Opening its first fairways in 1926, Hillview Country Club prides itself on a charming course that envelops golfers in an emerald ecosystem replete with L93 bentgrass fairways and smooth, fast-moving greens. Players must contend with tree lines along the fairways and several water hazards as they corral golf balls over the 6,495-yard Robert Simmons design. Before a round, players can warm up at the practice facilities, which include a driving range with natural-grass hitting stations and a short-game area. The chipping green allows for approaches from up to 75 yards away, precisely the distance of Jack Nicklaus’s bathroom putting green.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-72 course * Total length of 6,585 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 71.4 from the back tees * Course slope of 120 from the back tees
Hi-Way Lanes hosts pin-striking battles on 28 polished alleys equipped with automatic scoring and on-demand bumper gutters?this is the core of its business, but not its only allure. On Friday and Saturday nights, Hi-Way Lanes activates the black lights and cranks up the tunes for cosmic bowling, a late-night activity that pairs well with cold concoctions from the Hi-Way Sports Bar. Dart tournaments held Wednesday and Friday evenings can preview grudge matches at the indoor arcade, on the outdoor miniature-golf course, or for tire-changing races in the parking lot. A full-service pro shop purveys bowling balls, bags, and shoes, ensuring guests can partake in the full splendor of Hi-Way Lanes' allure.
Typically, bubbles are associated with getting something clean?they remove stains from clothes, or lift dirt from elbows. But at Bubble Palooza, bubbles experience a bit of an identity crisis. Here, relieved of their duty as degunkers and loaded up with non-toxic color, they help transform a three-mile route into a vibrant, foam-filled wonderland. Along that route, and oftentimes buried beneath bubbles, participants clad in white run, walk, and skip their way from one end of the course to the other. In the process, those same participants are blasted by a bubbly rainbow of foam, becoming magnets for the greens, blues, and other colors carried by a seemingly endless deluge of bubbles. After the event, the color-saturated participants gather to celebrate at the Bubble Bash, where they listen to music, dance, and attempt to lure an untamed bubble into coming home as their pet.
The three-night Big Game package catapults fans into a football frenzy with pregame events, overnight sleeping quarters, and game-day views of every crucial play, crushing hit, and halftime high note. Guests can tackle pregame jitters and pillows at the Clarion Hotel or Comfort Inn, both of which boast access to indoor pools, hot breakfasts, high-speed Internet, and long, carpeted hallways fit for agility-based combine training. Also before kickoff, an immersive fan event whets gridiron appetites with autograph sessions, kids' football clinics, interactive displays, and one of the largest known football memorabilia shows on earth.
Royal Pin?s four bowling centers boast a total of 270 gleaming lanes, but their widely varied facilities offer far more than games of tenpins. At all four locations, cosmic-bowling nights create a psychedelic atmosphere with fog, music, and black lights.
The Woodland location, though, was voted Best Bowling in Indianapolis 2012 by CityVoter and ups the ante with flat screens above the lanes and cushy couches where players recline while waiting their turn to take a ride through the pinsetter. Its adjacent outdoor mini-golf course, Pirates? Cove, sends putters on a salty adventure with 18 Lilliputian fairways populated by streams, waterfalls, and a pirate ship. In addition, the location recently received a makeover, with a new midway, lounge, bar and restaurant. In that same center, there's also the two-story Pirate's Quest laser tag, which combines the excitement of laser tag and swashbuckling.
At the Expo location, the theme relates to another exciting frontier: space. In Laser Storm tag, players battle for rights to moon territories. Besides their alleys, Royal Pin also manages the 5-acre Greatimes Family Fun Park, where kids zip around a go-cart track, bounce through a multilevel playland, or pilot bumper boats equipped with blaster squirt guns and highly sensitive grownup detectors.
At Bluff Creek Golf Course, the club's eponymous creek chuckles quietly across 171 acres of relatively open emerald sweeps and 6,525 yards of fairways and greens. Though much of the course roams across flat terrain, certain holes feature sudden elevation changes, including the par 3 10th, where the green rests at the bottom of a 70-foot drop-off that visually obscures the target from golfers. Forgiving fairways, fast bent-grass greens, and thick heather grasses to ensnare poor shots create the feeling of a classic links-style course. Players must take confident swings to evade the water hazards formed by the creek and nine retention ponds, which come into play on the final eight holes and every screaming match with a catfish.
After rounds, a parade of players leads past startlingly colorful redbud trees to the hilltop clubhouse, which sits at one of the highest points in Johnson County. Frosty glasses sing together, the sound drifting off toward the distant Indianapolis skyline. Bluff Creek Golf Course also peddles a variety of clubs and apparel from other top brands in a pro shop, where guests can schedule lessons with a certified instructor to fix a recurring slice or tendency to yell their social-security number mid swing.
Course at a Glance: