The seventh hole at Grey Hawk Golf Club could be the finishing hole at any PGA Tour host course. Water runs from the tee all the way to the green down the left side of the 578-yard par-five as it bends to the left, making any effort to cut the corner a daring proposition. A bunker on the right side of the fairway awaits any shots that fade right, and a stream runs across the front of the green, capping off the course's most difficult hole. The treacherous par-five is one of many memorable hole designs on the 18-hole, 7,079-yard course, which features water on 16 holes and a par-three with a true island green that tests golfers' confidence in their swing or their ability to skip a ball across the surface of the water. Mounded terrain and numerous sandtraps characterize the rest of the layout, which was designed by the venerable golf trio of von Hagge, Smelek, and Baril.
Course at a Glance:
From a bird's-eye view, the emerald expanse of All American Sports Center is unmistakably devoted to the sports of golf and baseball. No less than 20 heated tees and 40 seasonal grass tees line the driving range, allowing players to keep shooting for the horizon even after the sun sets and the towering lampposts light up the field. For short games, the center also features a 10,000-square-foot putting green as well as a chipping green complete with hazards such as sand bunkers and kiddie pools full of jury summons. The 18-hole miniature golf course encourages visitors to unwind as they putt past decorative waterfalls and rivers. At the dugout, guests can switch gears to baseball or softball, taking up bats to turn away the wrath of variable-speed pitching machines.
Avondale Golf Club’s par 71 course immerses golfers in a lush landscape of verdant fairways, beguiling water hazards, and arboreal majesty. Unlike the pack animals relied upon by early golfers, golf carts tote clubs and other tackle without ever stopping to graze or braying during a backswing, allowing par pursuers to traverse the course’s 18 holes in expeditious comfort. Weekend and weekday tee times provide ample opportunity to trek across the classic course, home to a rich menagerie of birdies, bogeys, and mulligans since 1974.
The Five Seasons Family Sports Club houses tennis courts, a dining area, fitness facilities, swimming pools, and a full-service spa under one roof. Within air-conditioned indoor courts or on outdoor clay courts, racquet slingers compete in friendly bouts to sharpen swings, refine backhands, and showcase grunting abilities. Members can also break a sweat in exercise areas speckled with modern cardio equipment and weights or cool off in an Olympic-sized pool with diving wells and wading areas. Before meeting others for a postgame beverage at the lively café, clients can wander to the spa for a relaxing massage or partake in a sports workshop to gain a firm grasp on game mechanics.
Skyland Golf Course, in Hinckley was built in the Twenties, when a man's suit could be bought with a double sawbuck and it included two pairs of pants. It's a snug little country course with idiosyncrasies and delights not found at courses built recently. --John Tidyman