The Five Seasons Family Sports Club houses tennis courts, a dining area, fitness facilities, swimming pools, and a full-service spa under one roof. Within air-conditioned indoor courts or on outdoor clay courts, racquet slingers compete in friendly bouts to sharpen swings, refine backhands, and showcase grunting abilities. Members can also break a sweat in exercise areas speckled with modern cardio equipment and weights or cool off in an Olympic-sized pool with diving wells and wading areas. Before meeting others for a postgame beverage at the lively café, clients can wander to the spa for a relaxing massage or partake in a sports workshop to gain a firm grasp on game mechanics.
Of the 18 holes that constitute the course at Shortee’s Golf, not one measures longer than 100 yards. This is so beginners—youngsters especially—can enjoy the game without getting frustrated because they can’t yet hit the ball as far as Tiger Woods or afford to pay a fan to kick their golf ball into the fairway, like Tiger Woods. Instead, they practice short game fundamentals, both pitching and putting, which happen to be the most crucial aspects of the game, regardless of the size of the course. The facility also holds a net driving range and putting green for further repetitions, and conducts five-day junior golf camps in the summer to help the future phenoms improve.
MAN Golf Management’s facilities give players myriad ways to curb their golf cravings. Coffin Golf Club and Riverside Golf Course invite guests to play through more than 6,200 yards of golf apiece, with three to four tees per hole and prevailing winds that can send shots sailing into sand bunkers or water hazards. Meanwhile, the Riverside Golf Academy lets players practice on 16 covered hitting stalls, 18 outdoor hitting mats, two grass chipping practice greens, and one indoor putting green. There, instructors also host private lessons to help golfers sharpen their swings without replacing their drivers with lumberjack axes.
As the PGA Director of Instruction at Smock Driving Range-MZ III Golf Academy, Michael Zedrick III molds the swings of adult and junior golfers into sound strokes worthy of repetition. Michael’s arrival on the range marks the latest stop in a glittering career that includes two years spent as an assistant at TPC Scottsdale and a stint studying under Hank Haney at ESPN Golf Schools. He also boasts certification as a Titleist Performance Institute instructor. Michael puts all of this know-how to use during his intensive lessons, which he caps off with Titleist V-1 Pro video swing analysis that can be accessed via the Internet for post-lesson study or as entertainment at a gathering of extended family.
When designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. made Prairie View Golf Club his first Indiana project in 1997, he peppered 18 holes across 206 acres of natural beauty. His design hugs the White River, which rings the course on three sides, but only interferes with shots at four holes. Native grasses trim the entire perimeter of the former soybean- and cornfields, while oak, sycamore beech, and cottonwood trees surround the back nine holes. But the natural obstacles pale in comparison to the manmade impediments – 90 sand traps, including one that stretches 135 yards, make the par-72 course a challenge for even the most avid golfer. Creative flagstick positioning invites visitors to modify their technique for approach shots, with an emphasis on precision rather than power, much like surgically extracting a swallowed engagement ring.
For some added muscle on the course, patrons can practice swings at golf lessons or map out a plan of attack over breakfast at The Albatross Grille, which overlooks the course.
Course at a Glance:
The narrow fairways of Thatcher Golf Course wind through dense forest that looms threateningly and forces players to exhibit control. Its nine holes are spread over a short and relatively flat layout. Water and sand hazards lie ready to swallow wayward golf balls on four holes, and mature oak trees guard three others, thwarting approaches with outstretched boughs. Should golfers want to threaten the course par of 35, they must rely on their accuracy, as opposed to distance or guardian golfmothers.
Course at a Glance: