Patchy forest to the north and 265th Street to the south border Cedar Valley Golf Course, separating the grassy haven from miles of Iowa farmland on the other side. Within the oasis lie ponds that enter play on all but five of the holes, including hole 13, where the green juts out into a large water hazard that regularly swallows up overly-forceful approaches. Players will find themselves facing other risk-reward scenarios throughout their bout with the course, such as on hole 5, where they must either lay up or go for the green, and on hole 16, where they must decide between hitting a 210-yard shot that carries the water or just picking the ball up and carrying it to the hole.
Course at a Glance:
The stately trees and blue grass fairways that line Cedar Rapids Twin Pines Golf Course have been flourishing since 1962, when the first golfers walked the course’s emerald alleyways. Eighteen scenic holes invite greenhorns to green-jacket holders to dig up divots while aiming their dimpled orbs around a quartet of ponds. Hole five presents a sharp dogleg left with a water hazard nestled in the crook of its elbow, forcing golfers to either tee off with masterful precision or keep the fairways lush with a steady stream of tears. Before facing the course’s unforgiving, undulating fairways or the tree-framed putting green of hole eight, players can warm up at any of the driving range’s 20 hitting stations. After a successful round, golfers can drop into the clubhouse to cool off hot putting hands with a frosty beverage and tell old war stories of facing off against rifle-wielding regiments with only their 9-iron.
Course at a Glance:
A public course complete with tree-lined fairways and pristine greens, Hunter’s Ridge Golf Course challenges paired players with a set of 18 holes as well-rounded as the dimpled spheres that speckle its ridges. Captain your cart over an expansive range of well-manicured landscapes dotted with majestic woodlands and enough sand and water hazards to evoke a horror-movie set at an island resort. This par 72 course strikes an exceptionally balanced level of difficulty, appealing to seasoned swingers as well as active younger players with freshly acquired driver's licenses.
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.
The Golf Shack Super Driving Range provides golf-ball-wallopers with a place to practice swings year-round, featuring 40 stalls, 20 grass tees, and a bentgrass putting green. Twenty covered stalls stand staunchly next to 20 uncovered stalls, allowing drivers to choose their preferred ambience. Upon entry, visitors receive a basket containing 80 balls, offering golfers a chance to perfect their power drive, take a couple of reps with their new set of irons, or test their experimental rocket-propelled hover-putter. Ambitious Groupon holders also have the option of using all three buckets in one trip.
Designed by course architect Dick Nugent, the acclaimed Aldeen Golf Course ushers club-toting clientele into a 7,131-yard grassy valhalla stretching across bucolic fairways and exceptionally maintained greens. Five sets of tees temper the difficulty of this lengthy and relatively challenging course, which requires astute club selection to adjust for subtle elevation changes, sound course management to cope with 62 treacherous sand bunkers, and one philologist to converse with the hillpeople living amid the well-mounded rough. Encroaching water hazards rear their hydraulic heads on a dozen holes including the signature par 3 eighth, where duffers clamber over a replica of the storied Swilcan Bridge of St. Andrews lore to access an island green that would make even the boldest of John Daly impressionists nostalgic for the predictability of putt-putt windmills. Loop the verdant links the old-fashioned, foot-intensive way with today’s first option, or enlist a trustworthy cart to tote a bag and golf mate with today’s second option.