Rolling over the naturally hilly landscape, the bright-green turf of Statler’s Fun Center’s miniature-golf course winds around the center’s 1,528-foot go-kart track. Engines roar as racers 10 or older zip through the over-and-under bridge’s tight turns or give their lead foot free rein on the straightaways.
The soundtrack of purring motors underscores high-stakes games of miniature golf as players putt their way through deviously landscaped greens, expertly maneuvering the cave with a hidden waterfall and defeating the final hole guarded by squatting gophers. An air-conditioned snack shop provides respite from summer heat with cool drinks and an arcade full of excuses to hang out indoors, such as the classic air-hockey table and skee-ball.
Named for the sunny yellow birdsfoot trefoil flowers strewn throughout the course—sprouted from seeds that fell off hay wagons rumbling through years ago on the fields of the former Buffalo Creek Farms—the championship golf course at Birdsfoot Golf Club enchants golfers with rolling hills and country charm. The links-style front nine give way to a back nine whose fairways open over hills, inviting golfers to pull out their drivers and whack dimpled orbs with the club-swinging gusto usually reserved for cracking eggs into an omelet pan. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette highlights the course’s 465-yard third hole as one of the 18 best public holes in western Pennsylvania, citing its mounded fairway, which doglegs left and challenges putts with a downhill, sloped green. As carts zoom from one hole to the next, they traverse a path where bogeyman faces carved by a local artist peer from tree trunks. When players finish their rounds, they can unwind in a clubhouse where ghosts from its former life as a farmhouse offer advice on covertly changing scorecard results.
Course at a Glance:
Located 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, Highland Country Club's 18 holes total 6,084 yards from the longest tees. The tree-lined course's narrow fairways and plentiful hazards challenge golfers' accuracy and iron play throughout the game. A gauntlet of difficult holes populates the par 70 links, such as the par 5 fifth, which rises 84 feet from tee to pin, sports a green that slopes sharply from back to front, and is lined with trees that blow their noses loudly during players' backswings. Drives arc downhill on the par 4 10th hole, where the temptation to pummel the ball is curbed by a fairway pitching sharply to the left, and verdant journeys end on the deceptive par 3 18th, whose sloping green whisks over-struck putts well past the hole and the celebratory slice of pie hidden inside.
Staffed by experienced coaches and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics, GolfTec’s motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display to get results. Sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke. GolfTec’s certified personal coaches will point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips on how to permanently improve their game from tee to green.
Draped over the verdant Washington County countryside, Fort Cherry Golf Club's 18-hole course spans 6,205 yards of rolling, player-friendly terrain. The course's relatively open layout invites players to blast tee shots with their drivers or T-shirt cannons at nearly every non-par 3, as sparse tree lines offer little impediment to shots that find the rough, and the course's multiple sand bunkers loom by the greens—not the fairways. An adjacent driving range loosens up swings to perfection, and a practice green sharpens up putting strokes and helps players get a feel for how to read the course's subtle slopes and metaphorical flagsticks. With its own motel and a gourmet bar and restaurant, the club hosts all-day and overnight golf-outing packages for a restful pin-hunting vacation.
Course at a Glance:
Stop N Sock's owners have transformed their corner of New Brighton into a family-friendly labyrinth of golf-inspired games. Their expansive outdoor facility—with 43 acres of rolling greens—allows adults and kids to putt and ricochet balls around the 18-hole golf course lined with trees, shrubs, and spouting fountains, or toss tiny saucers into metal baskets at disc golf. With short links and wide fairways, their pitch-and-putt course lets kids develop interest in golf, and challenges experienced club swingers to hone their short game. Stop N Sock's driving range, however, gives everyone the opportunity to work on their long game, with 27 stations equipped with grass practice areas and automatic ball dispensers. To mix it up, the golf-centric center's batting cages lets individuals solidify their stance, perfect their focus, and keep the rust and barnacles off their swing.