Whether it’s the tiny town buildings, flowering gardens, or obstacle-like oddities that capture one's imagination, Putter's Pride evokes an ambiance of adventure as guests traverse its three 18-hole mini golf courses. From a toilet seat left ajar to a pink windmill and a purple dragon protruding from the turf, the unusual hole designs keep golfers guessing and scratching their heads with their clubs as they match putts with opponents during a round, which takes about 45 minutes. Around the greens’ edges, streams splash down tiered stone waterfalls, colorful blossoms overflow from wooden flowerboxes, and farm animals look out from the side of a pink barn to referee putter swordfights to determine the authenticity of an alleged hole-in-one.
The whimsical decor facilitates fun at birthday parties, where guests can chow down on their own snacks and cake around multicolored picnic tables before hitting the pintsize putting grounds.
A South Suburban Parks and Recreation course, Family Sports Golf Course showcases a nine-hole, par 31 layout that loops around a two-tier driving range. True to its name, the course caters to all members of the family, including seasoned adults practicing their short game touch, beginning juniors making a smooth foray into the game, and grandmothers looking to back up claims of 350-yard drives. Renovated in 2009, the two-tier driving range invites players to hone their stroke on one of 25 grass tees or 30 tees that are covered, lighted, and heated year-round.
As garage doors slowly open, the spartan practice room is revealed; an indoor golf studio with a green carpet floor specked with square golf hitting mats that transforms into a covered driving range. Located inside a stately, sandstone-brick clubhouse, the practice area serves as the practice grounds of Colorado State University golf teams and ground zero for the Golf Academy at Harmony Club, where golfers consult PGA-certified instructors about their golf swing rather than waiting in vain for Jack Nicklaus’s spirit animal to appear in their dreams. Outside, players take advantage of a practice facility featuring tee box training as well as a short game area.
Collindale Golf Academy's PGA Director of Instruction Vince Buelk calls upon 18 years of experience to shore up the pin-hunting panache of golfers of all abilities. The passionate pedagogue develops the academy's club-flailing curriculum and puts it into practice at its stately facilities, which include a full-length driving range, an oversize putting green, and a practice bunker ideal for wedging balls out of sunken lies and replacing them with incriminating scorecards. The academy's thriving junior program strives to develop an affinity for the game at a young age, and club-fitting services pair each unique swing with its crooked-stick soul mates. Though the academy's kempt lawns, mountainside vistas, and lush pines affect a sense of old-time rusticity, its instructors utilize the latest in technological teaching aides, including V1 video-swing-analysis software and pitching wedges that double as prosthetic hooks for grabbing cookies on the high shelves.
The nine holes of Mountain Vista Golf Course present a charming, 3,500-yard challenge set against a dramatic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Box Elder Creek weaves through the middle of the course and into play, and mature pine trees frame spacious fairways. Golfers are immediately thrown into risk-reward scenarios on the first and sixth holes, two lengthy par 5s that extend to 536 yards and 579 yards from the back tees and challenge shots with two large ponds. At Bentley?s, the grill located just off the course, two covered patios welcome those looking to grab a bite to eat as they transition from a round of golf to a round of beer or a round of boxing against a disgruntled caddie.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 36 course * Total length of 3,494 yards from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
With very few trees on the course, golfers' views of the Rocky Mountains—which soar across the western horizon—are seldom obstructed at Saddleback Golf Club. The open terrain also makes the lengthy, 7,090-yard layout more manageable, as golfers can consistently reach for their driver off the tee. Even with an open expanse, golfers are constantly challenged, as most of the course's greens are heavily fortified with sand and grass bunkers, and two holes—the par-three 4th and the par-four 16th—feature de facto island greens, almost fully wreathed by water hazards. Simply reaching the putting surface does not guarantee a good score, as the course's large, multi-tiered greens will make for many long, hard-to-read putts. To prepare for the round, golfers can take a flyover tour of the course.
Though the course is a serious challenge, Saddleback Golf Club encourages golfers of all stripes to enjoy their time on the links. While the scorecards at most clubs include a recitation of basic rules and etiquette, Saddleback's card strikes a much more laid back tone, imploring players to "have phun" and "kick your ball if you hit a bad shot," while reminding them that "scoring is optional." The carefree vibe extends to the Club's instructional programs, where golf pros pass on birdie-hunting wisdom and caddie scolding tactics.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course designed by Andy Johnson * Length of 7,090 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 72.5 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 130 from the farthest tees * Five tee options * Scorecard