When golfers approach the elevated first tee box at Gleneagle Golf Club, they’re greeted by a view of Pikes Peak and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains hovering on the horizon and the U.S. Air Force Academy campus sprawling below. From this panoramic overlook, they send golf balls screaming against the course’s dramatic backdrops, with lines carefully orchestrated by designer Frank Hummel so golfers never have to worry about hitting a low-flying stealth bomber. The course rewards accuracy off the tee, with the par of 72 often attainable only for those players who can manage to stay within the confines of the narrow fairways. After finishing up with the reachable-in-two par 5 18th hole, golfers can head indoors to the club’s La Zingara Italian Restaurant to escape the sun and dine on classic Italian entrees such as veal, pasta, and Neapolitan-style pizza. Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,230 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 74.6 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Stalactites and stalagmites. A thundering waterfall. A treacherous mountain face. Given the primordial surroundings, one might think they’d been sent back to the continent of Pangea armed with only a putter. That's what Academy Miniature Golf’s creators were going for when they designed their twin 18-hole courses, pairing lush landscapes with obstacles that are as difficult to putt around as they are unable to accept bribes. Players are rewarded for skillful shots as opposed to sheer luck as they spelunk into the cave hole and slalom their golf balls down the steep mountain slope, all with a view of Pikes Peak in the distance.
Valley Hi Golf Course’s 18 fairways have been flourishing with rye grass and deciduous trees since 1954, when golfers first began cursing the course’s tricky water hazards and bunker-guarded greens with old-timey swear words such as "leaping argyle!" The 1st hole boasts the course’s longest fairway, whereas the 7th hole stops short to become the shortest par five – the best hope for a birdie. The putting green at the 18th hole keeps golfers on their cleated toes until the very end by demanding, like medieval kings, to be approached from the left and on one’s knees. Those hoping to hone their game can take lessons with a staff headed by PGA golf pro Mike Northern, whose more than 30 years in the game have netted him a full trophy case. Before hitting the greens in the morning, golfers drop by the Caddie Shack Restaurant and Bar to fill their bellies with omelets, and those finishing up a later round can bite into sandwiches or burgers.
Course at a Glance:
Snow-capped peaks peer over Springs Ranch Golf Course, adding a scenic backdrop to a 7,107-yard layout that reflects the player-friendly design philosophy of course architect Richard M. Phelps. In a gesture of sympathy for golfers who crush seemingly perfect drives only to find their ball in the angry grip of a well-concealed bird watcher, Richard placed hazards in plainly visible locations with few to no blind spots. However, transparency doesn't always transfer to success on the course—Springs Ranch packs plenty of hazard-ridden holes that demand precise shots, including the 404-yard, par-4 third hole, where golfers must avoid a pond off of the tee and clear a waste bunker with their approach shot or a perfectly timed kick. Along with two ponds and a gauntlet of bunkers, tall grasses line the fairways, tempering aggressive play and adding an authentic, Scottish feel to the links-style layout.
Springs Ranch also offers a driving range, lessons, and clinics taught by resident aces. After a day at the links, golfers can revive muscles weary from bench-pressing golf carts with a burger, bratwurst, or platter of fish 'n' chips at the Springs Ranch Bar and Grill.
Course at a Glance: