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:
Meadow Lake Golf Club's serene and well-groomed greens and fairways have challenged golfers of all skill levels with a formidable variety of shots since 1959. Commandeer a golf cart with wedges, drivers, and brassies in tow as you cruise past lagoons and suspiciously realistic rubber duckies along Meadow Lake's lush par 72 course, which flaunts a tree-lined front and a more spacious fairway on the back nine. With four par 3 holes and 10 par 4s, Meadow Lake elicits precision performances at each level, similar to Mario and Luigi. Call ahead to reserve your tee time and avoid crowds of misdirected crumpets.
Designed in a collaborative effort between PGA Tour pro and 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples and renowned course architect Gene Bates, The Golf Club at StoneBridge’s 18-hole, par 72 course careens through 6,954 yards of towering oaks, small lakes, and scenic wetlands. Twosomes can begin the day by testing their mettle and irons at the club’s driving range, where practice balls willfully turn themselves into ballistic agents in the war on errant swings and caddies who suggest wearing argyle with plaid. With water hazards coming in play on 15 holes, players must be judicious in their course management and precise in their club selection, lest they pay fealty to the subaquatic despots with a one-stroke penalty. After the round, golfers can settle stymied competitions with a sandwich-eating competition or a contest to see who can more quickly transform their draft beer into a serviceable ball washer.
A lifelong golfer who has putted and driven her way to three Women's U.S. Opens while earning her way in to the PGA Quarter Century Club, course professional Dawn Darter knows the ins, overs, and outs of The Greens' stunningly styled slopes—as well as its recently renovated greens and fairways. During each 45-minute private lesson, Darter tweaks swing mechanics with exercises that incorporate posture, wrist motion, and diaphragm control for more pleasant-sounding victory yodels. Mentor and PGA Professional Life Member Tom Hanson is also on-hand to instruct golfers in new tactics for skimming strokes from long and short games. If you'd rather skip to the part where you hit a ball so hard that it circumnavigates the globe and clonks you in the back of the head, head to the driving range area with a ball key card worth 12 large buckets, or 576 golf balls, and spend an afternoon blissfully pretending that each ball is the unusually small, dimpled white head of your boss.
Belvedere Golf Club, named one of the state's top 20 courses by GolfLink, eases the jonesings of club swingers seven days a week with its Bermuda fairways and bentgrass greens. Lush, sloping hills and stately trees surround the course, a 1949 brainchild of Hall of Fame designer Herman Hackbarth, who took care to swath each shapely dogleg in the finest of canine pantyhose. Whizzing hither and yon in electric golf carts less than two years old, players can take on pastoral obstacles such as greenside bunkers, water hazards, and squads of guerilla hobbits. From the tips, the course measures 6,767 yards, with a par of 72, course rating of 73.1, and film rating of PG-13 for some strong language near the woods and sand traps.