As golfers stand over teed-up golf balls, staring down the fairway of Indian Trail Golf Course’s 370-yard 14th hole—the course signature—they may be perplexed by its ranking as the round’s most difficult hole. Though the scorecard reads “short par 4,” the hole packs a good deal of hardship into its diminutive stature. Golfers must aim for the top of the fairway hill off the tee, while steering clear of the boulder on the right side and the large pond just beyond. Players are forgiven for going the conservative route with a long iron off the tee, as opposed to risking the driver or a retrofitted t-shirt cannon. If they leave themselves a decent lie on the approach, a two-tiered green awaits just over the water, making three-putts an all-too-common occurrence.
While not every hole features boulders, uphill fairways, and the ever-present threat of boogeyman attacks, the course is characterized by the ubiquitous threat of hazards. In all, nine ponds and more than 40 bunkers haunt players along the 6,272 yards of Bermuda-covered terrain, lending an air of hostility to the otherwise pristine surroundings.
Course at a Glance:
When Bike to Nature's staffers pool together their roadside fixes and in-shop projects, it adds up to more than 40 years of collective experience. The shop recently relocated across the street from its previous location to a new facility that expands about 4,400 square feet, or twice the size of the former space. Here, the crew stocks a large inventory of new bikes and bike parts to meet any cycling need, whether bikers are interested in commuting, racing, or extraterrestrial advocacy. Biking apparel maximizes riders' sleek speed, and sports-nutrition products such as recovery sports drinks deliver electrolytes, muscle-soothing glutamine, and laboratory-synthesized adrenaline directly into biker's bodies.
Tune-ups and repair services range from quick fixes such as changing a tire to full-body customizations. Bike to Nature's technicians also help patrons learn to repair their own bikes using a precisely measured blend of elbow grease and magic words, and can reveal the best local spots for scenic rides.
Designed by prolific course architect Willard Byrd, Timberlake Country Club's 18-hole course plots a 6,579-yard trail across a Lake Murray peninsula as it dips southward into the glassy waters. Picturesque views of the lake abound throughout the round—because of its proximity to the lake, the club offers free docking and shore-side pickup for those who wish to arrive by boat or seahorse—and the supersized pool's watery fingers come into play on seven holes. Rounds culminate with dramatic flair at the signature 18th hole, a 483-yard par 5 where a mid-fairway water hazard looms on the business end of a blind tee shot, raising the stakes for players who unsheathe their driver in the hopes of reaching the green in two.
Alongside the grassy course, neon yellow orbs slice through the air at Timberlake Country Club's tennis courts, where tennis pro Mark Gardiner teaches students to hit a forehand passing shot or incite an earthquake with a deafening grunt. The club also houses diverse dining facilities to curb appetites or host social events.
Lake Murray Golf Center appeals to both putt-practitioners and full-scale iron swingers by placing a miniature course alongside nine regular holes. Quartets can take to the 18-hole miniature-golf course as many times as they desire to send spherical associates caroming toward their targets. Golf balls navigating the littler links must dodge fountains, streams, and a 15-foot waterfall that churns fresh Arnold Palmers.