The phosphorescent indoor landscape at Monster Mini Golf immerses putters in an eerie universe that inverts the sun-soaked cheer of conventional courses. Rimmed in glowing green barriers, 18 holes lure swingers of all sizes to challenge their coordination and resolve in the face of winged monsters, scowling animated trees, a creepy clown, and their opponents' shockingly dazzling smiles. Sheltered from searing rain and howling wind, the indoor course enables play around hazards such as a spell well and luminous, ghostly windmill at any time of the year. An in-house radio station and DJ mask the sound of pounding hearts with lively beats and course commentary, and golfers looking for additional glory can win prizes by participating in regular contests or at the on-site arcade.
An electrifying array of games, golf, and high-speed competition cater to adrenaline aficionados of all ages at Malibu Grand Prix’s bustling amusement center. Lead-footed motorists can experience unlimited access to Malibu's high-performance go-karts, zipping around hairpin turns, picking up speed on straightaways, and flying over banked curves with a passenger in tow aboard Malibu's safe and speedy four-wheeled chariots. Like the violent water warfare portrayed in Monet's Water Lilies, aqueous enthusiasts can hop aboard bumper boats to execute broadside collisions or blasts from the onboard water cannon to drench dry loved ones. A variety of electronic entertainment populates the game room, while the thoughtful, zen-like meditation that is miniature golf makes for a relaxing way to cap off an afternoon of speed.
Jack Lapham strolled all 542 acres of the ranch, breathing in the desert air deeply and squinting at the shrub-speckled hills. On the horizon of this empty Western wilderness, he saw fences for horse stables, hotel suites, shooting ranges, and aircraft runways. The ranch’s owner stood behind him as he surveyed the land. “What do you think?” the owner asked, his voice firm and husky, like gravel. Jack, a former military colonel, turned and smiled a soldier’s wry smile. With a twinkle in his eye, he pulled out his checkbook. “This looks like a place where modern people can go and find themselves in the midst of yesterday.”
Over its next 65+ years as a dude ranch, the Flying L was the setting for aircraft tests, visits from famous authors, and the TV show The Cisco Kid. Today, staffers maintain its desert landscape and historic stone villas—many designed by associates of Frank Lloyd Wright—as a Western family resort. Suites lodge visitors among fireplaces and king-size beds, and modern and traditional decor styles meet inside tile bathrooms and wood-cabin construction. An 18-hole golf course rambles between massive oak trees, and miniature-golf fairways encounter obstacles such as rocky outcroppings and wagon wheels. An authentic ranch stable houses 40 horses, which can carry riders around the fields or on trots along grassy trails and rocky riverside paths. Nearby, a water park battles the desert heat and incites the hurt feelings of mirages with an artificial wave pool, tubing river, and water slides.
The rolling emerald acres of this golfing Valhalla provide fairway-farers with a sweeping spread of short- and long-range training areas to hone ball-launching skills. Club collectors, armed with a day-pass punch card, can crush unlimited edifices of dimpled spheres from the 40,000-square-foot tee line of Zoysia grass without risk of waiting behind sloth-paced practice sessions. Alternatively, stock up for 18-hole outings at the PGA-professional-staffed pro shop, which stocks a variety of golfing shirts, grip-enhancing gloves, and accuracy-boosting Egyptian artifacts. Though not included in the value of this Groupon, you can also take a lesson from the professionals or relax at the Watering Hole for a cold beverage after a rough day on the links.
After being ranked 19th on Golfweek's "Best New Courses" list in 2011, the course at Vaaler Creek Golf Club has been stacking up acolytes for its challenging play and picturesque Texas Hill Country setting. The Michael Lowry and JR Newman design stretches through oak forests as well as rocky outcroppings, encountering water on nine holes. Throughout each round, players steer new E-Z-GO golf carts over Bermuda 419 and TifSport grasses, taking advantage of the carts’ automatic braking systems as they stop to smell the flowers or the glorious scent of victory over manual controls.
Though the varied layout presents all manner of challenges, the par 3 12th hole requires a particularly cautious approach. Players must exhibit firm control over iron play as they aim for a peninsula green—discipline that must be then be duplicated four holes later to keep drives dry and on the isthmus fairway. Finally, players round out the round by facing a daunting approach over water, made even more difficult by the tree in the center of the fairway that obstructs flight paths and distracts would-be winners with its self-contained, elf-operated cookie factory.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,864 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 73 from the back tees * Course slope of 140 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
The hilly terrain of Woodlake Golf Club has hosted five PGA Tour events, including the 1973 Texas Open, in which Ben Crenshaw notched his first PGA Tour victory. Built in 1972 by Desmond Muirhead, the par-72 course meanders along slopes spattered with such dangers as water hazards and sand traps, which trap sand as part of a scheme to produce low-cost hourglasses. On the sixth hole, a vast pond maroons all three tees far from the green, the fairway stretching tantalizingly just beyond the boggy, aquatic prison. A pair of water hazards squeezes the par-5 ninth hole, where Crenshaw’s first title ambitions were nearly dashed in the final round of the ’73 Open.
Customers looking to polish their game can work with John Clay, a 35-year PGA professional with 40 years of teaching experience. For one hour, John help pupils identify swing imbalances, bolster consistent muscle memory, and distinguish a pitching wedge from a wheat scythe. Freshly minted techniques find their form with a post-lesson round on the Woodlake Golf Club course and a bucket of range balls at the driving range.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-72 course * Length of 6,691 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 72.3 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 130 from the farthest tees * Four tee options * Scorecard