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:
18-hole, par 71 course
Total length of 6,497 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 71.2 from the back tees
Course slope of 129 from the back tees
Three sets of tees per hole
Golfers first teed off at Wahkonsa Country Club in 1967, and since then, the 9-hole, par 72 course has maintained its picturesque layout of rolling greens and cascading fountains. Stretching nearly 7,000 yards from the back tees, the course consistently challenges players with behemoth lengths?including on hole 5, which, at 536 yards, is the longest test players encounter. Away from the links, visits to Wahkonsa Country Club can also include practice swings on the driving range and lunch at the bar and grill.
Course at a Glance * 9-hole, par 72 course * Total of 6.856 yards from the tips * Four tees per hole * Course rating of 71 * Course slope of 113 * Click here to view the scorecard.
Mary Mayer's career in Irish dancing started when she took her first lessons in Ireland while staying with her grandmother in the early '70s. She loved it so much that when she returned to Chicago, she—as well as her brother John—began taking lessons at a local Irish-dance school, where they danced with such people as Lord of the Dance creator Michael Flatley. Both Mary and John eventually starting placing at regional and national championships.
In 1980, they founded the Mayer School of Irish Dancing. It began in a basement with only five students—two of who were their younger brother and sister, Paul and Julie Mayer. These two followed in their older siblings' footsteps by placing in championships and even landing roles in Road to Perdition. Paul trained actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and danced with her in the film. Julie also trained many actors and performed alongside Paul Newman and Daniel Craig.
Though John has since retired, Mary continues to teach classes six days a week in Villa Park and Galena. Paul and Julie man two of the school's additional locations, which now span four states. Their students have placed in regional and national championships. Some have even traveled to Ireland to put their skills on display at the All-Ireland Championship and see if any snakes have found their way back yet.
Washington Golf and Country Club's nine-hole course caters to golfers across the spectrum with a layout that blends open, player-friendly holes interspersed with the challenges of multiple water hazards. Throughout the course, sparsely populated trees line forgiving fairways, presenting generous landing zones for those who want to be aggressive with their driver or get their mail air-delivered on the ninth fairway. Obstacles immediately come into play on the first five holes; a stream cuts across the first, third, fourth, and fifth fairways, and a pond guards the front of the green on the par 3 second hole.
A clubhouse restaurant with a full-service bar and plates filled with teriyaki chicken wraps, fried Alaskan pollock fillets, and other eats from a menu of grill food let golfers refuel after a round or before attempting to break a bucking, untamed golf cart.
The sun and the stars serve as constant companions at Hillcrest Event Center, where a 9-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and camping grounds entertain visitors day and night. A breezy par 30, the executive course caters to all experience levels, inviting beginners to take on its short holes while letting seasoned golfers hone their approach shots. After navigating the water hazards, guests can purposely head to the Olympic-sized swimming pool, which ripples at the center of a 3,000-square-foot sundeck where waiters serve poolside food and drinks. Or, dine at The BBQ Pit, home of the Illinois BBQ Fest.
As the sun sets, the crackling glow of fires peppers the campgrounds, illuminating the nylon sides of tents or canvas hulls of mobile RVs. Tent sites include access to the resort's hot showers and restrooms, while the RV facilities' hookups pump water and electricity into mobile homes so residents can bathe in private and use electric carving knives for whittling. When the sun rises, residents can begin their day with a hike on the resort's nature trails.
In 1928, a committee of Kalona professionals pooled their resources to transform an obsolete cornfield and pasture into a golf course, using a horse-drawn mower to sculpt a layout that originally sported sand greens and cost a quarter to play. More than 50 years later, the course was remodeled and expanded to Kalona Golf Club's current nine-hole layout, a 3,128-yard labyrinth where immaculate, bent-grass greens showcase the efficiency of modern landscaping, whereas rustic bridges and wandering milkmen recall the Club's humble beginnings. Named the nine-hole course of the year by the Iowa Golf Association in 1984 and 2010, the horticultural haven unfurls across pristine, rolling terrain that can create difficult lies, compounded by the presence of mature tree lines and two ponds that come into play on three holes. The course prohibits metal spikes, and players must provide their own set of clubs or titanium-plated sausage links.
Course at a Glance: * Nine-hole, par 36 course * Bent-grass greens, winter rye and bluegrass fairways * Length of 3,128 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 34.7 from the farthest tees * Four tee options * Link to scorecard