Briarstone Riding Academy’s Jena Larsen went “horse crazy,” as she puts it, around age 10—when she took her first horseback-riding lesson. She quickly developed her riding skill, competing in shows and eventually even training other riders. Now at Briarstone, which she opened nearly a decade ago, she brings that expertise to horseback-riding lessons, focusing not only on flawless showmanship, but also responsible horsemanship, sportsmanship, and fun.
Sculpted into the rolling hills of western Illinois, Clinton Hill Golf Course’s undulating fairways flow into large, challenging greens across two distinct, nine-hole layouts. Mature arbors pepper the landscape, threatening the autonomy of airborne balls while providing scenic, shady plots in which golfers can pause to gawk at the layout’s lush greenery and herbivorous golf carts grazing on native grasses. A longer layout and a higher concentration of bunkers supply the bulk of the difficulty on the front nine, and water hazards await at seven holes on the course’s back nine, placing a high demand on confident swings and deft club selection. Those looking for new gear can peruse Clinton Hill’s pro shop, which peddles golfletic apparel and accessories from the game’s top brands. After a round of aggressive pin-hunting, players can retreat to Clinton Hill Bar and Grill, where guests can enjoy live sporting events on one of several TVs or revive sleepy golf bags with an icy beverage.
Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course offers golfers of all skill levels swing-testing challenges in the form of 18 championship-style holes. The par 71 course dons 6,513 yards of zoysia fairways, fescue roughs, bent-grass greens, and cart-powered course traversing. As different as day- and night-sun tanning, the first nine holes adventurously take golfers through tiger-free woods while the back nine contest clubs with links-style layouts. Each hole offers four tee options, ideal for varying skill levels or four-armed mutant-phenoms.
Led by a native of paddleboarding hotspot Hawaii, Another Board Company's team boasts certifications in personal training and PaddleFit and are also World Paddle Association–certified. These credentials are put to use building custom standup paddleboards and teaching beginners how to navigate them with lessons.
With the Gateway Arch towering in the background, Gateway National Golf Links tests players with 18 holes of rolling links and lush green pastures. Tall grasses, lakes, and soaring cottonwoods fill in the rest of the landscape, with stone bridges and raised boardwalks leading the way from one hole to the next. Several of the holes offer views of downtown St. Louis, including on hole three, where golfers can see the skyline and the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in the distance. Before taking on the challenges of the course, visitors can get some practice swings in at Gateway National's various practice facilities, highlighted by a spacious putting green and a driving range.
Course at a Glance
Named St. Louis’s Best Driving Range by the Riverfront Times in 2007, Family Golf & Learning Center earns praise as an encouraging environment in which golfers of all levels can hone their games. The lighted range boosts golfers with a second story of hitting stations stacked on top of the first that offers a bird’s-eye view, if that bird is sitting on the head of a giraffe. The range also features both real zoysia-grass tees as well as artificial-turf tees, and it stays open year-round thanks to heaters that prevent golf clubs’ handles from developing frostbite.
Once thoroughly limbered up, golfers can tee off on the par 3 course, where a maximum hole length of 160 yards allows for practice with short strokes and putting. Should self-improvement reach a plateau, the center’s instructors stand ready to help players make further strides through onsite lessons.
Course at a Glance: