Since first teeing off in 1989, Fox Hollow Golf Club has hosted regular state championships and the 2008 sectional qualifying tournament for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, showcasing the club's 27-hole layout characterized by challenging play and picturesque surroundings. The course sprawls throughout 200 acres of hardwood forest and windswept prairie and is often blanketed by lush bluegrass and natural flora. The original 18 stretches along the banks of the Crow River for much of its 6,713-yard length, affecting play on five holes. Occasionally, golfers are forced to carry shots over the river, as is the case on the par 3 third hole, where players must aim their tee shots at the island green and hope the ball doesn't run off the steep sides or get eaten by an amphibious caddy. With two greens and a split fairway, the par 4 17th can take on two distinct identities or three creepy alter egos. If the hole is placed on the left side of the green, players are best suited to hit a small fairway landing area and execute a long approach, but if it’s on the right, they must blast their tee shot over two bodies of water to reach the green.Prior to a round, players can make use of the Fox Hollow practice facility, where they'll find a full-length driving range, three putting greens, and a practice bunker.Course at a Glance:
Designed by prolific course architect Joel Goldstrand, Rum River Hills Golf Club's 18-hole course weaves through 6,308 yards of water-lined fairways and undulating greens. Water hazards present challenges from the very first tee, where aggressive players may choose to lay up or drive balls over a pond to cut the corner off of a fairway that dog-legs right, setting up a favorable approach onto a green 413 yards away. Rum River Hills tests players’ short game with undulating greens that take golf balls through more sharp turns than a golf cart driving through a grocery store.
A full-length driving range allows players to warm up before they take to the course, and the club's PGA instructors offer lessons for those looking to improve their swing mechanics. After a day at the links, course patrons can drop in at McDuff's Restaurant, which serves an expansive menu of salads, burgers, steaks, and pizzas. Inside the sunlit dining room, 11 TVs let guests catch up with live sports, while outdoor patio seating caters to those hoping to reverse engineer the technology of the lawn mowers maintaining the course below.
Course at a Glance:
Inside Total Defense's shop, firearms, ammunition, camouflage backpacks, and hunting gear line tall shelves. Patrons following the cobbled-tile floor to the back counter can meet with educated staff members who help repair, build, and customize their guns and American Girl dolls. In the classroom, federally licensed instructors draw on their experiences in self-defense and mixed martial arts to teach women's self-defense classes and concealed-carry courses.
Characterized by tall oak trees, ponds, and streams, Monticello Country Club's 18-hole course stretches across 6,453 yards of fairways and greens. The course plots a winding path through the landscape, featuring multiple doglegs that favor golfers who can shape their drives or throw a 270-yard curve ball. Those looking to fine-tune their swings can employ the swing-honing powers of golf pro Kristi Dostal, who uses the club's facilities as her outdoor classroom for private and group lessons and junior camps. Name-brand gloves, clubs, hats, bags, and other course-ready gear line the racks of the club's pro shop, where players can stock up on golf accoutrements. After rounds or lessons, golfers can unwind at Otter Creek Bar & Grill with a steak sandwich, barbecue-chicken pizza, and other eats from its menu of casual American food.
Course at a Glance:
With 27 challenging kentucky-bluegrass fairways in front of lush bentgrass greens, The Ponds challenges golfers to play a trio of nine-hole courses or combine two of them for three unique 18-hole rounds. Water hazards make for an especially difficult approach to the green on the Red Course's signature first hole, whereas the White Course's ninth hole ends with a green flanked by sand traps. Wetlands and sloped greens make up the Blue Course, which players can travel in new electric-power carts.
Before hitting the fairways, golfers can warm up at the driving range, chipping green, putting green, or pleading-with-your-clubs green. After the round, replace any golf balls that got away at the pro shop, which stocks brands such as Nike and Titleist.
Red Course at a Glance:
Blue Course at a Glance:
White Course at a Glance:
The scene at the School of Shaolin Kung Fu is a bit of an anachronism, as students pace the well-lit studio and practice an ancient Chinese discipline by aiming high kicks and throwing controlled punches. Their head instructor, seventh-degree black sash sifu Michael Voss, draws from more than 30 years of martial-arts experience to lead a team of fourth- and third-degree black sash instructors and a roster of assistant instructors. In classes of up to 60 minutes, they train students of all ages in traditional styles such as northern shaolin, which teaches students to fight with their extremities while emphasizing agility, speed, and flexibility. They also demonstrate tai chi and seven-star praying mantis, both of which focus on simultaneous defense and attack. Over the course of each class, instructors help students develop their minds and bodies as they hone confidence, physical fitness, and ability to bend spoons using only their big toes.
Designed by course architect Kevin Norby, The Refuge Golf Club cleaves through 350 acres of woods and wetlands to frame an 18-hole, par 72 course. Native grasses, wooden cart bridges, and immaculate bluegrass fairways characterize this northern-style course, which challenges golfers with tight tree lines and abundant sunbathing opportunities for losing shirts in sand traps. If golfers haven't spotted much wildlife throughout the course, they might find a gallery of hawks, deer, and feral caddies watching at the 17th, the course's second-most-difficult hole. Clubbers must blast tee shots over a forced carry before safely landing on an open fairway that leads to a green flanked by bunkers on both sides. Players can warm up for rounds at the 20-stall driving range and contoured putting green, and PGA professionals help golfers hone their game during private lessons. Meanwhile, a 13,000-square-foot clubhouse built of rock and cedar beckons for post-round revelry in the facility's restaurant, bar, and pro shop.
Course at a Glance: