A public course complete with tree-lined fairways and pristine greens, Hunter’s Ridge Golf Course challenges paired players with a set of 18 holes as well-rounded as the dimpled spheres that speckle its ridges. Captain your cart over an expansive range of well-manicured landscapes dotted with majestic woodlands and enough sand and water hazards to evoke a horror-movie set at an island resort. This par 72 course strikes an exceptionally balanced level of difficulty, appealing to seasoned swingers as well as active younger players with freshly acquired driver's licenses.
It's unlikely that any historic kingdom had batting cages and water slides, but to be fair, Knight's Action Park is a lot more fun than an actual castle. On one side of the park, guests can don swimsuits and hop aboard bumper boats, slip down slides, or set out in paddle boats. Seven mini slides teach smaller children the fun of water-park attractions, while statues of giant sea creatures teach them that life is terrifying. Across the way, a 50-tee driving range lets golfers hone their swing, and an 18-hole mini-golf course caters to putters of all ages. The park's assortment of land-based amusements also includes a Ferris wheel, an arcade, and go-karts.
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.
Designed in 1926 by Leonard MaComber, the nine holes of Cedardell Golf Club's par 70 course sit among lush, tree-lined fairways and well-kept greens. On weekdays (a $24 value/person with cart) or weekends (a $27 value/person with cart), golfers can sail their carts over fresh-cut fairways, following the fair winds that guide voyagers to their wayward shots, then playfully toss successive attempts straight into the sun. After playing a round, golfers can realize the peerless putts and crisp chips of their dreams on the course's practice green. Two players can use one Groupon per round, or groups of four can use two.
Patchy forest to the north and 265th Street to the south border Cedar Valley Golf Course, separating the grassy haven from miles of Iowa farmland on the other side. Within the oasis lie ponds that enter play on all but five of the holes, including hole 13, where the green juts out into a large water hazard that regularly swallows up overly-forceful approaches. Players will find themselves facing other risk-reward scenarios throughout their bout with the course, such as on hole 5, where they must either lay up or go for the green, and on hole 16, where they must decide between hitting a 210-yard shot that carries the water or just picking the ball up and carrying it to the hole.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 71 course
Total length of 6,497 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 71.2 from the back tees
Course slope of 129 from the back tees
Three sets of tees per hole
Golfers first teed off at Wahkonsa Country Club in 1967, and since then, the 9-hole, par 72 course has maintained its picturesque layout of rolling greens and cascading fountains. Stretching nearly 7,000 yards from the back tees, the course consistently challenges players with behemoth lengths?including on hole 5, which, at 536 yards, is the longest test players encounter. Away from the links, visits to Wahkonsa Country Club can also include practice swings on the driving range and lunch at the bar and grill.
Course at a Glance * 9-hole, par 72 course * Total of 6.856 yards from the tips * Four tees per hole * Course rating of 71 * Course slope of 113 * Click here to view the scorecard.