The pine forest adjacent to Wiggins Mill Reservoir has swallowed its share of golf balls in the past century. The 18 holes of Willow Springs Country Club can be found amid the forest's trees, as can a relatively flat and walkable stretch of 6,641 yards patrolled by herds of feral golf carts. If the par 71 layout proves elusive, players can enlist the constructive criticism of Class-A PGA member Jimmy Gurkin, the club's resident professional and its owner since 1989.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,641 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 71 from the back tees * Course slope of 127 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
A staff of golf experts roams the grounds at 401 Par Golf Inc. ready to help beginners taking their first shot on the nine-hole par 3 course or seasoned veterans shoring up fundamentals on the lighted driving range. Head pro Mike Sullivan conducts lessons for any golfer committed to improvement, evaluating areas such as fitness, short game skills, and equipment before designing a lesson plan geared toward the player?s personal goals. Inside AA Golf Clubs, the onsite fitting and repair shop, Tom Miller fits golf clubs to each player?s body type and natural swing motion. After working up a sweat, players can head in for New Orleans-style snoballs and ice cream at Pelican?s ? a better method for beating the heat than punching a thermometer.
Nestled within Lil' Black Creek Farm's 150 sprawling acres, Country Fun Park's tree-enclosed fields play host to myriad outdoor activities. Guests can spend an afternoon sniping out foes in the 3-acre, custom-designed paintball arena or take advantage of pig picking or spending time with farmer Ben's animals to barrage them with tactical assaults of love and affection. Golfers hone swings under the open sky at the driving range.
Capital Golf Center beckons visitors to its 20 verdant acres sprawling with hands-on, family-friendly activities. A small river populated by poker-playing otters surges through the 18-hole miniature golf course and curves around daunting sand traps, where swingers can practice their short game, launching sandy balls onto smooth greens. For more serious swinging, head to the 25 sheltered and heated hitting bays at the practice facility, which is open year-round. Those in need of back-swing advice can bone up in lessons from PGA–certified instructor Jeff Robinson, who boasts two decades of experience to assist golf scholars.
Supreme Golf makes maintaining an oft-pricey golf addiction a bit easier on the wallet by granting golfers discounts at golf courses and golf schools, as well as cutting the price of books, golf clubs, and nutritional supplements. Golfers can enjoy relaxing, discounted rounds at area courses in cities across the country including such area courses as Bear Creek Golf Club in Dallas, Gateway National Golf Links in St. Louis and St. Andrews Golf and Country Club in Atlanta, soaking in the sights and badgering local pros for analysis of the annual caddie draft.
Prolific golf-course-design company Love Enterprises and Associates—which counts 1997 PGA Champion Davis Love III as a principal—orchestrated Anderson Creek Golf Club's classic layout. The course maintains a strict adherence to upkeep, and in 2008, Golf Digest rewarded its efforts with a prestigious 4.5-star rating and an oversize lollipop.
Today, the course showcases a verdant path of rolling fairways, groves of longleaf pine trees, and water features that come into play on at least six holes. A traditional course by design, only twice do fairways run directly parallel to each other, instead leading golfers on two roundabout loops. On the par 3 fourth hole, golfers must blast a 205-yard tee shot over water while hoping that the green accepts a visit without demanding that golfers remove their shoes before entering.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,215 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 75.1 from the back tees * Course slope of 144 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Scorecard