The First Tee of Central Arkansas welcomes golfers with two distinct challenges: a championship-length nine-hole course and a par-3 nine-hole course. The longer of the two, the par-36 Chairman’s course sends golfers swinging across 3,428 yards of fairways lined with sparsely populated groves of trees. A golfer who is confident with a driver or shower-curtain rod can conquer the course’s lengthier holes, which include 539- and 551-yard par 5s and a 475-yard par 4 that is the course’s most difficult, due in part to a water hazard that hugs the left side and a misplaced track-and-field commentator who encourages the use of the flagstick as a javelin. For a more leisurely round, players can test their short iron skills on the par-3 Honors course, which features holes that range from 65 to 113 yards in length.
Along with its public courses, The First Tee of Central Arkansas uses the game of golf to teach local youth life skills through Jack Stephens Youth Golf Academy. The academy reaches out to low-income and special-needs children, providing free access to the program as a means of enriching their lives and preparing them for the future.
Arkansas Golf Center is one of the largest public driving ranges in the state with more than 100 tee stations, a golf learning academy, a 7,000-square-foot pro shop, and more. Groupon golfers can enjoy a Tour Quality fitting ($50 value) to find out what club length, swing weight, and style of paisley knickers best suit their particular panache on the course. Novice swingers and golf gurus alike can improve their skills with the V1 Pro digital video lesson ($70 value) led by one of the Golf Center’s qualified instructors, who employ the help of high-speed digital video cameras and the advanced swing analysis technology of the V1 Pro Digital Coaching System software to break down swing mechanics. Arkansas Golf Center offers classes in various locations, including the indoor air-conditioned video-lesson bay and the 27-acre driving range.
A lifelong golfer who has putted and driven her way to three Women's U.S. Opens while earning her way in to the PGA Quarter Century Club, course professional Dawn Darter knows the ins, overs, and outs of The Greens' stunningly styled slopes—as well as its recently renovated greens and fairways. During each 45-minute private lesson, Darter tweaks swing mechanics with exercises that incorporate posture, wrist motion, and diaphragm control for more pleasant-sounding victory yodels. Mentor and PGA Professional Life Member Tom Hanson is also on-hand to instruct golfers in new tactics for skimming strokes from long and short games. If you'd rather skip to the part where you hit a ball so hard that it circumnavigates the globe and clonks you in the back of the head, head to the driving range area with a ball key card worth 12 large buckets, or 576 golf balls, and spend an afternoon blissfully pretending that each ball is the unusually small, dimpled white head of your boss.
Belvedere Golf Club, named one of the state's top 20 courses by GolfLink, eases the jonesings of club swingers seven days a week with its Bermuda fairways and bentgrass greens. Lush, sloping hills and stately trees surround the course, a 1949 brainchild of Hall of Fame designer Herman Hackbarth, who took care to swath each shapely dogleg in the finest of canine pantyhose. Whizzing hither and yon in electric golf carts less than two years old, players can take on pastoral obstacles such as greenside bunkers, water hazards, and squads of guerilla hobbits. From the tips, the course measures 6,767 yards, with a par of 72, course rating of 73.1, and film rating of PG-13 for some strong language near the woods and sand traps.
Glenwood Country Club challenges golfers with a recently renovated par 72 course before rewarding them with a newly furnished lodge situated amid rolling woodland. Stands of native hardwood and pine tower over 6,561 yards of bent-grass greens and bermuda-grass fairways, whose steep inclines demand more spin control than the tazmanian devil's presidential campaign. Orbs launch from tees cached in narrow chutes and triumphantly storm the peninsula that protects the course's signature par 3 hole. Players can leave the ponds, rock formations, and herds of wild caddies roving the verdant links to practice swings on the driving range.