The jovial noises of friendly competition, punctuated by the hum of peppy go-karts, waft across 45 rolling holes of miniature golf in Grand Old Golf & Go Karts's 5-acre home. Each of the park's three pristine mini-golf courses is designed to reflect an aspect of the region's geological character, from the sprightly rose-garden theme of the first course to the yellow caves of the third and most challenging course. Patrons 10 years of age and older can burn rubber to outstrip fellow riders in a single go-kart, and tandem go-karts allow one racer to steer through the wide track while a passenger flummoxes opponents with a series of well-timed riddles. Customers can cool down after a long day of blistering laps with a large soft drink, which revitalizes speed demons like a handshake from a cheetah.
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.