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KELOLAND: Living the GreatLIFE

Living the GreatLIFE
January 20, 2016, 10:15 PM by Sammi Bjelland

SIOUX FALLS, SD – Great Life is a pretty well-known name around Sioux Falls now, but it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, the fitness and lifestyle company has only been open a few years.

“A little over two years ago we started with no members. After a year we had about 4,400 memberships,” said Hill.

Most memberships include two people. Now Great Life boasts nearly 11,000 memberships, with 24,000 people.

“It has been an explosion. It has been beyond what we expected. And Great Life isn’t what we started out to do actually,” said Hill.

Great Life President, Donn Hill, says the idea grew over time from something he and the other co-owners saw in Kansas.

The concept was to put fitness centers on golf courses, and sell joint memberships.

“We started with a fitness center at Bakker Crossing. Then we made a deal with EMBE downtown to put a fitness center in there. But really what we’ve done different is make this more about fitness,” said Hill.

Great Life currently has 13 fitness centers in and around Sioux Falls. Only a few of them are on golf courses.

The facility at Woodlake in western Sioux Falls is so popular, you’ll find a full house in the middle of a workday afternoon.

“The parking lots are full. People are parking on the streets. We started a shuttle from Empire Bowl to this facility,” said Hill.

Speaking of bowling, Great Life has recently added free bowling at select locations to its membership perks.

Just this month, Great Life also announced a partnership with SkyZone in Sioux Falls, so members can now get a reduced rate at the trampoline park.

“Our mission is to enrich the lives of families and individuals through golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles. And so we went beyond just golf and fitness,” said Hill.

Not only are these partnerships beneficial to Great Life, they’re also helping out other local businesses here in Sioux Falls.

“With 24,000 members you can imagine the marketing possibility for another business if they get involved with us. But also, because we’re bringing free bowling to places, all of a sudden the bowling alleys are full,” said Hill.

With any added benefits, also comes an added cost. At the beginning of this year, Great Life increased some of its membership cost by $10; something Hill says makes sense with the growth of the business.

“We want to make this a fun experience for all of our members and build loyalty. We think we’re doing that by hiring good people. Having everybody have a smile on their face, and providing quality things you could never get at this price,” said Hill.

A price many people seem more than willing to pay.

Hill won’t say what exactly, but Great Life is looking to add more partnerships with other local businesses that focus on bringing families together.

© 2016 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

Celebrate the Sounds of Christmas with GreatLIFE!

It’s FREE. It’s FESTIVE. It’s FUN.

Perhaps like no other time during the year, the holiday season brings people together to celebrate. And if you ask Chairman/CEO Tom Walsh, Sr. and his friend, recording artist Dan Mahar, there’s no better way to celebrate than with friends – and good music.

At GreatLIFE we’ve had the pleasure of making many new friends and enjoying the company of our old friends throughout the year. To say thank you for your membership and for believing in our mission, we would like you to join us for a very special night of Christmas music performed by Nashville recording artist and songwriter, Dan Mahar.

GreatLIFE members are invited to join us for this FREE event:

Tuesday, December 15
7 p.m.
Washington Pavilion

Free-will donations will benefit Sioux Falls Cares.
Tickets are available at the door. Come early to get the best seats.

And from all of us at GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club, warm wishes for a great holiday season.

Walsh ranked among top golf innovators

Sioux Falls Business Journal
July 17, 2015
By Jodi Schwan


Great Life Malaska Golf & Fitness CEO Tom Walsh has been named one of the top 10 innovators in golf by Golf Inc. Magazine.

The publication ranked Walsh and Rick Farrant, CEO of GreatLife in Kansas, third and second respectively.

Farrant started the unlimited golf and fitness concept in Kansas. Walsh ran with it in the Sioux Falls area and has grown it 14,000 members able to use 19 area golf courses and 10 fitness centers.

“It’s beyond anything we imagined,” Walsh told the magazine.

The top spot for innovation to Erik Anderson, CEO of Topgolf, a concept that turns the game into a party scene with live music, televisions and courses that light up at night.

To read the full article in Golf Inc., click here.

