The path to straighter drives and lower scores is paved with range balls. Northlake Golf Club—a practice facility for golfers of all abilities—fosters full-swing practice at a driving range with a target field that extends more than 300 yards into the distance. A 40-yard short-game area helps golfers develop softer touch around the greens, and bunkers provide a convenient venue for them to practice getting out of the sand without worrying about ballooning scores. After swinging through a bucket of balls, guests can rest and watch TV at the outdoor gazebo or graze on the synthetic grass of the putting green.
James Pugliese founded Better Golf Academy with a straightforward premise: simplify the golf swing for children of all ages. This approach, he knew, would help to grow the game, not only allowing current junior golfers to more thoroughly enjoy it, but also helping beginning youngsters stick with it through the inevitable frustrations. Through an array of lessons and multiday camps, the academy teaches young clubbers the entire game of golf, from proper full swing mechanics to short-game practice to proper etiquette and safety. Students will be tested for both strengths and weaknesses in their games, and prescribed drills and practice techniques to help them shore up those areas in need of attention.
Golf Depot's grass-hitting tees, covered and heated hitting bays, and lineup of expert instructors create a immersive environment in which to improve your game. Players can hone everything from their full swing, while emptying buckets onto the range, to their touch around the greens, possible in any kind of weather thanks to an indoor putting green. When practice by rote ceases to yield steady improvement, senior instructors Chris Hardman and Aaron Russell can take the reigns and pass on their extensive golf expertise through private and group lessons.
Hemmed by thickets of native grasses, a babbling brook winds along the fairways of The Golf Village's nine-hole, par 3 course, setting a relaxing tone that seems appropriate for a pared-down layout friendly to leisurely golfers. Adjacent to the course, The Golf Village's driving range fosters golf-game improvement during pre- or postround sessions. The range lets clubbers hit off grass tees throughout the year, and towering light fixtures hang above the green valley, allowing golfers to hone their swing after a day spent at the office or attempting to melt their leftover Civil War bullets into a set of golf clubs.
From their home base at Deep River Golf Range, PGA-certified instructors Scott Duerscherl and Riley Kurtz help students along the path to lower golf scores. The teachers adhere to an overarching philosophy that there is no single perfect swing that works for every player. Instead, they tweak an individual's natural mechanics to create a comfortable swing that can be repeated even when hitting from difficult lies such as hillside dirt or camouflaged snares. During lessons with either Scott or Riley, students focus on the fundamentals of making proper contact with the ground in relation to the ball and controlling the ball's flight path. Casio high-speed cameras capture each cut for analysis with SwingView Pro software, which can spot swing-inhibiting problems such as backswing hitches and straitjacket polo shirts. On days when inclement weather prevents practice on the range, players can head to the indoor teaching area, complete with a sheltered putting green.
Marion Lake Club's parcel of fertile land borders the mighty Lake James to the north and Pisgah National Forest to the east, forming a scenic cradle for the 18-hole golf course. In fact, part of the course fills a peninsula jutting out into the lake itself, creating the potential for a water-logged round if golfers spray their golf shots off the tee or find themselves at the helm a feral golf cart. Meanwhile, Linville Gorge and Shortoff Mountain hover on the horizon, giving players better aiming points as they corral their golf balls over the Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens that line the rolling terrain.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Total length of 6,174 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70.4 from the back tees * Course slope of 126 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * View the scorecard