The First Tee of Central Arkansas welcomes golfers with two distinct challenges: a championship-length nine-hole course and a par-3 nine-hole course. The longer of the two, the par-36 Chairman’s course sends golfers swinging across 3,428 yards of fairways lined with sparsely populated groves of trees. A golfer who is confident with a driver or shower-curtain rod can conquer the course’s lengthier holes, which include 539- and 551-yard par 5s and a 475-yard par 4 that is the course’s most difficult, due in part to a water hazard that hugs the left side and a misplaced track-and-field commentator who encourages the use of the flagstick as a javelin. For a more leisurely round, players can test their short iron skills on the par-3 Honors course, which features holes that range from 65 to 113 yards in length.
Along with its public courses, The First Tee of Central Arkansas uses the game of golf to teach local youth life skills through Jack Stephens Youth Golf Academy. The academy reaches out to low-income and special-needs children, providing free access to the program as a means of enriching their lives and preparing them for the future.
Designed with the input of former US Ryder Cup team captain and 1983 PGA Championship winner Hal Sutton, Olde Oaks Golf Club’s 27-hole golf course weaves through 34 acres of wooded terrain teeming with ponds and streams. All three 18-hole combinations span more than 7,000 yards from the farthest tees, though the course’s open fairways offer plenty of space for golfers to unsheathe their driver or airdrop golf balls from remote-control helicopters. Though all three nine-hole layouts showcase plenty of natural hazards that add challenge to rounds, the Cypress and Meadow courses prominently feature ponds and streams, including difficult forced carries on both Meadow’s seventh and eight holes and Cypress’s fourth.
Before rounds, golfers can warm up at Olde Oaks Golf Club’s recently revamped driving range and head to The Grille at Olde Oaks after the round’s final putt and strut to enjoy the social trappings of a full-service bar, burgers, and two televisions.
Course at a Glance: * 27-hole course designed with collaboration of former US Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton * Nine-hole Oak measures 3,622 yards from the farthest tees * Nine-hole Cypress measures 3,638 yards from the farthest tees * Nine-hole Meadow measures 3,681 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating range of 75 to 75.2 from the farthest tees (Cypress and Oak 18 features lowest rating) * Slope range of 136 to 143 from the farthest tees * Five tee options available
A nominee for Gulf States Teacher of the Year four years in a row, Class A PGA member Pete Lockwood brings more than 12 years of teaching experience to each and every lesson. Pete came to the United States to play college golf at age 19, leaving behind his native Australian landscape and its score-crushing inverted gravity. After spending years in the States, he's learned to eschew trendy swing theories in favor of providing lessons tailored to the golfer's physique and real-world habits. Potential lesson-takers can schedule their instruction time at Querbes Park Golf Course driving range on Monday–Saturday.
If your golf ball gets caked with mud or covered in sand while grappling with the 18 holes at Northwood Hills Country Club, there's no lack of options for where to give it a wash. Water comes directly into play on ten holes—sometimes crossing fairways and forcing long carries—and indirectly on another four, where it lies just outside of the line of play but threatens doom nonetheless. If players can keep their golf balls dry and avoid sending them for a mid-round swim, they should leave themselves with a good shot at the par of 72. And if not, they can laugh off the round over hamburgers and hot wings at Flagstone Restaurant after holing out on the 18th green.
Designed by renowned course architect Joe Lee, Squirrel Run Golf Club’s 27-hole course incorporates clusters of scenic trees, babbling waterways, immaculate fairways, and smooth, Champions grass greens. Players can fine-tune their swings before hitting the links with a regimen of 10 one-hour clinics, where one of Squirrel Run Golf Club’s PGA-certified aces demystifies the golf swing for small classes with their profound knowledge of golf mechanics and subtle use of hypnotic putter pendulums. Each of Squirrel Run’s three nine-hole courses feature harrowing water hazards on most holes that place a high premium on confident shots and deft club selection. Players loop any 18-hole combination of the 27-hole labyrinth, playing to a maximum length of 6,782 yards when combining the Steeple and Woods course. With five tee options, the treacherous monolith graciously caters to players of all abilities and golfers who insist on playing with bocce balls.