Kids Play Golf for Kids

GreatLIFE Worthington Country Club Hosts All Day FORE Africa Fundraising Event

Do what you love to raise money for a good cause. This simple idea that began in the mind of then 15-year-old Worthington, Minnesota resident Kate Lesnar has had a big impact on kids in Kibeho, Rwanda – and it isn’t over yet.

In its sixth year, All Day FORE Africa is no longer a one-kid-one-goal event. Now kids across the country have joined in the cause, each doing what they love to raise money. During this golf fundraiser at GreatLIFE Worthington Country Club, sponsors pledge money to kids based on the number of golf holes they play. This year, the event will be held on Monday, July 13 and has a big goal to raise $40,000 to benefit Mission Abana – a mission to produce, manage and provide a nutritious meal two days per week for a year to needy kids in partnership with Fr. Leszek and the Marion Fathers in Kibeho, Rwanda.

When GreatLIFE CEO/President Tom Walsh Sr. learned about All Day FORE Africa, he was more than intrigued; he was all in. “I am so impressed by what Kate Lesnar started with All Day FORE Africa, the momentum it has gained in only six years and most of all, what it has helped to accomplish,” he said. Walsh has committed to make a matching grant to help All Day FORE Africa and its participants meet their goals and promote the event GreatLIFE style including:

  • Golf clinics coached by PGA golfer Mike Malaska
  • Live entertainment during the evening
  • Exhibition by The Dance Academy dancers, ages 3-18
  • ADFA Sings-On fundraiser
  • And much more

In 2010, the first annual All Day FORE Africa event was held in Worthington with only one golfer, and two weeks to plan. On that day, Kate and her community raised $10,380 – exactly enough money to put in a water system at a school in Kibeho.

Since that time, kids not only from Minnesota, but also from Nebraska, California and Pennsylvania have joined the effort and have raised more than $300,000. With their help, bathrooms and dormitories were built and a new medical center was opened in Kibeho in March 2014. With no administrative costs, all proceeds go directly to Kibeho to help support kids and provide vital resources to improve lives.

“This is about encouraging kids to do what they love to raise money for other kids,” said Kate Lesnar, who hopes to see younger kids from all over the country join in the effort and keep the money flowing into Kibeho.

GreatLIFE is thrilled to be hosting this amazing event. “It’s easy to overlook the power of kids,” said Walsh, “but this is an example of what they can do. For kids like Kate who want to make a difference, anything is possible.”

For more information or to make a donation, visit

Duffer’s serves up food, drink at country club

By Kristin Kirtz
Worthington Daily Globe
May 31, 2015


WORTHINGTON — Big changes have taken place at the Worthington Country Club over the last couple of months.

The once-private club has opened its doors to the public and made membership more affordable since it was purchased by GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness.

Deb Jaycox, the general manager and director of operations at the club, said she has noticed a difference in business — not only on the golf course but also in the restaurant, where she spends a lot of her time.

“I’ve seen lots of new faces,” Jaycox said. “We’ve already had over 100 new members sign up, so I’ve seen lots of new members as well as the general public stopping out here.”

Duffer’s Bar and Grill is located in the main building at the country club. The restaurant that was once only open three days a week is now open all seven days for lunch and dinner to anyone, regardless of membership.

Seeing all the new faces visit the restaurant is very exciting for Jaycox, but she said it’s mingling with the customers that really makes her happy.

“I love it when I can come out of the kitchen and someone says, ‘Oh my gosh, Deb, that burger was so good,’ or ‘Wow! Your chicken is the best in town,’” she said. “I love when people come in here and leave happy.”

Jaycox said she hopes Worthington residents will take advantage of not only the new Duffer’s menu, but also the daily lunch and dinner specials that are always changing. She said that each visit to Duffer’s can be a new dining experience.

“I think we have a place out here that hasn’t been able to be enjoyed by the public for many years, and I think it’s really something special — especially in the summer, when you can sit outside on our patio area and overlook the beautiful golf course, ” Jaycox said.

The Duffer’s menu is designed to fit into anyone’s lunch or dinner plans. It includes both items that can be ready in five minutes for those in a rush and more luxurious meals for those looking for a good meal during which they can sit and relax.

