As part of the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, located at the historic Chelsea Piers, the Golf Club perches over the same port that once welcomed ships into New York City. Now, golfers tee up in the driving range's 52 heated and weather-protected stalls, which overlook the glinting waters of the Hudson River. Automatic tee-up systems position balls for launch across the 200-yard, net-enclosed fairway. A putting green allows patrons to improve their short game, and two Full Swing simulators encourage them to take hacks in virtual environs, transporting them to famous courses across the country or fifth-grade birthday parties where they missed the piñata.
Children and adults alike can enlist in Golf Club at Chelsea Piers’ classes, which stratify students by experience level. The 12-member coaching staff includes PGA and LPGA professionals, and sessions take place in a 2,000-square-foot teaching facility.
Golf swings, like most stories, have good points, bad points, and are all too often riddled with holes. At Advanced Lesson Academy, renowned instructor Charles Lightfoot reads between the lines to improve skills, and ultimately, fill in those holes.
Since 1995, students young and old have come to the facility in search of a more consistent, repeatable swing. Initial consultations identify areas in swings that lack sound fundamentals. Following that, students can move forward by joining junior and adult programs, including the "Power Hitter" program that aims to improve driving distance, control, accuracy, and slugging percentage.
Sculpted into the sprawling meadows of the Frederick Law Olmsted Parks, the nine-hole South Park Olmsted Golf Course rises and falls across 2,876 yards of immaculate greenery. The fairway chain wreathes South Park lake, which comes into play on four holes, including a forced-carry tee shot on hole four, which could prove perilous for any golf ball without an unrequited love for marine biology. Delaware Park Olmsted Golf Course's 5,359 yards features open fairways and very few hazards throughout the relatively short layout. Medium-size greens await players at the end of each short-grass corridor, challenging golfers with small target areas and tricky breaking putts.
Before each round, players can warm up their short game at the practice green, which facilitates practice for chipping, putting, and Maypole dancing around flagsticks. An onsite pro shop keeps clubbers equipped with the latest in fairway fashions and gear, and a golf house fuels powerful drives with course-side eats and refreshments.
With iridescent miniature golf courses in malls throughout North America, Glowgolf adds elements of phosphorescent fun to shopping sessions. Courses contain sights such as light-defying blush corals, incandescent animals, and lush foliage reminiscent of the glowing trees on Neptune. Each pass is good for three 18-hole games, giving golfers ample opportunity to get familiar with each hole's obstacles. Equipment is available on the spot, so players won't have to carry around personal clubs or seek out a bioluminescent caddie.
The regulars at Doral Golf Club refer to their 9-hole, par 35 course as the Little Blue Monster, a reference to the famous Miami course that has hosted PGA Tour events since the early 1960s. The lofty comparison has plenty of credibility—both courses were designed by Robert von Hagge, and the original Blue Monster's pint-sized spinoff offers a taste of the same bunkering and waterways that set apart its namesake. The acclaimed course features three fearsome par-threes, each defined by forced-carry water hazards that will put golfers' courage to the test more than a golf cart stuck in reverse. Waterways look to consume errant shots on all but two holes, making precise play a critical component to success.
Though the Doral Golf Club is formidable, the facility offers the resources golfers need to prepare for its manifold challenges. Led by a golfing guru whose advice has been sought by the likes of Greg Norman and Nick Faldo, the Mitchell Spearman Golf Academy grooms games with individual and group instruction, computer swing analysis, on-course lessons, and junior golf programs. Golfers can also work on their form independently at a practice facility that includes a driving range, practice bunker, and putting green.
Course at a Glance:
Not every golf course can boast a visit from two of the game’s titans, but Saratoga Spa Golf is one of them. In the late 1950s – some 20 years after the founding of the course – Arnold Palmer and Gary Player strolled among the majestic pine trees during a round to commemorate a major design overhaul. Fast forward to today, and players can walk in their footsteps and scuba dive for their waterlogged golf balls as they take on the 18-hole championship course. Stretching for a mighty 7,145 yards through Saratoga Spa State Park, the course was listed among the country’s ten best courses under $55, according to the July 2012 issue of Golf Digest. Meanwhile, a nine-hole, par 3 course beckons to clubbers looking to hone their short game, and a driving range with grass hitting stalls fosters improvement and grass-eating competitions. Course at a Glance: