Since 1993, Crab Apple Ridge Golf Course has been challenging fledgling club-wielders and golf gurus alike with a par 72 course sprawled out across more than 125 acres of rolling terrain. Tee off from blue, white, ladies, or seniors tee boxes and avoid course-speckling crab-apple trees, ball-gobbling ponds, and knicker-adorned ghost caddies prone to offering up unsolicited fashion advice on your 18 hole-in-one attempts. Sloppy shanks and great drives both enable players to embark on exhilarating cart rides in search of their short-lost friend.
Touted by The Sand Trap as "Erie's best public course," Whispering Woods Golf Club provides a comfortable yet challenging environment for beginners to smooth out the rough edges of their game and veteran ball-whackers to whittle their skills to a finer point. The John Exley-designed, 18-hole course encompasses sprawling, lush fairways lined with huddles of tall trees and streams crisscrossing the rolling terrain. Five sets of tees afford golfers varied approaches to the water hazards and 50 formidable bunkers peppered throughout the scrupulously maintained course. A cart rental for two relieves the burden of those playing exclusively with 17-irons.
The designers of Harbor Ridge Golf Club aimed to make their course welcoming to golfers of all ages and skill levels, and it shows. In addition to the standard four-tee setup, the course furnishes each of the nine holes with two additional sets of family tees, ensuring everyone from long-driving dads to just-starting-out youngsters can enjoy the game together. As groups rocket their golf balls off of each bent-grass tee and roll putts over each undulant green, Lake Erie glitters in the background. Its horizontal blue line spans above the lush greenery of the course, a calming force for players facing high-pressure putts or trying to shame the ball into going into the hole. If players can't peel themselves away from the sight at the culmination of their round, they can retire to the deck at the Harbor View Grill for postround drinks and bites while gazing wistfully at the lake's broad expanse.
When on-course goals prove elusive, players can hit the 280-yard driving range to blast reps off the grass tees. A practice bunker and practice putting green await short-game practice, and an LPGA and PGA Class A instructor offers advice for straightening out hooks and slices.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 36 course * Total length of 3,281 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.2 from the back tees * Course slope of 133 from the back tees * Six sets of tees per hole * View the scorecard
Established in 1905, The Country Club of Meadville is a not-for-profit organization with more than 100 years of experience catering to links lovers' golfing needs. As part of the club's 2011 membership drive, today's deal lets buyers enjoy the perks of membership for a day, including 18 holes of golf, cart rental, and dispensation to wear plaid and argyle in the same outfit. The par 72 course runs 6,800 yards from the back tees, and the club uses the USGA Ghin handicap system, allowing exciting play between players of all skill levels. Golfers also get access to the clubhouse and restaurant, opening the door to defeat-assuaging drinks in the cozy lounge or victory-celebrating feasts in the family dining room (food and drink are not covered by this Groupon). A certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the course ensconces golfers in a pristine environment unspoiled by overdevelopment or cackling animatronic gophers.
The story of Rose Brook Golf Course dates back to the late 1960s, when—according to course lore—a retired iron worker who had found success by inventing the popcorn machine set out to turn his lifelong dream of owning a golf course into a reality. In the process of achieving his goal, a course maintenance mishap culminated with the man driving a bulldozer over a 100-foot gorge. The man survived the plunge, the story goes, and drove the heavy machine 2 miles out of the creek before returning to sculpt the rugged earth and relentlessly remind the dozer that it owes him its life. Styling itself as “the working man’s country club” ever since, the course has retained the vision of its founder, as friendly, laid-back vibes resonate across 18 holes of rolling terrain in a diverse, 5,806-yard layout, providing guests a pressure-free respite from their vocations. During each round, players contend with 12 ponds as well as frequent encounters with the aforementioned gorge, which runs across multiple holes and sends shudders down the cybernetic spines of passing golf carts. After their birdie-hunting expedition, clubbers can enjoy succulent meats right off the grill or sudsy beverages to wash down inadvertently swallowed divot tools.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 5,806 yards from the farthest tees * Three tee options * Link to scorecard
Blind shots, rolling fairways, and elevated tees and greens shape the layout at Lenape Heights Golf Resort, which carves 18 holes into the hills of Armstrong County. The undulating layout also features eight sand traps, numerous water hazards, and trees that have been given ample time to mature since the course was built in 1967.
At night, guests can dine on coq au vin, filet mignon, and sea bass filet in the dining room, where an outdoor terrace and wrap-around windows permit panoramic views of the golf course below. The resort also houses guests in boutique hotel-style accommodations, allowing them to enjoy a weekend of golf or a relaxing getaway with their caddie.