One of the biggest menu hits is the Duffer’s pizza. Jaycox said it is a perfect option for those on lunch break or wanting to get out on the course as fast as possible to play a round.

“We have a cooking system that cooks pizza in four or five minutes,” Jaycox said.

“The pizzas have been a hit and they’ve got to taste good, because people keep ordering them.”

Jaycox said she loves her job and wants the Worthington community to experience Duffer’s themselves.

“Duffer’s has been fun,” Jaycox said. “We re-opened on April 16, and we’ve had a lot of people out here. It’s been a blast so far.”

Duffer’s Bar and Grill is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Refer A Friend

It Pays to Refer GreatFRIENDS.

Now you and all your friends can enjoy unlimited golf, unlimited fitness and unlimited GreatLIFE gift cards with our GreatFRIENDS Referral Program.

When you refer a friend as a GreatLIFE Malaska Unlimited Golf & Fitness member for $49.99 a month at Worthington Country Club, not only do you get a putting and workout partner, but also a $50 GreatLIFE gift card and a chance to win a 60” TV. Refer four friends to get a one-year membership FREE.

Here’s How It Works:

  • No limit on referrals. Sign up as many new unlimited golf and fitness members as you can. Each time, new and referring members will receive a $50 gift card and an additional entry into a drawing for a 60” TV.
  • Sign up four new unlimited golf and fitness members and receive a FREE one-year GreatLIFE membership.
  • Refer your friends at Worthington Country Club.
  • Drawing will be held at Worthington Country Club on 9/5/15.
  • Don’t wait! This offer ends 9/4/15 and is not valid with any other offer.

    Free Golf Clinics for the Entire Family

    GreatLIFE is gearing up for FREE summer golf clinics.

    Open to all members and their guests, GreatLIFE has clinics for the entire family, so come out and have some fun while you learn to play the game.


    Please Call to Sign Up!


    Family Clinics & Golf
    Bring the whole family for a FREE evening of golf.

    Starting May 3, Family Clinics will be held every Sunday from 5-6 pm. Learn the fundamentals as an entire family and then put them into practice immediately after with Family Golf from 6-8 pm. Don’t forget to stick around for the reception after play with hot dogs, chips and lemonade. Carts are just $5 during family golf.

      Sundays 5-6 pm & 6-8 pmStarts May 3
      Bakker Crossing
      Central Valley
      Worthington Country Club


    Kids Clinics
    Let us help your youngsters learn a to play a game they’ll be able to enjoy the rest of their life. Kids Clinics are open to children ages 8 and over at these locations:

      Tuesdays 8-10 amStarts May 26
      Bakker Crossing
      Central Valley
      Rocky Run
      Mondays 8-10 amStarts June 1
      Worthington Country Club


    Adult Clinics
    Whether you’re looking to hone your skills so you can impress your buddies or just shake off a little rust after a frigid winter, join us for our adult clinics at the following times:

      Mondays 6-7 pmStarts May 4
      Bakker Crossing
      Tuesdays 6-7 pmStarts May 5
      Central Valley
      Wednesdays 6-7 pmStarts May 6
      Worthington Country Club


    Clinics End August 30


    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.

    Worthington Country Club Joins GreatLIFE

    Worthington Country Club officially a part of GreatLIFE
    Published by jwettschreck

    It is now official – Worthington Country Club is part of the GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club.

    GreatLIFE Chairman and CEO Tom Walsh, who owns the Burger King franchise in Worthington, made the announcement today, stating it has been a big task putting things together, but an important one, knowing the pride that people have in their golf course. And not an easy one for them, knowing it is something they care so much about.

    “Our mission at GreatLIFE is to enrich the lives of families and individuals through golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles. Our goal is to be the best in guest satisfaction, value and convenience in golf and fitness,” Walsh said. “This has really become a quality of life program.”

    According to Walsh, in their first year in business at GreatLIFE, golf rounds were up 46 percent, revenue was up 28 percent and food and beverage sales were up 23 percent.

    “We’ve taken the barriers of the financial and time constraints off golf and made it something that’s affordable and fun,” Walsh explained.

