At Paradise Fun Center, the gurgling waterfalls in two 18-hole mini-golf courses and the rustling of trees in the breeze provide the soundtrack for pleasant, family-friendly outings. Each course is riddled with zigzags, sharp turns, and challenges that don't rely on advanced levitation abilities. Batting cages accommodate fast- and slow-pitch practice, and go-kart racing quenches needs for speed, and a variety of arcade games are available. In between the fun and games, the center keeps energy levels elevated with candy, pizza, nachos, and ice cream at its snack bar, and a picnic area and party room are available for group outings.
Helmed by former collegiate golfers Gatlyn and Marla McDonald, Birdee’s Golf Center fosters club-flailing fortitude with astute instruction and immaculate practice facilities. During each 45-minute lesson, pupils pulverize orbs under the watchful eye of Gatlyn or Marla, who utilize video analysis to comprehensively dissect technique, pinpoint bad habits, and slowly morph unsightly swings into pendulums with the trustworthy tempo and course-readiness of an argyle-clad grandfather clock. The patient pedagogues can also cure chronic cases of the yips at their 5,000-square-foot emerald putting tapestry. Students also learn how to chip and pitch orbs close to each green’s flag-marked navel at the short-game range, which features a practice sand bunker. Each large bucket of driving-range balls brims with roughly 110 dimpled spheroids that willfully subject themselves to swing experiments atop the immaculate operating table of synthetic hitting mats.
My Skins Game hosts an annual golf tour designed to bring the stakes and thrills of competitive golf to everyday players. 20 weeks of events in each participating city—Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston—culminate in city championships as well as a tour championship, which brings together the best golfers from each locale. The tour is designed with convenience in mind: tournaments are local, each event lasts only one day, and points and prizes are handed out to winning participants.
From any one of the 20 hitting bays at Bracken Golf, golfers survey a 300-yard expanse littered with targets and yardage markers just waiting to be plunked by a long drive or an accurate iron shot. Drivers launch shots across the range from platforms covered with the same Natural Tif 419 Bermuda grass that is often found on real golf courses and PGA-sponsored parade floats. The BYOB course can host both serious practice sessions and more casual rounds of drive time.
Olympia Hills Golf Course takes duffers through 6,923 yards of exceedingly well-maintained fairways sculpted into picturesque, naturally undulating terrain. Begin an afternoon of friendly competition or rapidly escalating one-upmanship with a stint at the complex's full-length driving range (range balls only included with weekday option), where sculpted target greens soak up a steady rain of well-struck orbs. Masterful command of each club will be needed to bisect the Bermuda-grass fairways of Olympia Hills Course, which hosts a relatively challenging gauntlet of manmade mounds, scrupulously placed bunkers, and towering oak trees. Although the course is demanding, its inclusion of four tee layouts makes the round traversable for players of all abilities. Naturalists will enjoy the course's ubiquitous outgrowths of South Texas vegetation and wildlife, with seven holes featuring breathtaking elevation changes of 50 feet or more to challenge golfers' ability to properly select clubs based on both distance and altitude, adjust their stance for awkward slopes, and coax cowardly carts down steep precipices.
Canyon Lake Golf Club's 18-hole layout flows across 6,582 yards of parkland terrain wafted by cool breezes that drift from Canyon Lake, which rests just northeast of the course. Towering oak trees loom over the course's open fairways, impeding the passage of errant golf balls while trumpeting their unrivaled, bird's-eye views of the surrounding topography. Bookended by two 500-yard par 5s, the par 72 invites golfers to brandish their drivers or modified T-shirt cannons and begin and end the round with massive tee shots. An outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts foster alternative forms of recreation, whereas multifaceted dining facilities host all varieties of social gatherings at the club.
Course at a Glance: