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:
Experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to argyle socks fill each of GolfTEC's locations with more expert swings than a playground at recess. Motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor your swing and break down your form on a high-definition video display. GolfTEC’s PGA specialists point out your flaws and strengths, and coach you on how to permanently improve your game from tee to green. Sensors chirp with approval when you’ve executed a perfect stroke or cracked an especially witty golfing joke.
Dramatic elevation changes, flowing creeks, and 2,000 rosebushes supply peeper-pleasing scenery to golfers as they traverse Stevens Park's recently renovated 18-hole golf course. One of The Golf Performance Institute of Dallas's professional instructors accompanies players through the first nine holes of their round, proffering helpful tips in real time, ranging from instruction on swing techniques to advice about course-management quandaries, such as when to hit driver, when to hit 3-wood, and how to motivate a lazy golf cart. After nine holes with their putt-putt pedagogue, solo golfers or divot-tearing duos take to the back nine on their own, where they summon recent on-course lessons to conquer testy holes such as the 519-yard, water-fortified, par 5 10th. Though trees and bunkers provide the bulk of the challenge throughout the round, the course makes deft use of the one narrow creek that winds throughout, forcing players to launch orbs over its burbling waters and trident-wielding mercaddies on 10 separate holes.