The ping of sharp line drives and towering drives echo over the grounds at Legends Golf, where athletes of all ages compete in rounds of miniature golf and hone swings in the batting cages or at the driving range.
Golf balls trickle down topsy-turvy tracks at the 18-hole miniature-golf course, which weaves through rock faces and tiny geysers that erupt with glee any time a player misses an easy putt. Eight target greens populate the 300-yard driving range, where new Wilson Staff Range Balls touch down after taking flight from 45 synthetic mats or 35 grass tees.
Under the vaulted roof of the batting cages, nine pitching machines send baseballs and softballs speeding toward hitters as they get the most out of every at bat and discreetly argue balls and strikes with imaginary umpires. To pass the time in between mini-golf rounds or during kids' golf lessons, guests can use Legends' wireless Internet connection free of charge.
Nestled within 164 acres of mature pine trees and hardwood forest, the secluded golf course at Quail Ridge Country Club surrounds visitors in natural splendor. Course architect Mark Mungeam of Cornish, Silva, and Mungeam, Inc., designed the fairways to harmonize with the naturally rolling terrain, where occasional stone walls line the edges of what were once farmers’ fields. After teeing off, players choose carefully among their bag’s fairway woods, long irons, and golf-ball-sized blowguns as they confront a number-one handicap first hole whose fairway unfurls over nearly 600 uphill yards. The course doesn’t let up, keeping golfers on their toes right up to the end of each round.
Off the course, players gain the skills needed to meet such challenges by frequenting the chipping area or practice putting green. During lessons held in these practice spots, head teaching pro John Carco harnesses more than 15 years of experience to help students eliminate slice and perfect their swing. The country club’s family center hosts a snack bar where golfers can fuel up for a round, stash their belongings in lockers, or build ball-driving muscles at the fitness center.
Just a hop and a skip from the family center, the club’s 3,200-square-foot outdoor pool entices visitors of all stripes with its widely varied facilities. Athletes zip down 75-foot swim lanes, parents and kids splash in a baby pool with zero-grade entry, and sunbathers bask on more than 4,500 square feet of deck. On four adjacent tennis courts, serves rebound off of Har-Tru clay surfaces, and windscreens keep out distracting breezes and lost pool-goers murmuring "Marco?"
Course at a Glance:
White pines, hemlocks, and white birches flourish on the 140 acres of New England countryside that golf-course architect Ted Manning—a Robert Trent Jones protégé—and US Women’s Open champ Mary Mills sculpted into a championship golf course for Townsend Ridge Country Club. Golfers can leave breadcrumb trails to find their way back as they swing through the forested links, hitting over the stream that splits the 3rd hole’s ryegrass fairway before heading uphill on a 474-yard, par-5 12th hole. The course’s signature par-4 14th hole demands a cautious approach, as balls that land past the pin find themselves rolling down a steep slope. At last, with the clubhouse in sight, golfers finish up at the 18th by launching their balls over a pond to land on a double green shared with hole 9.
Although it’s a daily-fee course, Townsend Ridge creates the feel of a private club with a driving range hemmed by 35 hitting stations and a pro shop that hosts two swing simulators. These let players keep in shape during wintery months by tackling digital recreations of the links at Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. For more structured practice sessions, golfers can join lessons and get professional answers as to what’s the best grip for hitting out of the sand and what kind of bird lays golf balls.
Course at a Glance:
Unlike a tuxedo fitting, getting fitted for a custom driver provides valuable feedback that pertains to more than how smooth your hips are. TaylorMade's physics-friendly experts place reflective markers on key points of your body, then capture your swing across nine high-speed cameras to reproduce a 3-D animation to take home on CD. In around an hour, you'll know more about your golf club than most married couples know about each other's font preferences; you'll receive statistics for over 25 aspects of your swing including launch angle, wrist-cocking angle, and the computed distance of carry and roll.
Twin Springs Golf Course presents memorable shot-making challenges in a nine-hole, par 34 course that meanders through tree-speckled meadowland and small, rolling hills. The course's two eponymous springs come into play on all but three holes, forcing players to fight off swirling winds, large sand traps, and the impulse to chop down intervening trees with underperforming irons. At Twin Springs' signature hole, the 318-yard, par 4 sixth, golfers can opt to reach the green in two with conservative, 150-yard shots around a dog-leg left fairway or go for the green in one by cutting the corner with a Herculean drive that must soar over a gallery of towering pine trees. Golfers can stretch their swing at Twin Springs' driving range, where PGA teaching professional Bob Keene presides over private and group lessons. The aromas of sandwiches and appetizers emanate from the Twin Springs Bar & Cafe, which lets guests enjoy a post-round nosh while watching live sports or catching a cool breeze on the spacious outdoor deck. Visitors can also relax in the club’s new lounge or host small events such as a bridal shower, birthday party, or team meeting in the banquet space.
With 35 years of golf experience and as a shoo-in for Golf Digest's Best Teachers in the State list five years running, Rick DePamphilis brings a bounty of stroke-shaving wisdom to each lesson he conducts as a part of his player-development program, NexLevel Golf. Whether students are greenhorns or green-jacket holders, the PGA master professional tailors his instruction to the player's individual needs, ranging from small tweaks in course-management strategy to deciding which end of the club to grip.
Private lessons help a player improve his or her number of fairways hit in regulation, short-game play around the greens, and shot selection. V1 Pro cameras analyze the student's swing for later reflection on mechanics and tendencies, such as swing-plane angle or ending the follow-through with a pirouette. Rick also takes stock of the player's arsenal of equipment and makes recommendations based on their skills and style of play. Lessons take place at Paradise Driving Range in Middleton.