Bristol Oaks Golf Club opened in 1964. That same year, Gary Player set a course record that stands to this day. Though it's probably impossible to match one of the game's greatest players shot-for-shot, golfers can still give it their best while working around the 18-hole, par 72 course. Along the way, they'll encounter fairways lined with mature trees, as well as water hazards that come into play on three holes. Away from the course, golfers can also get some practice in on a large chipping area, a putting green, and a driving range outfitted with lights in case anyone puts out the sun with an errant shot.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total of 6,431 yards from the tips * Four tees per hole * Scorecard
Bittersweet Golf Club’s 18-hole course winds through mature hardwoods and the brambly grasses of native wetlands, supporting the ecosystem that continues to thrive around the former bird sanctuary. Recent renovations have made the Bittersweet course more playable, a personality shift that earned it the Daily Herald’s 2010 Readers' Choice Award as well as several dates with a local soccer field. The course still retains many of its score-mangling qualities, as evidenced by the presence of water hazards on all but one hole, including two ponds that line the sides of the narrow fairway on the ninth hole, appropriately dubbed “Slim.” Bent-grass greens await clubbers at the opposite end of every tee, sporting a slick surface that can complicate even simple putts. To get golfers in shape for the demanding links, Bittersweet’s pro shop and staff of PGA instructors outfit clients with the skills, apparel, and divot-tool implants needed to hunt pins with confidence.
Golf shots soar high over the grounds of Raymond Heights Family Golf Center, looking down upon a beginner-friendly complex that encompasses a nine-hole, par-3 course, a driving range, and a miniature golf course. With five holes measuring in at 100 yards or shorter, the lilliputian links help beginners find their swings and give aces a chance to flaunt their short-game prowess without having to aim chip shots at next-door neighbors' mailboxes.
Open as early as 8 a.m., the 30-stall driving range—equipped with both artificial and natural-grass hitting areas—enables late-night practice sessions with lights that activate after sundown. Glowing balls trace the night sky or roll across turf runways during moonlight play, which Raymond Heights hosts at both the par-3 course and its 18-hole mini golf course, made possible by shimmering flagsticks and caddies that locate hazards using echolocation. After a day on the links, vintage vinyl barstools offer a respite for spiky-soled shoes at the Center's full-service restaurant and bar.
Having opened in 1974, Foss Park Golf Club embarks on its fifth decade of challenging golfers to demonstrate long drives and precise approaches on its 18-hole course. The layout arcs across a grassy patch dotted with ponds, a stream, and clusters of trees, all of which aim to keep golfers as far away from the par of 72 as possible. Rather than lifting weights in an effort blast shots directly through tree trunks, golfers can learn to work shots around obstacles with some time on the lighted grass-tee driving range or a lesson with PGA head pro Gabe Monroe.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,839 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 71.9 from the back tees * Course slope of 126 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
Towering oaks and spectacular willow trees frame Oak Hills Golf Club’s nine-hole course, standing guard as clubbers traverse the 1,845-yard, par 31 course. The relatively short layout features bunker-fortified greens, water hazards on four holes, and an elaborate system of sprinklers programmed to activate during golfers’ backswings. With no par 5's and only one hole longer than 300 yards, the course enables golfers to feasibly reach the green off the tee on eight different holes.
At the Club’s pro shop, players can peruse a wide selection of clubs with which to upgrade their old set of modified crowbars, and the 250-yard driving range offers a venue for players to test out new equipment or improve imbalanced swings. After a long day of tracing drives into the ether, golfers can retreat to The Back Nine Restaurant to enjoy a cool beverage, tuck into a meal of traditional grill fare, and watch the sun slide slowly beneath the earth's flat surface.
Course at a Glance:
9-hole, par 31 course
Length of 1,845 yards
Course rating of 29.1
Link to scorecard
Golfers of all ages and abilities can practice short-range to midrange skills among the many pine trees that populate the nine-hole executive Woodland Golf Course. At 2,089 yards, the course presents an ideal layout for beginners or veteran pairs competing in a three-legged scramble. While short-game finesse is placed at a premium, big hitters will find space to slake a yen for yardage on three holes that measure more than 300 yards.