The sun and the stars serve as constant companions at Hillcrest Event Center, where a 9-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and camping grounds entertain visitors day and night. A breezy par 30, the executive course caters to all experience levels, inviting beginners to take on its short holes while letting seasoned golfers hone their approach shots. After navigating the water hazards, guests can purposely head to the Olympic-sized swimming pool, which ripples at the center of a 3,000-square-foot sundeck where waiters serve poolside food and drinks. Or, dine at The BBQ Pit, home of the Illinois BBQ Fest.
As the sun sets, the crackling glow of fires peppers the campgrounds, illuminating the nylon sides of tents or canvas hulls of mobile RVs. Tent sites include access to the resort's hot showers and restrooms, while the RV facilities' hookups pump water and electricity into mobile homes so residents can bathe in private and use electric carving knives for whittling. When the sun rises, residents can begin their day with a hike on the resort's nature trails.
Patchy forest to the north and 265th Street to the south border Cedar Valley Golf Course, separating the grassy haven from miles of Iowa farmland on the other side. Within the oasis lie ponds that enter play on all but five of the holes, including hole 13, where the green juts out into a large water hazard that regularly swallows up overly-forceful approaches. Players will find themselves facing other risk-reward scenarios throughout their bout with the course, such as on hole 5, where they must either lay up or go for the green, and on hole 16, where they must decide between hitting a 210-yard shot that carries the water or just picking the ball up and carrying it to the hole.
Course at a Glance:
Tunneling through the pine-studded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River, a circuit of immaculately groomed blue- and rye-grass fairways and bent grass greens forms the 18-hole, par 65 course at Great River Road Golf Club. The hills rise and fall throughout the layout—the course offers 160 feet of total elevation change—presenting shots to both raised and descending targets. The signature hole—a 370-yard par-four—doglegs left into an island green perched atop the Mississippi's flowing waters that will test even the most practiced swings. To harness the precision required to aim past the course's narrow, tree-lined corridors and village of Ewok huts, golfers can warm up at a 300-yard grass-tee driving range, which nestles alongside a practice green.
A public course complete with tree-lined fairways and pristine greens, Hunter’s Ridge Golf Course challenges paired players with a set of 18 holes as well-rounded as the dimpled spheres that speckle its ridges. Captain your cart over an expansive range of well-manicured landscapes dotted with majestic woodlands and enough sand and water hazards to evoke a horror-movie set at an island resort. This par 72 course strikes an exceptionally balanced level of difficulty, appealing to seasoned swingers as well as active younger players with freshly acquired driver's licenses.
The stately trees and blue grass fairways that line Cedar Rapids Twin Pines Golf Course have been flourishing since 1962, when the first golfers walked the course’s emerald alleyways. Eighteen scenic holes invite greenhorns to green-jacket holders to dig up divots while aiming their dimpled orbs around a quartet of ponds. Hole five presents a sharp dogleg left with a water hazard nestled in the crook of its elbow, forcing golfers to either tee off with masterful precision or keep the fairways lush with a steady stream of tears. Before facing the course’s unforgiving, undulating fairways or the tree-framed putting green of hole eight, players can warm up at any of the driving range’s 20 hitting stations. After a successful round, golfers can drop into the clubhouse to cool off hot putting hands with a frosty beverage and tell old war stories of facing off against rifle-wielding regiments with only their 9-iron.
Course at a Glance:
Finkbine's18 holes unfold across 7,100 yards of rolling manicured greenery. Golf pairs or unchaperoned players can gracefully arc their Titleists along contoured fairways, evading bunkers and vaulting over the watery tributaries emanating from the course's 6-acre lake. The par 72 course is hemmed in by trees and spotted with islands of foliage and well-groomed gardens, creating the challenge of playing through packs of feral botanists. The included cart upgrades interfairway transit, outfitting golfers with zippy wheels and cup holder for the Arnold Palmer.