Golf balls soar above the driving range and roll over tricky putt-putt greens at Southwest Golf Ranch, a practice facility designed to help golfers improve the full spectrum of their skills. With 2.5 acres of bent-grass hitting areas and 20 heated, covered hitting stalls outfitted with synthetic-turf mats, the range lets players choose their hitting surface or conceal their swing adjustments from spy drones sent by rival golfers. The mini-golf course features colorful flags, Lilliputian ponds, and wooden bridges that arch throughout the 18-hole layout, which is lighted for after-hours play.
Helmed by PGA pro and Director of Instruction Dave Stanton, Southwest Golf Ranch’s staff of instructors puts the facility’s resources to use in lessons and golf camps. The resident aces groom golfers’ swings with the help of video analysis and FlightScope swing tracking, the same technology used in the Ranch’s club fitting studio, which pairs golfers with their ideal clubs without forcing them to meet random sand wedges on the Internet.
For the first time ever, the Western & Southern Open—one of the nation's oldest professional tennis tournaments still played in its city of origin—will host top-tier men's and women's matches during the week of August 13–21. Two single session tickets offer up 300-level seating to the first rounds of session 5 held at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, a venue stocked with three televised match courts and nets containing snap-happy lobsters. Live music, food vendors, and racket-slamming action captivate the crowd before announcers crown male and female winners. Past victors of the Western & Southern Open include John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, and an out-of-control tennis ball-launching machine.
Tac Force Challenge tests the strength of racers by putting them through the rigors of an adventure 5K obstacle course designed by power lifters, martial-arts experts, and special-operations professionals. The muddy, muscle-straining course houses 31 obstacles, such as rope walls, river dashes, unbalanced beams, log trips, and tunnels that force runners to use all their strength and jet-pack fuel to reach the finish line. Participants begin their first race ranked as a Private and advance closer to General as they complete each run. This progress is saved in the Tac Force database, which catalogs completion dates so that the government knows whom to call in the event of a sweaty-bicep shortage.
The Cincinnati Golf Center stocks its driving range with over 32,000 new golf balls, 120 of which join hands inside a jumbo bucket and anxiously await their predestined flights. With each swing, user-friendly Trackman radar units monitor club delivery and ball trajectory for shots of up to 400 yards, helping golfers recognize their mistakes and adjust their swing accordingly. The golf center is staffed by two non-judgmental, PGA-sanctioned golf professionals who are trained to spot pro-golf-player imposters, so leave the Jack Nicklaus mask in the closet and come as you are to sharpen your clubbing skills.
PB Dye designed the 18 executive-style, rye-grass fairways at ClearCreek to focus on golfers’ short games, letting players hit through a faster round while still challenging them with one lake and 11 sand bunkers. Golfers tee off at a choice of four different boxes, driving balls the farthest at the 14th hole—one of two par 4 holes on the course—and maneuvering delicately at the 7th to avoid a bunker and the water that ripples on the backside of the putting green. The practice range’s 22 heated and lighted stalls keep 9-irons warm and cozy, and two Full Swing Golf simulators invite golfers to pretend to tackle the best courses in the world no matter the weather outside. ClearCreek’s pro shop features a Callaway custom fitting center for players seeking a new club and stocks Callaway and Titleist golfing paraphernalia. On Sundays, ClearCreek sells adult beverages at the 15th hole’s twin bunkers, providing adults the liquid courage necessary to face down the course's fire-breathing prairie dogs.
Course at a Glance: