping of certain tee boxes will give the course a fresh look come 2015.

In regards to the fitness center improvements, Woodlake Athletic Club will have brand new addition. Plans to enclose the pool and build a large training area, new childcare area and a new women’s locker room are underway. They will be converging the two existing locker rooms to make up the men’s locker room. GreatLIFE has added a new kids area called “The ZONE.”

Courses Added for 2015
GreatLIFE is always working to expand their impact and give golfers the opportunity to play more courses at affordable rates.

This fall, they were able to reach agreement with Worthington Country Club in Worthington, Minnesota– a 60 mile drive from Sioux Falls. It will be fully accessible for GreatLIFE members come 2015, along with the unlimited carts rate.

Price Changes for 2015 and New Policies
Memberships for the GreatLIFE will stay the exact same for the 2015 golf season– with one exception. There will be a reduction in the cart rates.

Last year, the pass for unlimited golf and fitness with a cart was $124.99. For 2015, the price will be $99.99.

GreatLIFE will also be putting into effect a new policy for 2015.

In 2014, Willow Run hosted 104 outings and Bakker Crossing hosted 55 outings. There were a few dates where both courses hosted events and Central Valley also hosted an event. This isn’t the way GreatLIFE wants to operate– so they made a change.

“Next year, we will be coordinating event dates between the courses in the Sioux Falls area,” Hill said of the new policy. “We are making a commitment to keeping a course available to our members every day of the golf season. Events are still great for us and our partners, but we will plan them in a way to give our members access to golf as well.”

This should be an initiative which will alleviate some of the problems encountered in 2014.
2015 looks to be another fantastic year for the members of GreatLIFE.


Whatever Happened To: Dave Hanten

Golf legend has long been linked to Willow Run

Virginia Olson, For the Argus Leader November 22, 2014
Photo: Joe Ahlquist / Argus Leader

Founded in 1986, Willow Run Golf Course became the first privately owned, publicly playable 18-hole course in the state.

Dave Hanten was the brainchild behind the course and its concept. As a golf guru and banker who saw potential, Hanten convinced others that a 160-acre tract east of Sioux Falls would best serve as a golf course.

Loving its landscape, Hanten saw the vast piece of land as a beautiful place with its elevation changes and many trees.

“With 15 years’ business experience in the banking industry and instinctively knowing what golfers would like, the right people bought into the idea,” Hanten says. “Ironically, not a single golf hole had been built in 16 years. Willow Run would be the first with 18 holes, and I am pretty proud of that.”

Hanten became the general manager, a position he relished for 28 years. “I am one of the few people I know who got to turn an avocation into a vocation,” he says.

Since Willow Run was built, 108 holes have been created across the state.

As the sport grew, Hanten continued to be one of the state’s golf ambassadors.

Hanten was billed as one of the state’s finest amateur golfers. At 15, he finished second in the state’s match play championship. While in high school at Huron, he won two state high school golf championships. In college at Arizona State, he won the conference golf championship in 1967. He went on to win six major state titles and was named the South Dakota Golf Association’s male golfer of the year in 1978 and 2002. He’s also honored in the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.

Hanten credits two people as instrumental in his success.

“My father, Richard, introduced me to the game of golf. Hobe Richards Sr. was my longtime instructor in Huron,” he says. “Both men played a big role in my life.”

Three years ago, Hanten helped Willow Run weather the storm when a major stockholder declared personal bankruptcy. Then the golf course’s dim future changed. Willow Run was sold to Tom Walsh in 2012.

“Willow Run itself was financially viable,” Hanten says. “It was simply a matter of Mr. Walsh’s decision to assume complete ownership of the course. Needless to say, myself and the entire Willow Run team are thrilled with his ability to facilitate Willow Run in the process of reaching its full potential.”

Today, Willow Run is part of GreatLife Malaska Golf and Fitness. Now the director of golf, Hanten has watched the golf course become even better than he had dreamed possible.

