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: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,272 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 69.4 from the back tees * Course slope of 127 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
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.
Before Dez White donned the whistle and clipboard of a fitness instructor, he was a professional football player for the Chicago Bears and the Atlanta Falcons. After years on the field, Dez added an ISSA personal-training certification to his accomplishments and founded The Body Firm Atlanta, where he builds challenging, constantly varied workouts for all skill levels. Dez and his staff of fellow trainers conduct classes in local parks and shopping malls, allowing participants to admire trees and bench-press mannequins as they pursue their fitness goals. The staff motivates its students by tracking their measurements and progress throughout the course.
With a passion for the great outdoors, the outfitters at Get Your Gear On provide equipment and instruction for navigating trails and waterways. While leading groups, expert guides glide through scenic locales in search of wildlife views and serene experiences. Their canoe trips drift along the warm urban areas and tree-littered landscapes that run along the Congaree River, and their stand-up-paddleboard rentals allow guests to view the banks of Lake Murray from a perspective previously exclusive to sightseeing mermen. They also offer cycling equipment and maintenance along with hiking gear for dry climates, snowy landscapes, and rooms where the sink has been left on all night.
A destination for paint-your-own pottery, The Pitter Platter is a place where visitors are free to express themselves, whether it's decorating a mug or painting a colorful canvas. Welcoming students ages five and up, the studio's shelves are lined with raw ceramic bisques, ranging from plates and bowls to heart-shaped boxes. During the summer, kids can fend off boredom and lingering textbooks during daily art classes that keep children engaged and occupied with a host of art projects.
Main Street Cafe Bar & Grill's owners, the Trifos family, curate a menu that celebrates their Greek heritage. Guests sample mezzes of feta-topped bruschetta or lightly breaded calamari before digging into main courses of spanakopita or chicken souvlaki. In addition to these traditional dishes, chefs also whip up a small sampling of American eats such as sirloin steak and pork chops.