Though it may be the decorative centerpiece of a miniature golf course, there is nothing miniature about the waterfall at Lake Nepessing Golfland. The perpetually gushing rock formation looms above the emerald putting circuit, casting a mist into the air that cools down golfers as they attempt pressure-packed putts or handle golf balls fresh from the microwave. In addition to its Lilliputian links, the family fun center helps golfers groom their swings with a lighted driving range that offers both grass and artificial turf hitting areas. A staff of instructors roams the driving bays, doling out instruction and video-based swing analysis.
The thrum of humming engines fills Lake Nepessing Golfland’s grounds, emanating from the center’s outdoor go-kart track. The track is lighted for after-sunset racing, and guests can choose to drive solo or ride along friends, family, or adopted mannequins in a tandem kart.
During his time as a combatant in World War II, Joe Hawald became infatuated with the medieval castles he encountered throughout Europe. More than three decades later, in 1979, his wartime curiosity became a peacetime muse, leading him to construct a castle-inspired clubhouse in front of Lum International Golf Course. Though the course has changed ownership?and adopted a name that pays direct homage to its novel clubhouse?the stone castle out front has been steadfast.
The medieval motifs extend to the golf course itself, where carts cross rivers over arched, stone bridges that would not be out of place in a biopic about Richard the Lion Heart's amateur golf career. The course winds through scenic terrain that often attracts wildlife such as white tails and waterfowl.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,394 yards from the tips * Four tee options * Scorecard
The ponds, streams, and rolling terrain at Goodrich Country Club shape the 18-hole, par 70 course into two distinct nines. A pond may separate the first and second holes, but the front nine consists mostly of dry, straight-ahead fairways that lead to elevated greens. This straightforward first act helps players get comfortable on the course, but that doesn't mean it's a cakewalk. With a narrow fairway and trees lining the left side, the 391-yard, par-four third hole is the course's most treacherous, sometimes prompting fearful golf carts to buck and bray as they approach the tee box.
The back nine presents an entirely different challenge. Water hazards play a prominent role on six holes, requiring players to focus on accurate shotmaking and sound course management. The second nine also hosts the course's signature hole: the par-four 17th cuts a memorable route with two water hazards pinching the fairway and a pond in front of the green, which will have golfers second-guessing their club selection and searching for turtles to bounce their approach closer to the pin.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Length of 5,459 yards from the tips * Course rating of 66.4 from the tips * Slope rating of 104 from the tips * Three tee options
The front nine and the back nine at Copper Ridge Golf Club begin and end in strikingly similar fashion. On the first hole, players start their round with a drive into an opening fairway that, like a birthday card without cash, only appears generous: the wide visible portion narrows considerably into a slender piste that sends players up to an elevated green. The tenth hole repeats the sleight-of-hand, only with an even more pronounced difference between the open expanse and slim landing zone before a two-tiered green.
The 9th and 18th holes, meanwhile, are essentially mirror images of one another, incorporating the largest lake on the course. If players hit too far left on their tee shots on the 9th hole—or, conversely, too far right on the 18th—they'll end up in the drink, potentially spoiling an otherwise pristine round as they cover the home stretch of the 6,916-yard course.