The clubhouse at Beacon Ridge Golf & Country Club is an ivory monument of colonial-era gentility with four columns and a neoclassical façade inspired by George Washington’s plantation home at Mount Vernon. Though impressive in its own right, the stately manor is hardly out of place when compared to the club’s golf course. Visitors to the grounds are greeted by a 6,494-yard circuit of well-kept bermuda fairways and penncross-bentgrass greens that winds through towering Carolina pines and bunkers of sand so pristinely white that they appear to be crushed marble or genetically evolved snowflakes that adapted to withstand the summer swelter.
The course reflects the vision of architect Gene Hamm, who showcases the natural charms of the North Carolina Sandhill region with rolling fairways, contoured greens, and water that comes into play on five holes. Tricky shot-making opportunities abound throughout the layout, especially at the 542-yard, par-5 fourth—the course’s most difficult hole—where golfers must clear a pond with their drive before navigating a fairway that doglegs sharply to the left as it approaches the green. To prepare for their round, golfers can stock up on divot tools or tees to use as toothpicks at the pro shop or warm up their swing and putting stroke at the synthetic-turf driving range and practice green.
Jeremy Qualls has taken a somewhat atypical path toward teaching the game of golf. Unlike many teaching pros, his career didn’t start in earnest until he was in his mid-20s, after serving for eight years as a marine in Iraq. Since military life didn’t leave much time for practice, nearly all of Qualls's improvement as a player came post-deployment. With hard work, he was able to whittle his scores down from the 100s to the 70s, earning certification from the Titleist Performance Institute and becoming a Stack & Tilt network instructor along the way—all while studying Golf Management at Campbell University.
Qualls's relatively late start serves him well as the director of instruction at The Golf Warriors. He knows from firsthand experience all about the difficulty of picking up the game and the most effective methods for serious improvement at any age. He takes a calm, understanding approach and identifies with golfers’ frustrations, particularly when balls won’t fly straight or learn how to swim. With each student, Qualls conducts an initial evaluation so as to understand the state of his or her game, and then designs a custom plan for improvement, paying attention to the full swing, the short game, the mental game, and physical fitness.
At the main attraction of Putt-Putt Fun Center's assortment of family-friendly activities, golfers of all ages hone their swings on an 18-hole miniature golf course, where flowers and trees surround the verdant fairways and Putt-Putt's signature metal rails. In the Game Zone arcade, lights flash as the machines dole out tickets for players to exchange for prizes. Birthday party packages nourish revelry with fizzing sodas and Domino’s pizza, inspiring kids to finally learn science by peering at mini golf balls through the microscope instead of constantly hiding them in the course's holes.
Lunar Mini Golf optimizes phosphorescent family fun with a 100 percent black-light-illuminated indoor course. In a land of infinite night, neon balls in search of empty nesting holes roam 18 runways bound by glowing green barriers. The indoor course permits all-weather play, eliminating wind-shear, sand-trap, or migratory-bird hazards from affecting scores. Project putt-putt prowess on challenging holes complete with bent-grass greens and loop de loops. Black walls surround the play area, and illuminated jungle animals, ocean beings, and dinosaurs look on from their wall-mounted thrones waiting for a victorious player daring enough to shout “Jumanji!”
After 13 years as a golf instructor, Gary Sinquefield has boiled his teaching style down to a simple method that involves focusing on each player's swinging motions and eliminating extraneous movements. By simplifying the often convoluted and conflicting messages of swing improvement, Gary makes it possible for players of all skill levels to develop a consistent swing that stands up even during high winds or airport-security pat-downs. During private lessons, students take shots inside a golf simulator while Gary scrutinizes swing tendencies from every angle and shot type. A video camera records the process frame by frame for later analysis so that golfers can see swing tendencies such as poor alignment or signs of repeated sweaty-palm syndrome. At the end of the lesson, players leave with an action plan to develop their game.
In Waynesville, the Frog Level historical district preserves the town’s old commercial center, where furniture stores, hardware stores, and groceries thrived well into the 1940s. Several local art galleries feature work inspired by the Appalachian Valley, including the metal sculptures at Grace Cathey’s Sculpture Garden and Gallery and the woodworks and quilts at the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
Benchwarmers Sports Complex helps athletes stay off the bench with a wide range of training facilities. Four pitching tunnels transform string bean arms into powerful cannons, while two automated batting cages and three live arm cages allow hurled baseballs to hone swings, instead of inflated puffer fish, which will just hone your fear of seafood restaurants. Elsewhere, its basketball court boasts adjustable rims and a gigantic electronic scoreboard, and its indoor turf fields feature granular rubber infill to support players as they work up a sweat during games of baseball, football, soccer, and lacrosse.
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