Ben and Ari's accommodates competitors of all levels with a full arcade and pizza kitchen flanked by two 18-hole miniature-golf courses. Both courses mimic the terrain of their larger long-game counterparts, but eschew the giant windmills in favor of dips, bends, and wandering streams that swallow wayward golf balls. The fairways also wind around the centerpiece of a working waterfall, which trickles in the background of live bands during summer festivals and fundraisers. During the winter months, players stay warm in the glow of the arcade, which houses 45 nonviolent video games that allow kids to enjoy simulated road races. The arcade also encompasses a pair of scaled-down bowling alleys that make strikes and spares a feasible goal for pint-sized rollers.
A pirate ship casts its shadow over the green corridors of Pirates’ Cove mini golf course, setting the scene for golfers to enjoy a round of swashbuckling putt-putt. The 18-hole promenade also winds past geysers, waterfalls, and trickling streams.
The flowing waters of the Maumee River gird the northernmost fairways of River City Links' 18-hole putting course, inviting misaimed golf balls to plop alongside the aquatic artery?s cargo ships floating to Lake Erie. The waterway nestles alongside the course without cutting through it, enabling the course to maintain its straightforward layout. This, in turn, lets golfers focus on the fundamentals of their game without the distraction of elaborate hazards such as lava pits and ball-eating goats. After a relaxing day on the course, players can lounge on the clubhouse?s white wraparound deck and look out over the river, listening to the breeze that whispers through the weeping willows.
Back Nine Family Fun Center condenses fun into the small, dimpled orbs of golf balls. At its driving range, clubs propel these balls as players hone each aspect of their swing. A nearby mini-golf course offers opportunities for good-natured family competition and successful confrontations with a windmill, and a pro shop stocks used clubs.
With an 18-hole course, indoor and outdoor driving ranges, and three simulators, Gray Eagle Golf Course & Academy fashions itself as a golf destination dedicated to enjoyable play and improvement. On the course, golfers can play from one of four sets of tees for their journey over the tees, greens, and fairways of bentgrass?a soft material known for its short root system, not its belief that every golfer is a supernatural being. Measuring 6,739 yards from the back tees, the layout may feel longer because holes 1, 9, 10, and 18 are each par 5s, bookending the front and back nines with 500-yard behemoths. When the weather fails to cooperate, the academy keeps golfers swinging with ample opportunities for indoor play, including a massive indoor practice facility, heated and covered outdoor driving-range stalls, and indoor simulators loaded with such world-renowned courses as Kapalua Plantation, Pinehurst No. 2, and St. Andrews.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,739 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.4 from the back tees * Course slope of 131 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
When designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. made Prairie View Golf Club his first Indiana project in 1997, he peppered 18 holes across 206 acres of natural beauty. His design hugs the White River, which rings the course on three sides, but only interferes with shots at four holes. Native grasses trim the entire perimeter of the former soybean- and cornfields, while oak, sycamore beech, and cottonwood trees surround the back nine holes. But the natural obstacles pale in comparison to the manmade impediments – 90 sand traps, including one that stretches 135 yards, make the par-72 course a challenge for even the most avid golfer. Creative flagstick positioning invites visitors to modify their technique for approach shots, with an emphasis on precision rather than power, much like surgically extracting a swallowed engagement ring.
For some added muscle on the course, patrons can practice swings at golf lessons or map out a plan of attack over breakfast at The Albatross Grille, which overlooks the course.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, Par 72 Course * Total length of 7,000 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 74.5 from the back tees * Course slope of 138 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole