Grand Old Golf and Go Karts adds a Tennessee twist to its spread of family-friendly activities. The grounds feature four different miniature golf courses, each one professionally landscaped to reflect Tennessee's natural terrain. One course, for instance, wends it way over a rock formation complete with river and waterfall, challenging players with tricky changes in elevation that recall the Appalachians. Another course forces players to putt across precarious bridges without railings and risk plopping the ball into the tiny rivers that criss-cross beneath. The newest location features Nashville's only indoor black light mini golf course, lit just like the ancient nightclubs hidden in the state's many caves.
Miniature golf only comprises one half of the entertainments available, though. The titular go kart course offers high speed excitement with extremely tight turns. The karts themselves come in varieties to seat one or two people, allowing the entire family to get in on the fun even if they can't drive. The property even includes an old barn lined with arcade and prize-redemption games instead of livestock and hay.
Drakes Creek Activity Center entreats groups and families to explore its numerous, family-friendly activities. Nine batting cages hold batters as they practice their homeruns, as an 18-hole mini-golf course strewn with fountains challenges putters. Meanwhile, an outdoor laser-tag area spans five acres, as others sup on soft serve or play aeroball, a mix between volleyball and basketball played on trampolines.
Fairways on Spencer Creek's player-friendly course takes duffers careening across 2,632 yards of water-kissed fairways for a nine-hole pin-hunting exhibition. The petite par 33 caters to players working on their short game with four par 3s and four par 4s, and the 463-yard par 5 fifth hole ensures drivers and 3-woods don't consider collectively bargaining for more shifts out of the bag. PGA-certified aces shake rust off swings with private and small-group lessons, and a putting green helps putters calibrate their strokes before rounds.
Course at a Glance:
The Bear Trap. That's the nickname assigned to the 15th, 16th, and 17th holes on PGA National Resort & Spa's Champion Course, a lighthearted nod to designer Jack "The Golden Bear" Nicklaus?or so you might think. Rather, the formidable stretch of holes has more than earned its fearsome moniker, as PGA Tour pros discover every spring in the Honda Classic. When the pin is back on the 17th hole, Robert Allenby believes it's the hardest course on the Tour, and Mark Wilson?who won the Classic in 2007?conceded he would still be nervous with a colossal six-stroke lead going into 15. When golfers play the Champion Course, they're walking among the divots of golf history; in addition to the annual Honda Classic, the course has hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup and the 1987 PGA Championship.
Along with the Champion Course and The Palmer Course?named after its legendary designer, Arnold Palmer?the resort features three more 18-hole courses, each of which offers its own devilish challenges. To help golfers take on the sprawling, historic courses, renowned instructor David Leadbetter shapes the teaching strategies at the resort's onsite academy.
Designed by American Society of Golf Course Architects member Benjamin J. Wihry, Nashboro Golf Club's 36-year-old public course challenges golfers of all skill levels with more than 6,800 yards of club-carving grassy slopes. The par-72 arrangement tests swingers' mental and physical aptitude with tree-lined bermuda fairways, hazardous water- and sand-filled traps, and ball-snatching falcons. After teeing off from a scenic tee box and nudging dimpled spheres closer to the pin, links lovers can steer their steadfast carts toward the course’s bentgrass greens, whose cockeyed roots eternally point towards the birthplace of Jack Nicklaus.
The sound of screeching tires spirals through the sun-kissed air from the go-kart track. The piercing report of a sharp line drive emanates from the batting cages. From the mini-golf courses, giggles follow the soft clack of putter on ball. These sounds score the scene at Europa Go-Karts & Golf, a family fun center where visitors of all ages can race, swing, and putt through a day of blissful competition where all games end in hugs or going double-or-nothing on the number of hugs wagered before the next competition. As many as 12 go-karts can run in the same race, and the complex curates two 18-hole mini-golf courses. Indoors, Europa Go-Karts & Golf maintains a bustling game room with pool tables, skee-ball, and classic arcade games.