Though it may be the decorative centerpiece of a miniature golf course, there is nothing miniature about the waterfall at Lake Nepessing Golfland. The perpetually gushing rock formation looms above the emerald putting circuit, casting a mist into the air that cools down golfers as they attempt pressure-packed putts or handle golf balls fresh from the microwave. In addition to its Lilliputian links, the family fun center helps golfers groom their swings with a lighted driving range that offers both grass and artificial turf hitting areas. A staff of instructors roams the driving bays, doling out instruction and video-based swing analysis.
The thrum of humming engines fills Lake Nepessing Golfland’s grounds, emanating from the center’s outdoor go-kart track. The track is lighted for after-sunset racing, and guests can choose to drive solo or ride along friends, family, or adopted mannequins in a tandem kart.
The PGA-certified instructors at Boyne Golf Academy use advanced technological tools such as radar and form-analysis software to improve the strokes of students of all levels. Pupils receive one-on-one attention during the hands-on practice session, which focuses on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each golfer’s swing mechanics. The V1 Pro swing-analysis software provides club kids with visual feedback on their slicing or hooking tendencies, and the Sam PuttLab employs ultrasound to determine the gender of each golfer’s putter. As the ball's postswing sojourn commences, the Doppler-based TrackMan radar system relays a 3-D real-time view and provides data on the dimpled orb’s trajectory. Although this Groupon is only valid for lessons, King Par Superstore is jam-packed with golf equipment and apparel and performs professional club fittings to ensure that wrists and 9-irons get along instead of attacking each other with golf clubs.
The lost city of Atlantis is rumored to contain vast treasures, though glow-in-the-dark mini golf isn't one of them. But at Play Atlantis, a nine-hole indoor course unfolds among Atlantis-themed murals and 3-D props depicting underwater figures, such as Poseidon and sharks. The course unfolds in an atmosphere of black lights and upbeat background music, which also surround the fun center's multilevel laser tag arena. There, inside labyrinthine corridors, laser fire and neon lights pierce through thick clouds of fog imported from London.
Natural lighting replaces black lights at Play Atlantis's other attractions. The inflatable area's custom bounce houses, slides, and obstacle courses give kids space to hop around, crawl, and explore among the inflatable castles and coliseums. Outside, families can zip around the go-kart track or participate in some friendly competition on Play Atlantis's 18-hole mini-golf course.
Putting requires intense concentration, which is especially difficult when you have an elephant watching over your shoulder. At Sport-N-Fun, miniature golfers putt their way through three 18-hole courses adorned with statues of exotic wildlife such as gorillas and giraffes. These distractions are one of the many obstacles on the terrain, where bank shots and undulating hills stand between players and holes-in-one.
Sport-N-Fun's other exhilarating activities likewise vie for visitors' attention. Thrill-seekers zip around the curves and down the straightaways of the Go-Kart track, or leap skyward while securely harnessed on the bungee trampoline. In seven batting cages, machines pitch balls toward batters at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, offering a range for different skill levels. Inside, classic games blip and bleep as players smash buttons at the arcade. Amidst all the action, GG's Pizza renews energy with servings of pizza and fountain drinks.
Looking to put a new spin on a classic family activity, the minds behind Glowgolf decided to give the game a phosphorescent update. Incandescent courses place friends and family amid a tropical-fantasy golf world of neon orange, green, and violet surroundings. Players putt luminous orbs through vibrant treasure chests and glimmering windmills while negotiating tricky obstacles near walls portraying black-light-lit aquatic scenes. With more than 20 locations spread over 10 states, Glowgolf's fluorescent labyrinths challenge human players and traveling gnomes.
After a briefing and ammo check in the armory, players storm the field to fight through the fog, black lights, and pylons of the laser-tag arena during 20-minute sessions. The arcade gathers 140 different games under the same roof, ranging from basketball and big bass to skee-ball and a claw machine that dispenses love. Games dispense tickets that can be redeemed for prizes, including stuffed TV characters and games.
Evolution Sportsplex’s dome structure houses 60,000 square feet of artificial turf, which doubles as an athletics field and an indoor driving range. There, as well as outdoors, a golfer can improve their swing, thereby eliminating the need for the pneumatic hammer taped to the end of their club. Visitors can also putt their way through a manicured miniature-golf course peppered with shady trees and refuel at the concession stand before hitting the indoor field, which can be converted for sports ranging from football to softball.