“Tom has lots of energy, drive and vision,” Hanten says. “He is a real entrepreneur who wants to showcase Willow Run.”

However, the number of people playing golf in general has been dwindling in the past decade.

Hanten thinks Willow Run along with GreatLife Malaska Golf and Fitness has taken a fresh approach to the game that will not only bring people back to the sport but also attract new players. There’s the new three-hole short game practice facility and plans to build a nine-hole par three course. In addition, a new clubhouse and apartment complex are being built.

Golf’s “a lifelong sport,” Hanten says. “There hasn’t been a day where I have felt like I was working.”


Todd Kolb has been named the 2014 Teacher of the Year for the Dakota Chapter of the Minnesota PGA. Also selected in 2010, it is the second time Kolb has been recognized by his fellow PGA members. Todd has been a long time part of the Willow Run family and embodies the high standards GreatLIFE strives to bring their members.

“I have been very fortunate to be part of the Willow Run team for over 20 years and my dream of building the best teaching academy in the area would not have been possible without my good friend Dave Hanten. With the recent addition of our new owner Tom Walsh and GreatLIFE Golf, we are now in the process of expanding our program, building a new hitting bay and providing nothing but the best coaching for our students. I am excited to see what the next 20 years will bring,” said Kolb.

Todd Kolb played collegiate golf at New Mexico State University before dedicating himself to teaching young golfers full-time. He has been a member of the PGA since 1993 and in 2000, opened the Todd Kolb Golf Academy at Willow Run Golf Course. Todd has been recognized as one of the premier teachers in the upper Midwest with numerous awards and certifications throughout his distinguished career. He runs Team 605 and has developed a teaching and coaching style that consistently produces the best players in the area. Students of Kolb include numerous Division I players and LPGA Tour rookie Kim Kaufman.

Willow Run & Lloyd Companies Celebrate Groundbreaking October 8


Making way for the future, Lloyd Companies and Willow Run are proud to host a groundbreaking event on October 8 at 4:30 p.m. at Willow Run Golf Course. The public is invited to help us celebrate this unprecedented collaboration and learn more about the building of upscale apartments – The Bluffs at Willow Run – and the impressive new clubhouse and other lavish amenities that will soon be available at Willow Run.

This extraordinary 161-unit apartment community will provide living solutions for people who are ready to trade up to a simpler, carefree lifestyle with convenient luxuries and amenities just outside their door – a place they can entertain with confidence and pride. The clubhouse, adjacent to the apartments, features an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, full-service bar and grill, and banquet facilities for 200 people.

As holes are dug to pour concrete for a new clubhouse and apartment complex, the displaced earth is being used to extend the driving range and form a new short-game practice area. More meaningful than the groundwork of one new project providing the materials for another is Willow Run’s history – the history that has established a base upon which the future will be built.

The History of Willow Run

Founded in 1986, Willow Run Golf Course brought a new concept in course management to the Sioux Falls area. As the first privately owned, publicly playable course in South Dakota, Willow Run created a model that would be imitated by many. Twenty-eight years later, Willow Run is part of GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness and is again challenging traditional ideas about how a golf course should operate. If Willow Run’s history is any indication of its future, expect people to again take notice.

In 1971, Westward Ho Country Club added nine holes to their golf course. The following 16 years saw not a single new golf hole built in Sioux Falls. In those days, most courses were privately owned and member-exclusive or municipally owned and played to capacity. For years, Elmwood was the only public 18-hole golf course in the area and at 80,000 rounds per year, was turning players away.

Seeing opportunity in the absence of availability, a group of local businessmen and women developed a new concept to bring golf to a greater number of players in the region. From the inception, these 23 investors were determined to do things differently. Construction of a new course and clubhouse began in 1986. Willow Run opened in 1987 as the first 18-hole golf course in South Dakota to be open to the public while being owned privately. Immediately it helped fill the void for public golf in the area.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the visionaries behind Willow Run have much to be proud of. While the 16 years preceding Willow Run saw no expansions, 108 new golf holes were built in the immediate Sioux Falls area during the 16 years that followed, with most mirroring the business model pioneered at Willow Run.

