The stately trees and blue grass fairways that line Cedar Rapids Twin Pines Golf Course have been flourishing since 1962, when the first golfers walked the course’s emerald alleyways. Eighteen scenic holes invite greenhorns to green-jacket holders to dig up divots while aiming their dimpled orbs around a quartet of ponds. Hole five presents a sharp dogleg left with a water hazard nestled in the crook of its elbow, forcing golfers to either tee off with masterful precision or keep the fairways lush with a steady stream of tears. Before facing the course’s unforgiving, undulating fairways or the tree-framed putting green of hole eight, players can warm up at any of the driving range’s 20 hitting stations. After a successful round, golfers can drop into the clubhouse to cool off hot putting hands with a frosty beverage and tell old war stories of facing off against rifle-wielding regiments with only their 9-iron.
Course at a Glance:
Patchy forest to the north and 265th Street to the south border Cedar Valley Golf Course, separating the grassy haven from miles of Iowa farmland on the other side. Within the oasis lie ponds that enter play on all but five of the holes, including hole 13, where the green juts out into a large water hazard that regularly swallows up overly-forceful approaches. Players will find themselves facing other risk-reward scenarios throughout their bout with the course, such as on hole 5, where they must either lay up or go for the green, and on hole 16, where they must decide between hitting a 210-yard shot that carries the water or just picking the ball up and carrying it to the hole.
Course at a Glance:
Dense tree lines and encroaching out-of-bounds areas form tunnels of narrow fairways at Oskaloosa Golf Course, which has stood as a verdant playground for golfers since 1920. Players must keep tight control over drivers and putters en route to conquering the course’s par of 72, highlighted by accessible par 5s and shorter par 3s with greens that are reachable from tee shots or by flattery whispered into fringe. At just 446 yards, the par 5 fifth hole forges a straight path between two straddling fairways, opening the door for eagles and birdies. This linear hole design is somewhat of a rarity, however, as half of the holes feature a dogleg turn of some degree. After putting and strutting through the labyrinth of undulating greens, golfers can retire and refuel at Dr. Salami's restaurant and patio.
Course at a Glance:
Originally sculpted into the Knoxville hillside in 1922 using teams of horses, slip scrapers, and dynamite, Pine Knolls Country Club's semiprivate course gently rises and falls across nine holes of rolling parkland terrain. The course still retains the same basic design of the prototype, featuring relatively open fairways and two ponds that come into play on four holes, placing a premium on confident strokes or 9-irons that double as snorkels. The country club also invites midsummer revelry with a swimming pool, a stately clubhouse with a full-service bar, and speedo-clad golf carts.
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.
Finkbine's18 holes unfold across 7,100 yards of rolling manicured greenery. Golf pairs or unchaperoned players can gracefully arc their Titleists along contoured fairways, evading bunkers and vaulting over the watery tributaries emanating from the course's 6-acre lake. The par 72 course is hemmed in by trees and spotted with islands of foliage and well-groomed gardens, creating the challenge of playing through packs of feral botanists. The included cart upgrades interfairway transit, outfitting golfers with zippy wheels and cup holder for the Arnold Palmer.