World-renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. dreamed up the challenging layout of Mariners Landing Golf’s 18-hole, par 72 course, where players putt on bermuda grass under the watchful eye of verdant mountains. Golfers shake their Magic 8 balls to decide among five sets of tee boxes before they play through the sand trap- and pond-studded fairways, which wind through residential areas. Players can also practice swings at the driving range’s 12 hitting stations or rehearse chipping and putting on the practice green. The course’s golf professional and an assistant golf professional instruct students in the proper way to thrust and parry during a golf-club duel, and the Dew-Sweepers pro shop outfits swingers with Titleist and Nike equipment. After facing down the fairways, golfers can relax in the clubhouse restaurant with a burger and fries.
Course at a Glance:
The course at Botetourt Golf & Swim Club skims through the densely forested terrain of the Roanoke Valley, revealing dramatic glimpses of the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains as players contend with its string of pristine trials. Opened in 1962 with just nine holes, the course celebrates half a century of expansions and improvements that have culminated in its current status as an 18-hole championship track. Golfers today send drives hurling through hilly terrain carpeted with lush sod and roll their putts over undulating greens in pursuit of a par of 71, all while the freshly shorn flags of conquered pins dangle from their belts.
Course at a Glance:
Perched on hilltops that overlook the scenic Roanoke Valley, Hanging Rock Golf Club's 18-hole course surfs the mountainside for 6,602 yards of challenging course conditions. Rising peaks cast shadows across the course's emerald fairways as undulating terrain places a high premium on club selection, confident swings, and 9-irons impervious to motion sickness. The course's signature hole, the par-4 fifth, showcases the inventive designs of architect Russell Breeden as golfers can pen their own pin-hunting tale by playing to a two-tiered green stationed boldly uphill, a tricky layout that emphasizes accurate approach shots and putters that don't sweat under pressure. To help prepare players for upcoming rounds, resident ace Chip Sullivan conducts private lessons and runs golf academies for birdie seekers of all stripes.
Course at a Glance:
Ranked 12th in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Family Hotels and Cruises, The Homestead has been pampering guests—including 22 U.S. presidents—with an assortment of leisurely activities since its pre-Revolutionary War construction in 1766. This Groupon includes one night of well-appointed slumber for up to two guests in one of the historic resort's luxurious classic rooms, featuring down pillows, featherbeds, and midnight golf tips from the ghosts of former boarders. The sun porches and authentic fireplaces in some rooms reflect influences of quieter times, whereas WiFi and flat-screen TVs keep guests technologically apprised of happenings in the outside world. Honk your golf cart's horn in triumph after launching a dimply ball off the nation's oldest first tee in continuous use at the Old Course (an extra round of golf may be purchased for $35). The hilly, par 72 course was originally completed in 1892 but has received fairway contouring and silicone calf implants to keep golfers on their toes. Patrons allergic to grass or 9 irons can partake in a slew of indoor excursions, such as complimentary afternoon tea in the Great Hall, free film showings in the historic theater, and spirited rounds of sphere hurling at the on-site bowling center.
Curlicues of painted flame seem to crackle white hot from the mouths of dragons that come to life on the walls beneath the black lights at Glow-A-Rama. The echo of clacking billiard balls drifts past the painted knights, monsters, and underwater vistas, reaching the ears of players batting ping-pong balls back and forth. Patrons tap incandescent spheres across the 18-hole mini-golf course, which was designed and constructed by the owner and is free of the sand traps that slow traditional golf and attract nesting Jimmy Buffetts. Black lights also extend into the game room and party rooms.
Birthday-party guests master the lost art of golf bowling, which involves tapping a golf ball into 10 glowing, diminutive pins. Around Halloween, visitors run the spooky gauntlet of a haunted house festooned with shimmering graveyard murals and pictures of the wolfman without his makeup.