Tucked into the rolling hillsides of Johnstown, The Links at Echo Springs is equal parts pretty and challenging. Fairways lined with mature hardwood forests skirt streams and ponds. Off the course, there’s a fully stocked pro shop, a driving range with a PGA staff available for lessons, and a bar and grill waiting to serve up celebratory hamburgers. Click here to see a scorecard and read the course guidelines.
Though it only opened its green runways in 2001, Clover Valley Golf Club's 18-hole course has the look of a timeless landmark. Massive weeping willow trees cast shadows throughout the grounds, and the 7,149-yard links snake through waterways that seem as if they've wrapped around bent-grass fairways and greens since the beginning of time. From the tips, the course tests even the longest drivers with four par-fives that exceed 530 yards in length. Five sets of tees make the course playable for golfers of all abilities, and bunkers and water hazards require most golfers to hit every club in their bags, though not at the same time.
The course is supplemented with a variety of practice areas, including a 3,500-square-foot chipping area, a 5,500-square-foot putting green, and a driving range with target greens. Between rounds, golfers can fill up at the clubhouse lounge or restock on golf gear in the pro shop.
Ranked 56th on Golf Magazine's 2010 Top 100 Courses You Can Play, Longaberger Golf Club's immaculate, Arthur Hills–designed course stretches across 7,243 yards of rolling hills and parkland-style terrain. Begin a day of orb-blasting bravado with a stint at the club's 25-acre natural grass driving range, where target greens stretch into the distance, beckoning seductively to practice balls and recently single 9-irons. The lengthy course challenges golfers early on at the par 5 fourth hole—the course's most difficult hole—where orbs must travel 563 yards from the back tees to reach the green while also contending with a treacherous 150-foot drop in elevation. A generous selection of five tee options helps players of all club-flailing fortitude tame the formidable grassy monolith and its unruly gang of cart-hating, motorcycle-riding ex-caddies.
From its upstairs perch in the club house, Vito’s patio offers a panoramic view of the course’s 18th green so that you can witness impressive birdies and amusing putter-flinging meltdowns while sampling the Old Country–influenced menu. Tee off with appetizers such as the three-onion dip ($6.59), calamari parma ($7.99), and zucchini frito ($6.99), or munch one of 11 pre-determined, gourmet, Sicilian pizza pies. “Sangwiches” include the meataballa ($7.59) and grande hot Sicilian ($8.99), while paninis include chicken gorgonzola ($7.99) and roasted turkey ($7.99). For heartier fare, twirl a fork into pastas such as the blackened salmon with angel hair ($14.99) and penne al forno ($7.99, large $11.99), or drive one down the fairway with a house specialty such as the steak Vito ($12.99) or grilled salmon putanesca ($13.99).
From an elegant perch in the clubhouse, diners at New Albany Links Restaurant and Grill sup on a menu of classic Italian entrees as they survey the adrenaline-pumping action on the course's 18th green. Seafood enthusiasts can cast a wide net over multiple courses starting with flaky, pan-seared crab cakes with aioli ($7.99), followed by a bowl brimming with angel-hair pasta, fresh basil, shrimp seared in extra-virgin olive oil, and morally upstanding sun-dried tomatoes ($7.99–$14.99). A twice-baked lasagna offers up layers of meat sauce, ricotta, provolone, and romano cheese for toothsome excavation ($7.99–$11.99), and multi-taskers will enjoy the way the chicken marsala mingles pan-seared chicken breast, sautéed mushrooms, and marsala wine into one decadent dish ($7.49–$12.99).
The course at High Lands Golf Club challenges visitors with 6,599 yards of tight lies, concealed obstacles, and fairway trees extending their unlucky limbs into players’ sightlines. Tree-lined fairways and immaculate greens yield some scenic vistas for players bashing orbs along the course’s serpentine length. The signature third hole starts players off from an elevated tee shot that must stay out of the out-of-bounds area on the left, but not drift too far right, where clearing the wooded ravine on the second shot would become impossible. The next shot onto the elevated green is made difficult by the black walnut tree guarding the green, making for an altogether difficult run at par. Toward the end of the round, players must face a gauntlet of obstacles on holes 16, 17, and 18 before heading in for the day. Named the “Bermuda Triangle” for the architect’s tendency to incorporate treacherous waterways and affinity for Bermuda shorts, hole 16 challenges golfers with difficult lies, slippery putts, and water hazards that loom large.
Course at a Glance: