Sycamore Golf Club is an island of shimmering emerald stamped onto an ocean of rolling beige. Once a wide-open farmland, the 100-acre parcel underwent major changes in 1961, when landscapers cleared away the wheat fields and cow communes to make way for the expansive 18-hole course. Today, the charm of the land remains thanks to a trio of ponds and two creeks that make their presence known on 15 holes, all of which are surrounded by newly planted tree groves.
True to the down-home feel of the area, Sycamore Golf Club is managed by the husband-and-wife team of Todd and Kathy Sandow. Kathy minds the pro shop and ushers twosomes and foursomes onto the first tee. And Todd, a PGA Professional, helps with club fittings and lessons for players of all levels.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,311 yards from the back tees * Course rating of from the back tees * Course slope of from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
A 9-hole, par 36 layout, Dogwood Glen Golf Course packs plenty of tee-to-green challenges in its 3,329-yard layout. The course opens with a 570-yard par-five—the first of two 550-plus-yard par-fives—letting golfers tee it high and swing freely to start their round. The course's five par-fours all measure more than 345 yards from the tips, making all but the longest-hitters golfers take a full swing with a wedge, short-iron, or curtain rod to make it to the green in regulation. With five tee options, the course caters to players of all abilities, and also provides alternative tee placements for those who want to play the course twice for an 18-hole round.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 36 course * Length of 3,329 yards from the farthest tees * Five tee options * Scorecard
Cardinal Hills Golf Course caters to players of all ages and skill levels with three sets of tee boxes and a traditional layout strewn with manageable challenges. On the front nine, two ponds loom menacingly on holes 5 and 6, forcing wise club selection to avoid its murky depths or wise snorkel selection to search for ancient cartwrecks. Elsewhere on the course, eight bunkers impose their powers of intimidation and dense forests line the fairways, extending their boughs into many a flight path.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,338 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70.2 from the back tees * Course slope of 125 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole.
Though it only has 9 greens and fairways, Balmoral Golf Club can easily be treated as a full 18-hole course. Each of the 9 holes has 2 completely separate tee boxes, which extend from as short as 130 yards to as long as 443. While the latter isn't actually all that long by most standards?indeed, there aren't any par-5 holes on the course?the overall effect welcomes golfers of all stripes. The course doesn't force beginners and shorter hitters out of their comfort zones, while more experienced players have plenty of room to polish swings and do cartwheels after a hole-in-one. At the culmination of a 9- or 18-hole round or 26.2-hole marathon, players can head into the stately clubhouse, which anchors the 45-acre grounds with private locker rooms, a dining area, and bar.
With an 18-hole course, indoor and outdoor driving ranges, and three simulators, Gray Eagle Golf Course & Academy fashions itself as a golf destination dedicated to enjoyable play and improvement. On the course, golfers can play from one of four sets of tees for their journey over the tees, greens, and fairways of bentgrass?a soft material known for its short root system, not its belief that every golfer is a supernatural being. Measuring 6,739 yards from the back tees, the layout may feel longer because holes 1, 9, 10, and 18 are each par 5s, bookending the front and back nines with 500-yard behemoths. When the weather fails to cooperate, the academy keeps golfers swinging with ample opportunities for indoor play, including a massive indoor practice facility, heated and covered outdoor driving-range stalls, and indoor simulators loaded with such world-renowned courses as Kapalua Plantation, Pinehurst No. 2, and St. Andrews.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,739 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.4 from the back tees * Course slope of 131 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
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: * 18-hole, Par 72 Course * Total length of 7,000 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 74.5 from the back tees * Course slope of 138 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole