Two distinct nine-hole golf courses encircle a go-kart track, batting cages, 36 holes of miniature golf, and a 65-stall driving range at Windy Hill Sports Complex's mini metropolis of family fun. Pin-hunting posses can launch tee shots around dogleg fairways and carry approaches over water hazards at the Lake Course—which features two par 5s—or catch an abridged nine at the par 3 layout, which is lighted to facilitate late-night play without unveiling incendiary prototypes of plutonium golf balls. Foot Golf a combination of Soccer and Golf on the Par 3 Course is also available. Set on the edge of the highest point in Chesterfield County, the driving range helps players to hone their swings with 250 yards of target-peppered terrain, and the mini-golf course affords guests pressure-free practice on their putting stroke. Honda go-karts zip around the complex's quarter-mile go-kart track, where junior- and adult-size conveyances run in separate heats, and two-seater vehicles accommodate adult-child or child-gnome tandems. Across the grounds, sharp line drives resonate from the batting cages, where batsmen swing at orbs slung from mechanical hurlers at anywhere from 25 mph to 85 mph.
Nestled on 28 tree-lined acres of Chesterfield County, Oasis Sports Park beckons to sportspeople of all stripes with a scenic complex of family-friendly, recreational attractions. The centerpiece of the entire park, its nine-hole, par 3 course, challenges players with bent grass greens and Bermuda grass fairways and roughs. With tee-to-green distances ranging from 75–175 yards, the course features enough variety for players to dig deep into their repertoire of short-irons, mid-irons, and bedazzled parade scepters. Bunkers enshroud the five target greens at the Park’s 10,000 square-yard driving range, raising the stakes on practice shots as players swing freely from Bermuda grass hitting areas or covered, heated stalls. The Park also encompasses an 18-hole miniature golf course and a nine-station batting cage, where mechanical pitchers hurl baseballs up to 70 mph to simulate the experience of dodging a tiny meteor.
Designed by prolific golf-course architect Edmund Ault, Mill Quarter Plantation Golf Course nestles a par 72 championship course into the rolling Virginia hills, fitting 18 holes between lofty pines and restful meadows. Golf carts zoom over the slopes to a par 5 hole next to Fighting Creek, then ramp over hills to Hole 4, which guards its putting green with a sand bunker and a three-headed, fire-breathing german shepherd. The long stretch of grass at Hole 10 rewards long iron players, and the sneaky dogleg of Hole 14 curves strongly to the right, with a sand pit in the crook of its elbow and an audience of trees on either side.
At Rockwood Golf Park, groups seeking family-friendly fun are met with a driving range, batting cages, and a miniature golf course. They can putt past nefarious ponds and stroll over bridges during mini golf, with all-day access. Or they can retreat to the batting cages, where the pitching machines accommodate all with variable speeds. Or they can practice their drives on the range, hitting balls from one of 25 covered and heated stations.
Spreading the game of golf since 1904, the Virginia State Golf Association’s VIP card program grants duffers access to more than 200 courses for the duration of 2011. At each participating club, VIP-card bearers simply pay the cart-rental fee (up to $26 per round) to traverse emerald alleyways on a cross-state quest for hard-won birdies, elusive holes in one, and the secret flagstick leading to Space Jam’s space-time continuum. Along with access to an array of golf-friendly grassy monoliths, VIPs also receive a VSGA eClub membership, with which they can post scores to track their Handicap Index, participate in remaining 2011 VSGA One-Day events, and receive the Nov/Dec issue of Virginia Golfer magazine while charting their mercurial rise to the rarefied status of scratch golfer. Like your prized collection of artisan cheeses, the VIP card expires at the end of the year.
As its name implies, the course at River's Bend Golf Club nestles into a curve of the James River, whose waters rush alongside three of the fairways. Its design sprang from the mind of accomplished course architect Steve Smyers, who drew inspiration from the legendary architects of the 1920s and 1930s and their penchant for Herbert Hoover–shaped sand traps. For River’s Bend, Smyers incorporated naturally sloped terrain and woodlands to create fairways that challenge both novices and experts. Players pass rustic wooden bridges and white fences as they play, eventually facing off with a substantial pond tucked among the three final holes of the front nine.
Before teeing off at the first hole, players can warm up their swing at the driving range or take advantage of dedicated chipping and putting practice areas. For more guided practice, clubbers can sign up for lessons with golf pro Brandon Kelley, who covers everything from fundamentals to preshot mental routines, such as visualizing the golf ball as a miniature moon that needs to be returned to orbit.
Course at a Glance: