The course at Perche Creek Golf Club is comprised of 18 par-3 holes that gently introduce beginners to the game while still challenging veterans with ample opportunities for short-game improvement. Nine ponds delineate the holes and loom large as players line up their attacks from the tee, ready to gulp down errant shots. The flat layout allows players to nail down their iron distances, a crucial ingredient for proper course management. On nice evenings, course superintendents turn on the front nine's area lights, making for easier night play without having to give an alien a Walkman in exchange for plutonium golf balls. Perche Creek's driving range gives players a variety of targets to attack from 50 hitting stations and 20 synthetic-grass mats, earning it a spot on Golf Range Magazine's list of the top 100 ranges in the nation. The club also encompasses an 18-hole miniature-golf course, which challenges players with curvy putting corridors flanked by rocks and water hazards.
Jones and Norene Gann first imagined transforming their property into a golf course 18 years ago, and constructed an 18-hole course and golf facility now managed by the Rapp family. Open seven days a week, the course challenges golfers with outstretched trees, formidable bunkers and mounds, and hazardous waters. Designated cart paths wind around and through the course, guiding drivers to the next hole on their route or through a wormhole leading to the twenty-third century. Nestled atop the sprawling property, practice facilities help golfers warm up swinging arms, and a pro shop lets athletes restock balls and read up on instructional guides to high-level golfsmanship.
In regular golf instruction, owners Bill and Philip Rapp help students fine-tune their swing and boost their game with new skills. On Tuesday evenings, young putters can hone their swinging skills in free lessons.
At Oak Hills Golf Center, golfers traverse an 18-hole golf course that loops around Hough Park Lake and hone their skills on the driving range. The City of Jefferson keeps the course open year-round, so long as frost doesn’t accumulate on the greens and vacationing nudists don’t show up in the sand traps unannounced. At the end of rounds or practice sessions, players can refuel with hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers at the course concession stand.
Course at a Glance:
A golf club's atmosphere can often be traced to the personality of the head golf professional. For the members and guests at the semiprivate Rolling Hills Country Club, that is a very good thing. Head Professional and PGA member Steve Nolawski infuses his great number of roles—from general manager to lesson-giver to tee-time receptionist—with a friendly smile and player-oriented approach. Steve has served in this all-encompassing capacity for the club since 2001, as well as created leagues, set up club tournaments, and coached on-course etiquette to the resident squirrels.
The 18-hole course, however, is naturally the club's focal point. Stretching 6,500 yards from the tips, it's a intermediate-length course that's manageable for beginners, a challenge to avid players, and walkable for those who enjoy golf's exercise. A driving range, practice green, and pro shop round out the club.
Course at a Glance:
Sun Valley Golf Course stretches over a 200-acre neck of Lincoln County and treats players to an 18-hole tour of its gently rolling hills and valleys. Though players often find themselves awed by the course's scenic countryside setting, they're just as likely to recount later how they fared when faced with its most unique feature: hole five, a 720-yard par 6. To slay this lengthy monstrosity, players tee off from an elevated tee box, then must work uphill past creeks at 200 yards and 260 yards and a large tree in the middle of the fairway to reach the elevated green. Architect Gary Kern included the highly unusual hole, known affectionately as "The Beast," as a way to stand out from the courses that distinguish themselves by allowing only croquet to be played on their greens.
Course at a Glance:
Tunneling through the pine-studded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River, a circuit of immaculately groomed blue- and rye-grass fairways and bent grass greens forms the 18-hole, par 65 course at Great River Road Golf Club. The hills rise and fall throughout the layout—the course offers 160 feet of total elevation change—presenting shots to both raised and descending targets. The signature hole—a 370-yard par-four—doglegs left into an island green perched atop the Mississippi's flowing waters that will test even the most practiced swings. To harness the precision required to aim past the course's narrow, tree-lined corridors and village of Ewok huts, golfers can warm up at a 300-yard grass-tee driving range, which nestles alongside a practice green.