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.
As a teaching professional since 1994, Tim Lewis of Aahh! Golf Lessons! teaches the traditional swing while expounding on the unique but consistent playing style of Canadian Hall of Famer “Pipeline” Moe Norman, whose unorthodox swing and quirky personality are the stuff of legend. A guiding principle of the swing is keeping the club on a single plane, which minimizes the possibility that the club head ventures off course to produce erratic ball flights. Tim combines these swing mechanics with the Vardon grip, also known as the overlapping grip or the grip that finally captured Godzilla.
Designed by renowned course architect Edmund Ault in 1967, Christmas Lake Golf Course is a verdant haven carved out of rolling hills and lush valleys. Before tee time, shoulders and their owners can test out their oscillating aptitude by taking the included buckets of balls for a swing-honing ride on the driving range. Next, dynamic clubbing duos take to the links, perfecting their announcer stage whispers among the zoysia-grass tees and bent-grass greens as they comment on one another’s divot-repairing skills. Enjoy a speedy commute across the flat front nine or the hillier back nine aboard a motorized cart that carries heavy bags and ensures quick getaways from argyle-clad, fairway-dwelling hobgoblins. Postgame, weary wedge wielders can trek to the Club House for celebratory libations and victuals (costs not included in today’s Groupon).
Playing mini-golf at the Fun Center at Paige's Crossing is like stepping into a storybook. Three different 18-hole courses transport players to fantastic locales such as castles, Old West streets, or the giant loafer that's home to the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. Indeed, most of the attractions at Paige's Crossing lets its visitors escape into their imaginations. They can become racecar drivers at a go-kart track, conductors on a Runaway Train mini-rollercoaster, and PGA stars at the driving range.
Other activities take families indoors. A symphony of electronic beeps fills the arcade, where players shoot basketballs or collect redemption tickets from skee-ball machines. In colder months, these indoor spaces transform into a Winter Jumperland complete with inflated bounce castles and plenty of parking for reindeer.
Navigate the skill-taxing 18-hole course while steering clear of numerous rocks, water hazards, and sand traps, which golf balls covet for their naturally exfoliating properties. Before or after hitting the mini-links, guests also can head to the bank of 11 batting cages that collectively feature six baseball pitching machines, four slow-pitch softball machines, and one fast-pitch softball machine. The fully automatic system tosses baseballs at speeds from 40 to 85 mph, giving even seasoned baseballers cause for perspiration.
Ulen Country Club's golf course spans up to 6,310 yards over 110 acres of bentgrass greens, manicured fairways, and challenging rough. Designed in 1924 by Indianapolis native William Diddle, the dynamic course was originally designed for walkers, back when golf was played with caddies and cars were driven by a team of caddies pushing from behind. As many as 80 bunkers permeate the verdant terrain, a lake comes into play on three holes, and a creek snakes through eight fairways, placing a premium on club selection leading up to Ulen's undulating greens.
A shining example of Diddle's design is the 475-yard par 5 14th hole, whose massive left-hand bunker leaves drivers shaking in their marshmallow head covers. From there, approach shots must carry a creek and a bunker to land safely on the green, which is surrounded by sand traps on all sides. Though the course has undergone recent renovations, including new tee boxes, fairways, and an irrigation system, the original design is still mainly intact.
As a private facility, Ulen Country Club treats members to myriad amenities amid its stately clubhouse. Executive chef Nick Townsend and his staff serve up lunch and dinner menus in the professional dining room, with catering and banquet options available for special occasions. The club enforces a strict dress code that bans all T-shirts, cutoff pants, denim, and baby holsters.
Course at a Glance:
Players have to find peace and serenity while they're on a golf course. The gentle babbling of the Blue River as it cuts through the Bear Chase Golf Club's par 72 Championship course helps golfers uncloud their minds when setting up for booming drives and precise approaches. But Bear Chase Golf Club is more than a place to play a round of golf. A 1,600-square-foot banquet room with attached outdoor patio overlooks the club's 127 acres of swaying trees from alongside the course's 18th hole, where hosts can invite guests to enjoy the fresh air and try to catch passing tee shots during wedding receptions or other celebrations. An onsite pro shop also helps players prepare for future games by pairing them with gear and apparel from trusted brands.
Course at a Glance: