In a day spent at Sun 'N Air Golf Center, golfers can hit nearly every shot they would encounter in the course of a normal round?all under the pressure-free auspices of a practice session. At the driving range, laser-measured targets reward precise iron play, and a target field that extends nearly 300 yards into the distance provides ample space for ripping drives. A short game practice area lets golfers hone their finesse on the green and in approach shots up to 50 yards from the pin.
The center also lets golfers test their mettle at their 3-hole practice course. The trio of par 3s range from 100 to 200 yards in length, and each features four tee options to cater to golfers of all abilities. With its ample practice resources, Sun 'N Air Golf Center provides fertile training ground for golf lessons, too. Their staff of experienced instructors?including PGA pro Tim Kilcoyne, who has coached at the high-collegiate level?can assist on all aspects of the game, from hitting the ball straighter to fitting multiple golf bags into the trunk of a compact vehicle.
OptiGolf, though absent the acreage necessary for a real golf course, still boasts some pretty impressive dimensions. The indoor studio replicates world-class golf on 14-foot HD projection screens capable of simulating everything from 300-yard drives to three-foot putts, with players using their own clubs. All nine of these simulators possesses a library of 85 championship courses. Plus they include training resources?such as video swing analysis and ball-flight tracking?,which are instrumental during private lessons conducted by director of instruction Phil Cornetta.
The ping of flush drives may echo throughout the 7,000-square-foot center, but golf is not the only thing on the menu. Balls veer towards pockets on a pool table, six draft beers and top-shelf liquors wet whistles or clean sullied grooves on wedges, and free wireless Internet keeps the entire complex connected.
With 35 years of golf experience and as a shoo-in for Golf Digest's Best Teachers in the State list five years running, Rick DePamphilis brings a bounty of stroke-shaving wisdom to each lesson he conducts as a part of his player-development program, NexLevel Golf. Whether students are greenhorns or green-jacket holders, the PGA master professional tailors his instruction to the player's individual needs, ranging from small tweaks in course-management strategy to deciding which end of the club to grip.
Private lessons help a player improve his or her number of fairways hit in regulation, short-game play around the greens, and shot selection. V1 Pro cameras analyze the student's swing for later reflection on mechanics and tendencies, such as swing-plane angle or ending the follow-through with a pirouette. Rick also takes stock of the player's arsenal of equipment and makes recommendations based on their skills and style of play. Lessons take place at Paradise Driving Range in Middleton.
With 160 driving range tees, 72 miniature golf holes, and 16 batting cages spread across its three locations, Golf Country provides ample opportunity for visitors to hone all aspects of their swings. Each driving range features overhead lights for practicing after the sun goes down for the evening, as well as a number of covered, heated tees that allow for practice when the sun goes down forever. The Easton and Saugus locations offer one 18-hole miniature golf course apiece, while the Middleton location showcases two courses. Nicknamed the Millpond Course and the Stone Bridge Course, Middleton’s miniature tracks meander through large flower beds, flowering trees, and ample water features.
Apple Hill Golf Club entices golfers of all abilities with a 27-hole tapestry weaved into rolling, New Hampshire woodlands. The club?s 18-hole course meanders across 6,184 yards of wide, bermuda grass fairways and bentgrass greens flanked by ponds that come into play on more than half of the holes. Those looking to hone their short game can tee it up on the nine-hole, par 3 course, an 800-yard layout that duffers can complete in an efficient 45 minutes, enabling them to squeeze in a session before dark or in time to drop off their 9-iron at soccer practice.
During the summer, PGA professional Steve Lundquist utilizes the multifaceted grounds to host a junior golf academy, which grants pupils free play on the par 3 course throughout the season. Along with a wide selection of clubs, balls, clothes, and shoes available for purchase, the club?s pro shop curbs appetites with fresh sandwiches, drinks, and hot dogs that can be braided together to form fully functional putters.
Championship Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Length of 6,184 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 68.6 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 124 from the farthest tees * Three tee options
Originally sculpted into the New Hampshire countryside in 1889, Exeter Country Club's nine-hole course stretches across 2,801 yards for a par 35 layout. Wreathed by waterways flowing south from the Great Bay, the course cools off clubbers and hot-tempered carts with seaside breezes that waft across the greens. Though consisting mostly of straight-ahead fairways, the course forces players to adjust at the fifth hole, a 365-yard par 4 where golfers must bend drives around a dramatic 90-degree dogleg left obscured by dense tree lines. Exeter Country Club's on-site restaurant, Grill on the Hill, awaits at the end of the ninth green, serving up a menu of American fare to quench appetites after a day of dedicated pin-hunting and scorecard falsification.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 35 course * Length of 2,801 yards from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 114 from the farthest tees * Link to scorecard