Although comparable in length and difficulty, River Pointe Golf Club's front and back nines present two distinct challenges. The front eases golfers into the round with a traditional layout interspersed with only occasional water hazards. The second act could be traversed as easily by canoe as it is by cart. Built around wetlands, the back puts water into play on the majority of holes, where golfers will often catch views of passing alligators, turkeys, foxes, and other wildlife.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,919 yards from the tips * Course rating of 72.9 from the tips * Slope rating of 136 from the tips * Five tee options * Scorecard
Wrapped around a bulge in its namesake waterway, Flint River Golf Course presents golfers with 18 holes of waterfront play. Owned by the City of Albany, the course welcomes locals and out-of-towners alike with a sprawling clubhouse and immaculate upkeep. Inside, players can check in for their tee times or check out the gear offered in pro shop, where they'll find shoes by Footjoy, clubs by Ping, and markers that tell you exactly where the squirrel ran off with your ball.
Snuggled among 35 acres of wild flowers, old-growth trees, and verdant greenery, Country Oaks Golf Course delights divot diggers with a slew of scenic yet challenging holes. The course, full of narrow fairways and strategically located greens, rewards golfers' accurate drives and skillful approach shots with the ability to speak French. Errant whacks may land in Country Oaks' treacherous water obstacles, tree stands, and sand traps, while the undulating terrain demands subtle reads as players prepare their shots. Golf carts are included, allowing players to save their energy for more important tasks, such as retrieving errant shots, showing off on the driving range, or forging unused clubs into a mega club at the course's 3,500-square-foot clubhouse.
Giant oak trees and old-growth flowering camellias surround The Daffodale Estate, a grand Victorian home built in 1897. Those trees create an aura of mystery that matches the puzzling rumors and ghost stories associated with the property. Ghost-hunting teams have visited in the past, documenting paranormal activity with cameras and motion detectors. One of the teams sensed the presence of a ghostly family with a young child. There's also a Civil War?era slave cemetery nearby, and an Indian mound said to date back more than 1,000 years.
Despite its paranormal reputation, the manor is home to more than just ghosts. The spirit of hospitality also permeates the stately house, which hosts outdoor weddings and parties that spread out across three acres of manicured garden space. Inside, a Victorian dining room filled with period furnishings frequently fills with the friendly din of conversation during the house's lively luncheons and tea parties.
Valley Pines Golf Club challenges golfers with its nine-hole, par 35 course, stretching 2,499 yards from the longest of its four tee positions and composed to test a player's precision golf game. The David McQuary–designed course presents fairway trekkers with a manicured landscape dotted with perilous water hazards. One hole features a true island green—similar to the TPC at Sawgrass's signature 17th hole—that challenges golfers to airmail their shots over the moat and onto the island, where it will join a marooned, heavily bearded Tom Hanks.
Meadow Links Golf Club stretches its grassy reaches over the rolling hills of George T. Bagby State Park. The par-72, 18-holer bears all the distinctive elements of a Scottish links-style course, including deep rough, narrow fairways, and few trees to block sudden, kilt-lifting gusts of wind. The 7,007-yard course shares the park's 700 acres with a lake, swimming beach, and plenty of lodging, as well as a restaurant for post-round eats.