Tunneling through the pine-studded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River, a circuit of immaculately groomed blue- and rye-grass fairways and bent grass greens forms the 18-hole, par 65 course at Great River Road Golf Club. The hills rise and fall throughout the layout—the course offers 160 feet of total elevation change—presenting shots to both raised and descending targets. The signature hole—a 370-yard par-four—doglegs left into an island green perched atop the Mississippi's flowing waters that will test even the most practiced swings. To harness the precision required to aim past the course's narrow, tree-lined corridors and village of Ewok huts, golfers can warm up at a 300-yard grass-tee driving range, which nestles alongside a practice green.
Sun Valley Golf Course stretches over a 200-acre neck of Lincoln County and treats players to an 18-hole tour of its gently rolling hills and valleys. Though players often find themselves awed by the course's scenic countryside setting, they're just as likely to recount later how they fared when faced with its most unique feature: hole five, a 720-yard par 6. To slay this lengthy monstrosity, players tee off from an elevated tee box, then must work uphill past creeks at 200 yards and 260 yards and a large tree in the middle of the fairway to reach the elevated green. Architect Gary Kern included the highly unusual hole, known affectionately as "The Beast," as a way to stand out from the courses that distinguish themselves by allowing only croquet to be played on their greens.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-71 course * Total length of 6,607 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 69.8 from the back tees * Course slope of 124 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Golf Headquarters attracts golfers of all stripes with three courses, including the 18-hole executive Pheasant Run Golf Course, an 18-hole pitch-and-putt course, and an 18-hole miniature-golf course. The par 57 Pheasant Run Golf Course challenges players to send orbs spinning past bunkers and water hazards even after the sun has set, when lights illuminate the zoysia fairways for golfers who haven’t yet acquired an owl familiar to guide them through the night. When winter blows in, players can take to the driving range, where 12 of the 40 hitting stations are covered and heated, and aim balls toward raised target greens. At the clubhouse, a 2,500-square-foot pro shop nestles alongside the Roost, where guests can perch at a horseshoe-shaped oak bar or rest by a gas fireplace on the patio as they drink in views of golfers sprinting across the finish line at the 18th hole.
More casual players can tackle the pitch-and-putt course, where balls must cross distances of 40–100 yards to reach the full-size greens, or hone their short game at the miniature-golf course, dotted with serene ponds, streams, and waterfalls.
The lavish, rippling greens of The Links at Dardenne challenge club wielders with a links-style design, expansive fairways, and an arsenal of hazards. Each hole comes equipped with multiple sets of tees that cater to players of all abilities and the signature par 5 18th hole provides a majestic countryside view for dimpled spheres before they are caught by dual water hazards and baseball-glove-touting wildwood. Cruise the course's quaint contours and spot the preserved habitats of indigenous waterfowl and deer, masterfully avoiding stepping on cracks that break mothers' backs by rolling over them (mothers, that is) in the included golf cart. After rounds, players can absorb a panoramic view of the manicured battlegrounds from The Links' spacious clubhouse.
The course at Perche Creek Golf Club is comprised of 18 par-3 holes that gently introduce beginners to the game while still challenging veterans with ample opportunities for short-game improvement. Nine ponds delineate the holes and loom large as players line up their attacks from the tee, ready to gulp down errant shots. The flat layout allows players to nail down their iron distances, a crucial ingredient for proper course management. On nice evenings, course superintendents turn on the front nine's area lights, making for easier night play without having to give an alien a Walkman in exchange for plutonium golf balls. Perche Creek's driving range gives players a variety of targets to attack from 50 hitting stations and 20 synthetic-grass mats, earning it a spot on Golf Range Magazine's list of the top 100 ranges in the nation. The club also encompasses an 18-hole miniature-golf course, which challenges players with curvy putting corridors flanked by rocks and water hazards.
Jones and Norene Gann first imagined transforming their property into a golf course 18 years ago, and constructed an 18-hole course and golf facility now managed by the Rapp family. Open seven days a week, the course challenges golfers with outstretched trees, formidable bunkers and mounds, and hazardous waters. Designated cart paths wind around and through the course, guiding drivers to the next hole on their route or through a wormhole leading to the twenty-third century. Nestled atop the sprawling property, practice facilities help golfers warm up swinging arms, and a pro shop lets athletes restock balls and read up on instructional guides to high-level golfsmanship.
In regular golf instruction, owners Bill and Philip Rapp help students fine-tune their swing and boost their game with new skills. On Tuesday evenings, young putters can hone their swinging skills in free lessons.