The stately trees and blue grass fairways that line Cedar Rapids Twin Pines Golf Course have been flourishing since 1962, when the first golfers walked the course’s emerald alleyways. Eighteen scenic holes invite greenhorns to green-jacket holders to dig up divots while aiming their dimpled orbs around a quartet of ponds. Hole five presents a sharp dogleg left with a water hazard nestled in the crook of its elbow, forcing golfers to either tee off with masterful precision or keep the fairways lush with a steady stream of tears. Before facing the course’s unforgiving, undulating fairways or the tree-framed putting green of hole eight, players can warm up at any of the driving range’s 20 hitting stations. After a successful round, golfers can drop into the clubhouse to cool off hot putting hands with a frosty beverage and tell old war stories of facing off against rifle-wielding regiments with only their 9-iron.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 5,932 yards from the farthest set of tees * Course rating of 67.8 from the farthest set of tees * Slope rating of 107 from the farthest set of tees * See the scorecard
Wildcat Golf Course began as a nine-hole track in 1997, but after winning the "9-Hole Course of the Year" award from the Iowa Golf Association, it made sense to utilize the surrounding expanses of natural terrain and expand to an 18-hole course. Using the rolling pastureland of Saddleback Ridge as his artistic palette, course architect Mark Kerr designed the layout around Wildcat Creek and five additional ponds, resulting in a course that incorporates water hazards into half of its holes. The course is also characterized by at least five slight doglegs, strategically placed bunkers around fast-rolling greens, and mature pine trees scattered throughout. Wildcat golf course also provides a driving range, two indoor golf simulators, and on-site bar and grill inside the revamped clubhouse.
Bentgrass greens and fairways blended with blades of bluegrass and fescue connect across 3,284 yards to form Argue-Ment Golf Course’s nine-hole golf course. Natural wilderness, tall grass roughs, and rows of crops flanking the course stand as testaments to the horticultural conscientiousness of the family-owned facility, which minimizes the amount of pesticides used on the layout to preserve the area’s ecological integrity and create a traditional links-style course right in heart of Southcentral Wisconsin. Golfers must exercise astute club selection and confident swings to steer balls around or over water hazards, which come into play on three holes and torment hydrophobic golf balls. At the end of each fairway, small greens elude errant approaches and flummox putters with subtle breaks. Golfers can prepare for their round by enrolling in a lesson with PGA member David Haugh, who helps hone swings at the course’s practice facilities.
Course at a Glance: * Nine-hole, par 36 course * Length of 3,284 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 35.6 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 123 from the farthest tees * Five tee options
The sun and the stars serve as constant companions at Hillcrest Event Center, where a 9-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and camping grounds entertain visitors day and night. A breezy par 30, the executive course caters to all experience levels, inviting beginners to take on its short holes while letting seasoned golfers hone their approach shots. After navigating the water hazards, guests can purposely head to the Olympic-sized swimming pool, which ripples at the center of a 3,000-square-foot sundeck where waiters serve poolside food and drinks. Or, dine at The BBQ Pit, home of the Illinois BBQ Fest.
As the sun sets, the crackling glow of fires peppers the campgrounds, illuminating the nylon sides of tents or canvas hulls of mobile RVs. Tent sites include access to the resort's hot showers and restrooms, while the RV facilities' hookups pump water and electricity into mobile homes so residents can bathe in private and use electric carving knives for whittling. When the sun rises, residents can begin their day with a hike on the resort's nature trails.
Cleaved through 600 woodland acres of stately white oaks, Amana Colonies Golf Course twists and turns over 6,824 yards of dramatically sloped terrain. Throughout the round, glassy ponds, burbling streams, and trees wielding catcher's mitts await ill-struck orbs, as golfers contend with elevation changes that complicate the distance of each shot and create many down- and uphill lies. A preround stint at the course's driving range would be advisable before taking to the relatively difficult course, as the hardest-rated hole awaits golfers at the second tee. As stick-flickers cruise to each well-struck drive, they can glimpse panoramic views of the hilly Iowa countryside over the tops of cresting fairways or through sudden breaks in the dense tree lines. The round may also bring stick-flickers in contact with area wildlife, such as deer, various waterfowl, and golf cart-squirrel cross-breeds.
After their pin-hunting expedition, aces can retreat to Amana Colonies' hilltop bar and restaurant, where crisp local beers slake parched mouths and hearty grill fare refuels weary muscles. Once duly refreshed, guests can meander to the pro shop for a snazzy golf shirt or new clubs to replace ones eaten by the neighborhood sword swallower.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,824 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 72.8 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 142 from the farthest tees * Five tee options
Washington Golf and Country Club's nine-hole course caters to golfers across the spectrum with a layout that blends open, player-friendly holes interspersed with the challenges of multiple water hazards. Throughout the course, sparsely populated trees line forgiving fairways, presenting generous landing zones for those who want to be aggressive with their driver or get their mail air-delivered on the ninth fairway. Obstacles immediately come into play on the first five holes; a stream cuts across the first, third, fourth, and fifth fairways, and a pond guards the front of the green on the par 3 second hole.
A clubhouse restaurant with a full-service bar and plates filled with teriyaki chicken wraps, fried Alaskan pollock fillets, and other eats from a menu of grill food let golfers refuel after a round or before attempting to break a bucking, untamed golf cart.