The staff at The Golf Improvement Center knows that shaving strokes is all about getting the little things right. This precision is evident in the center’s facilities, from the 7,500 square-foot putting green modeled after the famous Himalayas putting course at St. Andrews to the seven target greens scattered around the 320-by-300-yard driving range and laser measured to every hitting station. Instead of the oversize range balls at the great majority of driving ranges, which get tired of flying after 100 yards, players hit real regulation golf balls that get recycled every year, which provides the invaluable feel and results of actual strokes. The center also recognizes that golfers committed to improvement can’t sacrifice practice time just because the course is full of rain, snow, or carnivorous fog. Thus, when the 24,000 square feet of grass tees aren’t available due to these or other concerns, players can continue to practicing their drives and chips on the 38 covered Fiberbuilt mats, some of which are also heated. At dusk, stadium-level lights flicker on to ensure the continuous bombardment of golf balls into the night sky.
The first hole on the course at Rustic Hills Country Club carves an arc along the westerly banks of Rustic Hills Lake, a dramatic opening to the relatively short nine-hole track. With a par of 32, the course is dominated by four par 3s, yet makes up for its shorter layout with frequent hills that force swing adjustments and a steady diet of golf balls for the course's many water hazards?including one that almost entirely surrounds the seventh green.
Just off the golf course, the stately grounds of Rustic Hills Country Club encompass a fine- dining restaurant, Fireside Restaurant and Lounge which is also open to the public. Membership opportunities are available. Contact Rustic Hills for more information.
Skyland Golf Course is not just an 18-hole public course, but a family tradition. The third generation of the Rhodes family currently oversees operations, keeping the well-maintained grounds and the welcoming atmosphere up to the standards of the regulars who have played the links for decades. At 6,115 yards with a slope of 116, the par-72 course isn't an especially difficult test, but it does hide some tricky surprises within its condensed length. Water comes into play on three holes, and the wind above the tree line frequently knocks shots off-course. Meanwhile, some bunkers are filled with sand while others are left grassy, giving golfers fits when a sand wedge refuses to risk getting grass stains.