Totaling a little more than 2,500 yards laid end to end, the nine holes that constitute Maple Crest Golf Course's rolling hills challenge players to exhibit deft control in order to master its relatively short layout. Big hitters who can keep the ball in play enjoy wide, open fairways, but overzealous strokes may fly out of bounds or enter into orbit, forcing a difficult re-entry through the atmosphere and onto the 5,000-square-foot greens. The par 3 sixth hole forces players to hit their tee shot into a narrow opening above a ravine, and the par 5 ninth hole—the course’s longest at 464 yards—protects its multitiered green with trees and uphill lies.
Course at a Glance:
Eighteen-hole, par 68 course
Total length of more than 5,000 yards from the back tees
Former Marine and PGA-section-tournament champion Brian Machen assists his students’ swings by teaching techniques that he's refined across 12 years of instruction experience. Brian tracks swings using slow-motion and stop-action video, which help to isolate wayward movements so that he can suggest subtle adjustments in stance or switching out polka-dotted sweater vests for plaid polos. His fact-based, comprehensive cadre of tips applies to golfers of all ages and abilities, and after perfecting long drives on indoor or outdoor greens, pupils can access an online video lesson to force loved ones to watch during family movie nights.
Set on the rolling wooded banks of the Youghiogheny River, Butler's Golf Course has been challenging golfers for more than 80 years with two 18-hole courses. The 6,314-yard Woodside course cushions golf shoes in a gently rolling terrain, and the 6,689-yard Lakeside course grants sweeping views of the adjacent valley and a few blind shots. Both par 72 courses can be enjoyed from the seat of a conveniently motorized golf cart, which transports golfers and their gear between holes, around scattered hillocks, and across the line in tense photo finishes.
Named for the sunny yellow birdsfoot trefoil flowers strewn throughout the course—sprouted from seeds that fell off hay wagons rumbling through years ago on the fields of the former Buffalo Creek Farms—the championship golf course at Birdsfoot Golf Club enchants golfers with rolling hills and country charm. The links-style front nine give way to a back nine whose fairways open over hills, inviting golfers to pull out their drivers and whack dimpled orbs with the club-swinging gusto usually reserved for cracking eggs into an omelet pan. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette highlights the course’s 465-yard third hole as one of the 18 best public holes in western Pennsylvania, citing its mounded fairway, which doglegs left and challenges putts with a downhill, sloped green. As carts zoom from one hole to the next, they traverse a path where bogeyman faces carved by a local artist peer from tree trunks. When players finish their rounds, they can unwind in a clubhouse where ghosts from its former life as a farmhouse offer advice on covertly changing scorecard results.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 7,034 yards
Course rating of 74.4
Slope rating of 137
See an interactive course tour
Rolling over the naturally hilly landscape, the bright-green turf of Statler’s Fun Center’s miniature-golf course winds around the center’s 1,528-foot go-kart track. Engines roar as racers 10 or older zip through the over-and-under bridge’s tight turns or give their lead foot free rein on the straightaways.
The soundtrack of purring motors underscores high-stakes games of miniature golf as players putt their way through deviously landscaped greens, expertly maneuvering the cave with a hidden waterfall and defeating the final hole guarded by squatting gophers. An air-conditioned snack shop provides respite from summer heat with cool drinks and an arcade full of excuses to hang out indoors, such as the classic air-hockey table and skee-ball.
A pair of massive par 5s bookends the course at Glengarry Golf Links. The first hole stretches to 564 yards, and the final hole reaches 555 yards, making both more than 100 yards longer than any other hole on the course. Between them, golfers can't just cruise, either: six lakes creep into play on seven different holes, and 20 catcher's mitt bunkers lie in wait to devour shots that run astray. Challenging as the course is, it surrounds visitors in beauty by weaving through tall native grasses and fescue mounts amid the foothills of the Laurel Mountains. Plus, 50-yard-wide fairways create spacious landing zones for balls and for players who opt for jet packs over golf carts.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 69 course * Total of 6,197 yards * Five tees per hole * Course rating of 69.7 from the tips * Course slope of 125 from the tips * Scorecard