From their perch atop the elevated tee box on Teetering Rocks Golf Course’s signature third hole, players attack the heart-shaped green with a barrage of dimpled spheres. This memorable stroke represents just one component of a player’s bid for the 18-hole track’s par of 65, a difficult feat that stands at odds with the course’s relaxed ambiance. Clocking in at 4,309 yards from the back tees, the course typically takes less than three hours to complete, leaving the rest of a player’s day wide open for polishing golf balls and engaging a passion for golf-club puppetry.
Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par-65 course
* Total length of 4,309 yards from the back tees
* Course rating of 58.9 from the back tees
* Course slope of 90 from the back tees
Zoysia-grass fairways and bentgrass greens weave through the water-kissed grounds of Longview Lake Park to form Fred Arbanas Golf Course?s 18-hole championship layout. Relatively open fairways invite aggressive shots off of the tee, back-loading the difficulty with large, fast greens?which were renovated in 2009?that make any two-putt or impromptu croquet contest a tricky proposition. The back nine takes golfers along the shores of Longview Lake, where scenic panoramas abound at spots such as the course?s signature 403-yard, par 4 12th hole, where an elevated green looks out onto placid waters. Just north of the championship-length course, golfers fine-tune their short and midrange games at a 9-hole par 3 course or attempt to break the sound barrier by belting drives at the full-length, grass-tee driving range.
A staff of PGA professionals oversees the improvement of all-around games as juniors and adults refine their skills on Heart of America Golf Academy’s extensive grounds. Encompassing sprawling practice facilities and three golf courses, the facility gives players multiple amenities for working on their form. Golfers can play a nine-hole round at the River Course or practice short-game touch at the par 3 Rock Course; beginners can make a smooth foray into the game at the Hill, a three-hole junior learning center. Players can also head to the 36-station driving range, where grass tees mimic fairway conditions and double as smoothie enhancers for budding golfers.
A singular mission pervades every private golf lesson, junior camp, and club-fitting session at Robin Nigro Golf Academy: help golfers play their best. Robin and her father oversee day-to-day operation of the academy, accepting golfers of every stripe into their program for instruction on developing skills and appreciation for the game even when golf balls refuse to obey orders. Robin herself draws upon a deep well of golf knowledge, having played on the Futures Mini Tour and qualified for the 1993 Women's U.S. Open despite taking up the game at the ripe old age of 23. The facility also features a double-decker driving range that is heated and outfitted with automatic ball dispensers.
Sculpted into the undulating countryside in the 1930s, Royal Meadows Golf Club received a facelift in 2002, when course architect Craig Schreiner redesigned much of the layout. The course now makes artful use of three ponds, including on the par-three seventh, where the hazard creates a forced carry from tee-to-green. A 573-yard par-five, the 18th hole brings the round to a dramatic conclusion without forcing carts to drive through a finish line that has been set ablaze.
After the round, golfers can retreat to the clubhouse, where large screen TVs, cold drinks, and snacks replenish golfers. A spacious building forged from old barn wood and tin paneling, the clubhouse winds the clock back to the course's rustic roots.
Painted Hills Golf Club opened in 1929 as Victory Hills Country Club, and it has since undergone two major facelifts, one of which took place in 2013. This included a complete redesign of five holes, as well as the addition of 75 new Zoysia tee boxes, 24 new bunkers, and two miles of new cart paths. Plus, more than 150 trees were removed to open up the course.
Golfers famished after fine-tuning their drives and chips on the course can head to Putter?s Bar & Grill for a sandwich and cold drink.
Royal Meadows Golf Club Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Length of 6,388 yards from the tips * Course rating of 70.6 from the tips * Slope rating of 116 from the tips * Four tee options * Scorecard
Painted Hills Golf Club Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Length of 5,781 yards from the tips * Course rating of 67.7 from the tips * Slope rating of 119 from the tips * Four tee options * Scorecard
For more than 50 years, Cool Crest's owners have enchanted visitors with the fun park's abundance of family-friendly attractions. Flanked by emerald gardens, four 18-hole miniature golf courses lead participants to a bonus 19th hole, which rewards successful shots with a free game. Helpful staff enables drivers to hug the racetrack's corners while strapped into an open-wheel go-kart or, when in season, smack homers from batting cages hurling slow, medium, or fast pitches. Inside, a climbing playland and 7,000-square-foot arcade entertain guests throughout the year. To encourage kids to work as hard as they play, Cool Crest's staff rewards students brandishing recent report cards with up to 20 tokens, depending on their number of A's, B's, or the results from their PhD peer review. In between exhaustive sessions of play, a snack bar staff reenergizes guests with a slice or treat at Frankie's Pizzeria.