At the main attraction of Putt-Putt Fun Center's assortment of family-friendly activities, golfers of all ages hone their swings on an 18-hole miniature golf course, where flowers and trees surround the verdant fairways and Putt-Putt's signature metal rails. In the Game Zone arcade, lights flash as the machines dole out tickets for players to exchange for prizes. Birthday party packages nourish revelry with fizzing sodas and Domino’s pizza, inspiring kids to finally learn science by peering at mini golf balls through the microscope instead of constantly hiding them in the course's holes.
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park surrounds a 5-acre lake with a constellation of camping stations and activity centers. The Garcia family graciously plays host to guests who careen down the twists and turns of the park's 300-foot waterslide, play mini golf, or cast lines into the lake to catch waiting fish. Along with opportunities to connect with nature and name every tree after their fathers, the Garcias furnish visitors with space to set up tents, pop-ups, and RVs, or stay in the ground's own rough-hewn cabins. They also provide showers and laundry facilities to help campers maintain ties with civilization. The family becomes especially excited when pointing guests in the direction of North Carolina's Chimney Rock or Grandfather Mountain for hikes and breathless sightseeing adventures.
The championship course at Red Bridge Golf & Country Club undulates softly over 6,735 yards of manicured Bermuda grass fairways and MiniVerde greens designed by David Postlethwait, a protégé of renowned course architect Pete Dye. Solo golfers or twosomes can navigate carts across the links' rolling fairways and mine for gold in water holes carved by natural streams. Buckets of practice balls warm players up before rounds, or allow them to correct errors after 18 holes. Nestled on 500 acres in the Uwharrie Mountains, the scenic course doles out dizzying views of the surrounding landscapes and Red Bridge's fruitful vineyard.
A day at The Icepark at Concord Mills means nonstop opportunities for fun and thrills. From late-November until mid-January, patrons can break from the holiday shopping bustle and indulge in skating on the park's ice rink. Thoughout the year, customers can also take on the park's 18 mini-golf holes wind through waterfalls, tunnels, and other obstacles. Trampolines launch visitors towards the sky at the Spider Jump area, and a Fun Slide towers 100 feet high. But the real stars of the park are the four go-kart tracks. Here, all it takes is a little imagination for visitors to envision themselves as pro racecar drivers speeding their way to the nearest 7-Eleven for snacks.
James Pugliese founded Better Golf Academy with a straightforward premise: simplify the golf swing for children of all ages. This approach, he knew, would help to grow the game, not only allowing current junior golfers to more thoroughly enjoy it, but also helping beginning youngsters stick with it through the inevitable frustrations. Through an array of lessons and multiday camps, the academy teaches young clubbers the entire game of golf, from proper full swing mechanics to short-game practice to proper etiquette and safety. Students will be tested for both strengths and weaknesses in their games, and prescribed drills and practice techniques to help them shore up those areas in need of attention.
Designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer, Birkdale Golf Club’s course transforms natural beauty into challenging obstacles, with 200 acres of rolling hills intersected by streams and framed by mature pines. The course’s bermuda fairways lie beyond elevation changes that give way to greenscapes festooned with ponds and deep, stone-lined bunkers that test players to use every club in their bags before desperately reaching for the oversized soup ladle. Once approach shots find the green, golfers must putt precisely atop the firm and true crenshaw bentgrass greens.
Birkdale Golf Club pampers players before and after rounds with a practice range and onsite tavern trimmed with rich wood hues and green leather barstools. The club also staffs a team of PGA pro instructors who school pupils in the arts of swinging and scorecard penmanship with private lessons and group clinics.
Course at a Glance: * Par 72 * Four sets of tees * Length of 7,013 yards from back tees * Course rating of 74.3 from back tees * Slope rating of 138 from back tees