To stand out, Willow Run found a niche in hosting corporate events. More than 1,800 events, most charity or memorial tournaments, have been held on the grounds in the last 27 years. According to those connected, close to $5 million has been raised through these events. Even more than the celebrities or professionals who have played the course, this is what brings satisfaction to those involved.

Three of Willow Run’s founding members bought out remaining shareholders in 1998 and in 2011 ownership again changed hands when Tom Walsh, Sr. purchased the course. Over $1 million in capital improvements were made the following year and shortly after, Willow run saw its one-millionth round played.

Walsh introduced GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness in 2014 and immediately introduced additional improvements to enhance the playing experience. Blue and yellow family tees were added and free clinics for adults, juniors and families were launched. It all must be working. While golf suffers a decline nationally, Willow Run and other GreatLIFE courses have seen record numbers of families, women and couples come out to play during the first year. As golfers pay one low rate for unlimited access to any of GreatLIFE’s facilities, perceptions about how a golf course ought to be managed are once again being changed. GreatLIFE is the future of golf.

The future of Willow Run couldn’t be brighter. With a state-of-the-art clubhouse and apartment complex under construction, a driving range that will be extended to include four new target greens and a three-green practice area being added, residents and guests will get a taste of the good life at Willow Run.

Dave Hanten has been with Willow Run since the beginning. As he watches the demolition of the clubhouse to make way for the new, he is, “more excited than melancholy. It gives us the opportunity to make improvements to the golf course and see the land finally reach its full potential.”

The 62,000 cubic yards of dirt moved to build foundations for the clubhouse and apartments will be used to make the improvements to the driving range and short-game practice facility. In a way, digging one foundation is building another. This combination of physical and historical foundation previews an exciting future for Willow Run, GreatLIFE members, and golfers throughout the region.


GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club, established in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2013, brings together golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles to enrich the lives of families and individuals through golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles. With unlimited access for members, the company is committed to offering the best in value, convenience and hospitality throughout the region.

GreatLIFE members get unlimited access (based on membership level) to multiple golf courses and fitness centers, and all the amenities that go along with them, for one great price. Our GreatLIFE facilities are Willow Run, Bakker Crossing, Central Valley, EmBe and Woodlake Athletic Club. GreatLIFE affiliates include Hidden Valley, Hiawatha, River Ridge, Luverne Country Club, Rock River, Emerald Hills Golf Club, Okoboji View, Rocky Run and The Bridges at Beresford golf courses, McCook Wellness, Ideal Weigh, Austad’s and Golf Addiction. GreatLIFE Partners in Health are Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Orthopedic Institute and DAKOTACARE. Learn more at


Established in 1972, Lloyd Companies began in South Dakota as a small family-operated firm and has grown into a full-service property management, real estate, construction and development company that continues to grow not only in Sioux Falls, but also throughout the Midwest. Lloyd Companies is committed to the past while defining the future. Learn more at

Willow Run Closing For Construction

Willow Run Golf Course will be closing for the season at the end of the day Sunday, October 5, as construction begins on a new clubhouse and apartment complex.  Bakker Crossing and Central Valley golf course will remain open for members of GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness.

“We don’t like closing early, but it’s a necessary step as we move forward with our improvements at Willow Run.  When we reopen next year, it will be well worth it.  In the meantime, it’s a great opportunity for our members who normally play Willow Run to get out and try one of GreatLIFE’s other great courses like Bakker Crossing or Central Valley,” said GreatLIFE general manager Donn Hill.

