In a scenic outdoor setting, Hidden Cove Sportsplex challenges putters to showcase their skills on its two PGMA–approved 18-hole mini-golf courses. The professionally designed putting playplaces thwart straight shooters with inconveniently placed ponds, mazes of posts, and windmills that have watched every spectacular goalie save on tape. Up to four putting pals can roam the moderately difficult Pirate’s Course or attempt the more challenging Captain’s Course, tackling extreme obstacles while avoiding the crippling effects of scurvy at every hole.
Close-clipped bent-grass and bluegrass fairways undulate over 6,462 yards on Manteno Golf Club and Learning Center's meticulously maintained 18-hole course. For nearly four decades, Manteno's greens have challenged golfers of all skill levels and handicaps with four sets of tees along the par 72 course. Cruise in a motorized cart with a best friend, archrival, or cardboard cutout of Santa Claus dressed as a cool caddy, dodging six water hazards as you propel dimpled spheres across the course's arborous landscape.
Realms of Ruin's 80-acre paintball and airsoft park provides a battlefield for acrylic adventures. For a full day, quick shooters can paint victorious initials on their friends with a bodily battalion of gun, hopper, tank, goggles, socks, air fills, and paintballs. Launch pigmented balls of fury at opponents throughout a game of capture the flag, elimination, or a traditional battle. The site features a creek that winds around 12 different courses reinforced with forts, trenches, bunkers, and bridges. Towering trees, thick brush, and sandy soil provide ample locations for visitors to duck into and surreptitiously attack enemies, or to take a shady break and play a stealth-destroying harmonica solo. Referees oversee the chromatic combat to ensure safety and fair play, and players can bring in their own food and drink to refuel after a close match.
With two 18-hole courses and one 9-hole course under its pristine jurisdiction, Green Garden Country Club binds together 45 distinct holes molded to its naturally undulating terrain. The club’s original 18—known today as the Blue Course—winds through dense woods and over numerous swings in elevation, while its other 18, the Gold Course, holds one of the club’s most celebrated features in the 10th hole’s island green. Meanwhile, the 9-hole Emerald Course, the club’s newest, mixes up the style of play with a Scottish links layout, rewarding accuracy off the tee and steadiness in the face of stiff breezes and upturned kilts.
Though on-course play is subject to the whims of Mother Nature, practice at Green Garden Country Club is a year-round affair. In the warm months, players iron out slices and hooks on the 30-acre driving range and calibrate touch on the 10,000-square-foot putting green. When the weather turns colder, players can haul their sticks to the club’s Golf Dome, where they’ll find 42 hitting stations on two levels and practice greens for perfecting putts, chips, and celebratory backflips.
Rated 3.5 stars by Golf Digest, Deer Creek challenges links lovers with a picturesque championship course peppered with natural beauty and par-inhibiting hazards. A practice club membership bestows a body of benefits on golfers, including unlimited practice balls on the driving range, helpful for straightening out hooks, evening out slices, and knocking the rust off wrought-iron wedges. Practice club members also enjoy defined hours—after 5:30 p.m. every day and before 7 a.m. on weekdays—during which they can access the club and its green ballways astride a motorized golf buggy for a mere $12. The 18-hole course has four tees for varying skill levels and is rigorously maintained, allowing golfers to lavish between-shot attention on the course's seven scenic lakes, beautiful bent-grass greens, and 55 ball-seducing bunkers. The course is noted for its huge variety of wildflowers, perfect for a taking a calming, post-bogey sniff or presenting a bouquet to a certain special putter. All memberships last until the end of 2011.
Designed in 1960 by John Ellis, the Tuckaway Golf Club course is located 40 miles from downtown and features 6,225 yards of greens, fairways, and sand traps. Though only one par 5 exists on the front nine, the back nine challenges players to make up for lost scoring opportunities with three par 5s and cups not covered with cellophane. Gently sloping fairways bob and weave through beautifully forested acreage, bending around majestic pines and stately oak trees and opening up onto small greens. Prior to tee times, players can practice their hacks on the driving range's 20 grass tees or work on greenside feel at the chipping and pitching green.
Course at a Glance: Par: 72 Length: 6,225 yards Rating: 69.7 Slope: 117