With the Gateway Arch towering in the background, Gateway National Golf Links tests players with 18 holes of rolling links and lush green pastures. Tall grasses, lakes, and soaring cottonwoods fill in the rest of the landscape, with stone bridges and raised boardwalks leading the way from one hole to the next. Several of the holes offer views of downtown St. Louis, including on hole three, where golfers can see the skyline and the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in the distance. Before taking on the challenges of the course, visitors can get some practice swings in at Gateway National's various practice facilities, highlighted by a spacious putting green and a driving range.
Course at a Glance
Named St. Louis’s Best Driving Range by the Riverfront Times in 2007, Family Golf & Learning Center earns praise as an encouraging environment in which golfers of all levels can hone their games. The lighted range boosts golfers with a second story of hitting stations stacked on top of the first that offers a bird’s-eye view, if that bird is sitting on the head of a giraffe. The range also features both real zoysia-grass tees as well as artificial-turf tees, and it stays open year-round thanks to heaters that prevent golf clubs’ handles from developing frostbite.
Once thoroughly limbered up, golfers can tee off on the par 3 course, where a maximum hole length of 160 yards allows for practice with short strokes and putting. Should self-improvement reach a plateau, the center’s instructors stand ready to help players make further strides through onsite lessons.
Course at a Glance:
Normandie Golf Club was built in 1901 according to the St. Andrews style, lending it a historic feel with unique routing and challenging, classic play. The par-71 course stretches across a bit more than 6,500 yards of hill-to-valley patterns. Elevated tees and greens on holes 7, 8, and 9 typify the Foulis layout, especially the par-5 right dogleg on hole 7 and the par-56 hedge maze on hole 13. Pinpoint accuracy is demanded by hole 12’s short downhill par 3, while the two-tiered green on the tame-looking 14th hole has deceived pro golfing legends such as Babe Didrikson and just plain legends such as Babe Ruth and Dizzy Dean, who both insisted on using bats instead of clubs. Unlike them, however, golfers can avoid distractions by zooming between holes on one of the course’s carts, and warm up on the driving range with a bucket of balls.
• For $40, you get one 18-hole round of golf for two with cart rental and a large bucket of range balls on a weekday (up to a $97 total value). • For $45, you get one 18-hole round of golf for two with cart rental and a large bucket of range balls on the weekend (up to a $117 total value).
The Emerald Greens Golf Course is tucked away in the abounding woods and quiet, sun-drenched fields of North St. Louis County, allowing players to replace workaday worries with bent-grass greens and scenic vistas. The par 70 course is divided into distinctly different front and back nine's, with outward fairways cutting confounding doglegs through thick forest, and an inward route strewn with water hazards demanding precise tee shots and modest ransom to Poseidon. Four sets of tees make the course challenging for players of all abilities, from a first hole marked by a troublesome right-hand side to the 18th hole, a 506-yard par 5 bound by ponds on either side of its narrow fairway. As the 6,000-plus-yard course winds through the club's 365 acres of wilderness, golfers are often greeted by deer, fox, and feral golf carts flocking from the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
With five buckets containing about 110 balls each, you’ll get 550 chances to practice your swing. All ProAm Golf South Driving Range’s balls are new, as are the mats, grass tees, sand bunkers, and year-round putting green—in summer 2010, the range got a complete facelift, updating its pro shop, facilities, and everything else to further facilitate improving players’ long games. Tree-lined targets make the range seem like a real fairway or place to find a real leprechaun, and ProAm’s sheltered, heated tees let people hit the range year-round. ProAm’s friendly staff can answer any golf query, be it “How many dimples does a golf ball have?” or “Does my golf bag smell like cheddar cheese?” as well as provide video teaching. A constant stream of golf claps from the Golf Channel invite you to relax in ProAm’s comfortable players' lounge.