A golfer tees off at St. Andrews Links. A little leaguer sends a baseball soaring through the air. A confused family salutes each flag waving on a mini-golf course. These events could all take place at Southern Golf's indoor and outdoor facilities. The company's GolfAchiever simulator recreates the greens, fairways, and weather conditions of the world's most famous courses so players can whack balls toward a projected screen. At the pro shop, staffers fit clubs and sell gear from brands such as Bridgestone and Nike Golf; customers can then test out new equipment on an indoor putting green. Visitors can also practice their swings at the batting cages or on the 18-hole outdoor mini-golf course.
The 18 holes at Frank House Municipal Golf Course embroil golfers in a test of skills and mental toughness as they guide orbs over a lush, emerald carpet. After completing the relatively straight front nine, players must adjust aim for shots on the back nine, where all but three of the holes make severe dogleg turns. One of these doglegs, the 18th, forces players to lay up short of a lake, and then approach over its width or try to freeze it over with an icy glare.
The golfing gurus at Edwin Watts Golf Academy diagnose and correct their students' poor swing and putting habits in an effort to help them improve their shots and lower their scores. In one-on-one swing-analysis sessions, students learn a repeatable swing that eliminates tendencies they may have to slice, hook, push, or pull the ball. A special laser attaches to the end of the player's club and tracks the swing path while JC Video swing-analysis software records the session from two separate angles, lest analysis be thrown off by only looking at the golfer’s good side. Putting analysis employs Tomi technology to measure eight separate parameters of the putting stroke, from clubhead orientation at address to swing path and tempo. After swing and putting lessons, students may access the recordings on a password-protected website, so they can forward videos to friends or sports-documentary filmmakers.
Designed by Bill Scarborough in 1962, Pine Hill Country Club’s course wends golfers through 18 holes spread out over verdant fairways, which are dotted with ponds and lined with pine trees. The 6,357 yards of playing grounds challenges players throughout the par 72 course, including hole 17, which features a scant 250-yard drive and a green protected by a water hazard on three sides. An onsite pro shop stands ready to bolster players' gear collections with an arsenal of golf necessities, from clubs to bags of ice for nursing bruised egos.
From their home base at Frank House Municipal Golf Course, the PGA pros at the Harper Miller School of Golf help golfers fix broken swings and patch up holes in strategic thinking. Lessons zero in on the fundamentals of grip, posture, and alignment—key components of a winning swing and textbook ice-cream-cone devouring. Short-game clinics help to develop confidence around the green with practice on the putting stroke, chipping accuracy, and bunker play. The pros also follow students out onto the course for playing lessons, which focus on such course-management tactics as how to choose the right club, when to lay up, and when to lie down and take a moment to enjoy the beauty of nature around you.