In addition to Bakker Crossing and Central Valley, GreatLIFE members have access to Woodlake Athletic Club, EmBe, McCook Wellness and GreatLIFE affiliate courses Hidden Valley, River Ridge, Hiawatha, Luverne Country Club, The Bridges at Beresford, Wild Oak, Rock River, Emerald Hills*, Okoboji View* and Rocky Run*.

*Some Restrictions Apply


GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club in conjunction with the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is proud to host the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge at Willow Run as part of the 2015 Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA.

The tournament will be held September 3-6, 2015 at Willow Run Golf Course and will provide an unprecedented opportunity for Sioux Falls to seal its reputation as a world-class destination city with all the amenities necessary to host an event of this magnitude. The Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge at Willow Run is one of only four 72-hole events on the tour.

According to GreatLIFE president Tom Walsh, “We’re proud to be a part of bringing this national tour to South Dakota for the first time in its history. It supports passion for the game of golf and keeps the dreams of young golfers alive, and that reflects our mission at GreatLIFE. It’s just a great opportunity for the city of Sioux Falls to shine.”

The Symetra Tour, the best-established women’s developmental tour in the world, is entering its 35th year and has a mission to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour.

The Road to the LPGA has been designated as the LPGA’s official developmental tour. More than 500 Symetra Tour alumnae have earned LPGA membership.

For more information on the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge including sponsorship, volunteering and pro-am opportunities, visit or contact Rod Garrison at 605-530-5274.

The Mind/Body/Happy Connection

It’s elementary. You, plus exercise, all adds up to a healthier body, a healthier brain, and a happier you.

At GreatLIFE, we want to make it simple – and affordable – to get healthy and stay fit. If you are a member…great choice! If you’re not a member, your need to check out our amazing fitness facilities and equipment in GreatLIFE Woodlake Athletic Club, EmBe Fitness & Aquatics, Bakker Crossing Golf Course, Willow Run Golf Course and McCook Wellness. Renovated and updated, these clubs have state-of-the-art equipment and facilities that make your fitness challenges a little easier to overcome.

As the kids go back to school and the weather makes outdoor workouts a little less appealing, you can get and stay in shape with unlimited fitness at GreatLIFE for a great price.

Do it now! This is why…

• $29.99 per month for individuals.
• $49.99 per month for couples.
• $59.99 per month for families.
• August 18 – October 21, new members get their first month FREE.
• There’s a direct relationship between exercise and feel-good hormones.
• You only have one body.
• No more guilt.

Make the smart choice to enjoy affordable, unlimited fitness at GreatLIFE today!

Healthy body. Healthy brain. Happy you.

GreatLIFE: It’s a Family Thing

Just short of a year ago, Sioux Falls and the surrounding communities were introduced to GreatLIFE, a fusion of family golf, fitness and recreation offering an unprecedented value and an opportunity to get together, have fun and get fit – all at a family-friendly price. Convenient and affordable, the GreatLIFE was just a membership away.

Since that time, the clubs and courses that comprise GreatLIFE have undergone amazing changes to bring them into the 21st century, and become spaces where members spend their personal time doing what they love.

Perhaps the most remarkable GreatLIFE renovation occurred at Woodlake Athletic Club – and we’re celebrating with a Great Grand Opening! Enriching the lives of families is the core of the GreatLIFE mission. During this exciting event, we will celebrate families with fun, food and friends AND we’re giving away Jason Aldean tickets.

Best of all, everyone is welcome.

10 – 1
Open to the Public

  • Drawing for 2 Jason Aldean tickets
  • Free burgers hot off the BK WHOPPER® Wagon (11 – 1)
  • Test your skills for fun prizes
  • Prize drawings every half hour
  • Bounce house
  • Obstacle course
  • Dunk tank
  • Face painting

Bring your friends and check out our newly renovated, state-of-the-art fitness facility and enter to win two tickets to see JASON ALDEAN at the Denny Sanford Premier Center on October 3 and a chance to win more than $5000 in prizes for the whole family.

You gotta be there to believe it. GreatLIFE – it’s a family thing.