    Walsh said he is looking forward to making the Worthington course one of their finest – even better than it was before. There is no doubt is his mind, he stated, that it will be very successful and a great asset to the community of Worthington.

    “We made a commitment to invest over $300,000 in capital improvement over the next couple years and it wouldn’t surprise me if we hit that number this year,” Walsh stated. “We’re committed to it – its long term. “We signed legal documents saying it has to remain a golf course for at least the next 20 years and I promise you it will.”

    A benefit members of GreatLIFE will get in the Worthington area is the fitness part – Walsh worked with the YMCA board and Executive Director Andy Johnson so GreatLIFE members would have access to the YMCA.

    According to Johnson, working with other organizations in this type of capacity is not the norm of what YMCAs usually do, but they were able to work through the lengthy process and strongly felt that their missions meshed together in a lot of ways. He said he was looking forward to reaching out to other people and fulfilling their fitness needs.

    Anyone looking for information on the GreatLIFE courses and memberships can find out more at


    Worthington Country Club Gets New Life

    Worthington Daily Globe – 12/19/14

    Erin Trester
    Photo: Jesse Trelstad/Daily Globe
    The Worthington Country Club board, by a vote of 114-2, recently resolved to allow GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club, of Sioux Falls, S.D., to enter into a lease-to-own agreement with the facility.

    The hope is that the action will bring new life to the country club at a time in which private golf courses have shown signs of struggling. Tom Walsh Sr., owner of the Burger King franchise in Worthington, is the founder of GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club.

    “We started some initial discussions early this summer,” Walsh said earlier this month. “We invited several of their board members to a corporate outing at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls in August to have them take a look at how we operate.

    “We’ve been in the hospitality business for over 40 years, so we’re good at developing people, building relationships and marketing.”

    Worthington Country Club will be the fourth golf course that the company is leasing to own. GreatLIFE also has 12 affiliate courses, including several in the Sioux Falls market as well as Emerald Hills and Okoboji View, both in Okoboji, Iowa.

    GreatLIFE has big plans for the Worthington Country Club. Walsh said the golf course already has a good business plan, and that GreatLIFE will simply elevate it.

    “Many families don’t have time or the money to go out golfing or work out together, but we have been able to take the expense aspect out of the golf and fitness,” Walsh explained. “Those who purchase a membership will have access to all 15 of our golf courses, plus the 20 fitness centers in the Kansas area.”

    Walsh said the GreatLIFE membership is $49.99 a month for a single person, $59.99 monthly for a couple and $69.99 monthly for a family. That will get members free green fees, but having a golf cart and food and beverage will still cost extra.

    “We’ve seen, this year, record numbers of families, couples and women participating,” Walsh said. “It’s just been a wonderful experience.”

    Walsh also described other upgrades he plans to make to the facility, starting with an advisory board for the entire facility that will involve Worthington Country Club members and a grounds committee that will set priorities as far as capital improvements. The advisory board will be implemented Jan. 1.

    “At the course we also plan to do a number of things with the golf carts, like include GPS and have Bluetooth installed in all 160 carts so you can take your iPhone and play music through the speaker system,” Walsh said.

    Walsh said other upgrades could include golf ball and club washers, new tee areas and new kitchen equipment.

    “There is also some tree damage that we need to get cleaned up and drainage issues that we will address,” Walsh said. “We’ll continue to upgrade the golf course and put the focus on over-delivering to our members and guests.”

    GreatLIFE’s plans to improve the Worthington Country Club extend beyond the golf course. The company is working with the executive director of the Worthington Area YMCA, Andy Johnson, and the Y board — as well as individuals at Prairie Rehab & Fitness of Worthington — to possibly partner with them and allow GreatLIFE members access to their facilities.

    “Our goal at GreatLIFE is to enrich the lives of families and individuals through golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles,” Walsh said.

    Work on the course is scheduled to begin somewhere between Feb. 1 and March 1, 2015. However, the ordering of restaurant equipment and some upgrades on the golf carts will begin as soon as the official documents are signed, according to Walsh.

    “The newly elected mayor called and welcomed us to Worthington, and everybody that we have dealt with has been wonderful,” Walsh said.