In 1960, Floyd Farley and Randy Heckenkemper’s vision for the LaFortune Park Golf Course facility’s championship course came to fruition, bringing to life a picturesque design of rolling bermuda-grass fairways unfurling in front of bentgrass greens guarded by bunkers. Heckenkemper recently returned to renovate the links’ water hazards and grassy contours, which contribute to a layout that’s both unique and challenging enough to earn the title of Tulsa’s Best Golf Course from Urban Tulsa Weekly, an award that even Meryl Streep hasn’t won.
The same deciduous trees that shade the championship course’s greens also thrive at LaFortune’s 18-hole executive course, whose shorter fairways save time for postround drinks or lunch at the club’s North Dining Room. Even when the sun is vacationing in the Andromeda galaxy, golfers can still play through the par 3 layout thanks to the course’s ample lighting, which illuminates the streams that split seven fairways and demand strong carries from golfers, and the tricky bentgrass greens, most of which are hemmed by bunkers.
Before embarking on 18-hole outings or whacking balls from one of 80 hitting stations on the driving range, golfers can gear up at the golf shop. Named one of America’s 100 Best Clubfitters by Golf Digest, the shop’s team of experts includes Callaway, Titleist, and Ping specialists and a repair technician with more than two decades of experience in mending putters gnawed on by nervous caddies. To perfect their swings, players can attend lessons run by PGA teaching professionals that rely on a vector launch monitor and V1 digital coaching software to improve students’ form.
Championship Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Course rating of 73.9 * Slope rating of 124 * Total length of 6,938 yards from the back tees * Four tee options * See the scorecard
Executive Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 3 course * Total length of 2,461 yards * See the scorecard
Lit?l Links Golf Club helps golfers groom all facets of their game with a grass-tee driving range, expansive practice green, and 18-hole, par 3 golf course. The course takes golfers careening across a short-links-inspired layout, where par 3 holes play into slick bent-grass greens that harbor gangs of rogue lawn mowers along with devious slopes and sudden breaks. Golfers sculpt rough-edged swings into fluid motions at the driving range as 14 target greens bathe in warm sunlight or bask in the glow of the facility's towering lights. For more structured swing honing, head golf pro Kyle Ingram calls upon more than 23 years of teaching experience in lessons that enlist modern teaching aids, such as video swing analysis and new drivers built by reverse engineering a mannequin leg.
One of 41 geographic sections that make up the PGA of America, the South Central PGA promotes enjoyment of golf and involvement in the game as the sport's ambassador to the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and much of Kansas. The association, which includes male and female golf professionals as well as a slew of courses, aims to spread the ideals of golf through high standards of professionalism, sportsmanship, integrity, and community involvement. A cornerstone of this mission involves introducing new generations to the sport through Junior Golf programs, which instill admirable attributes in youngsters to prepare them for life's rough patches and stealthy sprinkler heads.
Many golfers will cruise the course at Emerald Falls Golf Club in a cart, but they could almost traverse the layout in a canoe. After the first hole—a player-friendly 548-yard par 5—golfers encounter a combination of ponds, streams, and sandstone waterfalls on every subsequent hole. Though each hole reflects a keen and calculated effort in course design, the fifth hole ranks among the more memorable. The 423-yard par 4 starts in a tree-lined chute that will encourage most golfers to play a conservative drive down the left side of the fairway—but it's the second shot that, like Jack Nicklaus's mood at the time of their birth, will determine golfers' fate. The hole doglegs sharply to the right as it approaches the green, which is perched on a peninsula and surrounded by water on all three sides. To prepare for the other masterfully designed holes that comprise the 7,148-yard, par 72 course, golfers can take a hole-by-hole tour or get the scouting report from their network of earthworm informants.
Course at a Glance:
The Randy Heckenkemper–designed layout of South Lakes Golf Course winds its way through seven lakes, resulting in a watery, 6,413-yard wonderland worthy of exploration. The course’s sinuous fairways slink around the lakes at many points, forcing players to aim carefully for the dry bermuda grass. Large bentgrass greens crown each hole, offering a welcome reward for golfers who manage to keep their balls dry or those who require a running start in order to give themselves a jumping high-five. And when the round is done, players can always head back to the clubhouse area to utilize the 13,000-square-foot practice putting green or all-grass driving range.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,413 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70.7 from the back tees * Course slope of 119 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
In Prairie Trails Golf Course, the City of El Dorado has orchestrated an 18-hole layout that's welcoming to locals and out-of-towners alike. Water hazards and dense foliage hem in the bluegrass fairways, and the creeping bentgrass greens produce a true roll on high-pressure putts. After groups hole out and shake hands on the 18th green, they can head into the course grill to add up their strokes and toast whoever has the most irons over sandwiches and cold drinks.