Bel Air Golf Center helps duffers straighten out drives, hone putter strokes, and lower scores with an expansive driving range and miniature-golf facility geared toward player improvement. Turn unsightly snap-hooks into power-draws of supernatural beauty at one of the driving range’s 47 stalls—10 of which are enclosed, heated, and lighted to facilitate sessions in rainstorms, after sunset, or on the ice planet Hoth. The range also helps divoteers dial in their distance with 14 target flags measured to precise yardage.
When new owners gained control of Putt Putt Fun Center in 2011, they brought with them a fresh vision that culminated in modern updates. The recently revised center encompasses a spectrum of family fun; the indoor area houses an arcade—fully loaded with air hockey and a Wheel of Fortune game—beside an inflatable labyrinth of moon bounces, slides, and obstacle courses used to train armies of balloon animals. Once visitors have exhausted themselves inside the glowing laser-tag arena or other sheltered activities, they can venture outside to the mini-golf course, where faux caverns and a wooden footbridge arc over abbreviated greens. Nearby, athletes smack baseballs into orbit from the batting cages.
After spending his formative years helping his father to operate multiple golf facilities, John Invernizzi decided to dedicate his adult life to spreading the gospel of the game. The PGA pro opened Hereford Golf Center in 1995 with the aim of creating a pressure-free space for golfers of all stripes to hone their swings, learn to appreciate the game, and debate about which club would be the most useful to ward off feral caddies. In the ensuing 17 years, clubbers have been hitting practice balls at the center’s 36-stall driving range, replete with eight target greens that range from 50 to 260 yards.
The adjacent Lost Falls Miniature Golf Course takes friendly competitors careening past two ponds, a large stream, and a mysterious cave as they steer golf balls toward pintsize flagsticks. True to his mission of making golf fun and accessible for everyone, John and the staff at Hereford Golf Center provide clubs free of charge, sparing clubless players from hastily purchasing one or digging in their backyard for a conveniently shaped mastodon bone.
Fog floods the 6,000-square-foot arena as youngsters race behind glowing crates and walls to escape lasers, thus fulfilling the business's Active Play Active Kids philosophy of getting wee ones on their feet and keeping them moving. The laser maze's 30 crisscrossing beams put participants' coordination to the test as they navigate through, and the glowing Lightspace Play Floor accommodates up to four players trying to copy each others' dance moves. At the snack station, kids can recharge with pizza and nachos before challenging friends to air-hockey bouts in an arcade with more than 35 games.
Interspersed with rolling hills, meandering woods, and rippling water obstacles, each of these featured courses provides a challenging round for golfers of any skill level. Rock Manor's winding 6,405-yard layout of subtle fairways and pristine greens—designed by renowned course architect Lester George—was named Best Public Course in Delaware by Delaware Today. Putting-placement wizard Edmund B. Ault designed a previous winner of the same award, Delcastle Golf Course, in 1971. The course welcomes players to three separate tee boxes, from which clubbers can drive balls toward rolling hills, wide fairways, and caddies performing cartwheels. Then park your course-tour caravan at the Ed Oliver Golf Club, which rests on the original site of the Wilmington Country Club. Golfers digging their spikes into the manicured 18th hole will notch views of a 100-year-old chimney, which puffs out a smoky likeness of Jack Nicklaus eating a hero sandwich during each birdie.