Culled from the noggin of course-crafter John Sanford, the Dogwood course at Garden Valley merges Champion bermuda greens with Lake Butler's lapping shores to forge an unforgettable 6,840 yards of play. Towering pine trees blanket golf carts in shadows, cooling players as they ponder the best methods to evade the course's many water hazards and rolling hills, where distracted golfers often sacrifice games, stopping to paint the picturesque East Texas landscape.
Guests may also admire the scenery from the onsite restaurant, which serves house-made omelets and crisp salads. The eatery resides below the clubhouse’s vaulted ceilings, in addition to a fully equipped pro shop and an outdoor terrace overlooking the 18th green. Across the street lies the Garden Valley Sports Complex, a 24-hour facility filled with fitness machines and free weights that help patrons to burn fat beside an indoor basketball court and a refreshing pool relatively free of feral manatees.
A former brickyard may not be the first place one would think to build a golf course, but Old Brickyard Golf Course has succeeded in turning the one-time site of Ferris Brick Company into a fun-and-surprising 6,486-yard layout. By working around three former quarries, the course architect added stark elevation changes and wide-open vistas to the par 71 course. TifEagle greens roll atop land that was once nothing but rugged, natural clay, creating smooth, fast surfaces that make any two-putt a tricky proposition. Before taking to the course, golfers energize with hot dogs and drinks at the clubhouse, warm up swings at the all-grass driving range, or bury time capsules in the practice bunker so they can remember what life was like before their 18-hole rounds.
Course at a Glance:
A lush tapestry of Bermuda grass unfurls across 6,532 yards of rolling hills to form Stone River Golf Club's 18-hole course. A relatively open layout, the course lulls golfers into a comfortable rhythm before surprising them with the occasional fairway-side pond, strategically placed tree lines, or undercover course rangers that work as process servers. The par-5 16th—the course's hardest-rated hole—requires a long tee shot and a long-iron or short-wood approach shot to reach the green in two, which sits 590 yards from the tee box. Golfers can prepare for rounds by taking cuts at the irons-only driving range, getting a feel for the putting surface on the practice green, or passive aggressively introducing clubs to their potential replacements at the pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
Featuring 6,516 yards of impeccably manicured landscape, Oakridge Country Club is a par 71 golf course designed to challenge everyone from first-time clubbers to full-time swingers. Conquer tight fairways, emerald greens, and challenging roughage while roaming among the scenic terrain and picturesque Duck Creek during your 18 holes of golf ($50 on weekends, $40 on weekdays). Water comes into play on several holes, along with more than 50 strategically placed bunkers—use a golf cart to travel to and around the obstacles. Before hitting the links, golfers can practice their swing and take aim at target greens with a bucket of balls ($7) at the driving range. While not included in this deal, Oakridge Country Club also boasts an onsite restaurant, offering daily lunch specials and a fully stocked bar. You can reserve your space seven days in advance, so call ahead to schedule your tee time.
The golfing gurus at Edwin Watts Golf Academy diagnose and correct their students' poor swing and putting habits in an effort to help them improve their shots and lower their scores. In one-on-one swing-analysis sessions, students learn a repeatable swing that eliminates tendencies they may have to slice, hook, push, or pull the ball. A special laser attaches to the end of the player's club and tracks the swing path while JC Video swing-analysis software records the session from two separate angles, lest analysis be thrown off by only looking at the golfer's good side. Putting analysis employs Tomi technology to measure eight separate parameters of the putting stroke, from clubhead orientation at address to swing path and tempo. After swing and putting lessons, students may access the recordings on a password-protected website, so they can forward videos to friends or sports-documentary filmmakers.
In addition to providing custom clubs for PGA professionals and celebrities alike, CompuGolf Center lets golfers flex their muscles at a natural turf driving range, a short-game area, and putting greens. At the driving range, the center’s covered hitting stations keep the sun off swingers’ necks as they convince their golf balls to stop interfering with spin. After demolishing a bucket of range balls, golfers work on their short game at the pitching greens and hone their endgame at the putting greens. Finally, they head to the practice bunkers, pull out their sand wedges, and bring their favorite childhood arcade game to life by petting prairie dogs on the head. Those who need help eliminating slice or want to finesse their putting technique can schedule lessons with the center’s experienced instructors.