Leatherman Golf Learning Center's driving range showcases a mastery of both utility and aesthetics. A double-decker driving range is the back porch of a handsome, colonial-style farmhouse. The sides of the top deck are bordered by white fences that match the walls of the building itself; underneath, players take aim at the target greens from sheltered hitting bays on the first floor. The range anchors a practice facility that also includes putting and chipping greens and a sand trap. PGA Class A pro Chris Leatherman uses the facility for private and group instruction.
The golf center also fosters whimsical play with an 18-hole miniature golf course. The course weaves through colorful landscaping, streams, and waterfalls that keep guests cool on a hot day or when putting with a soldering iron.
From the very first tee shot over a lake to the pond protecting the left side of the 18th green, the course at River Ridge Golf Club pits players against the physical and psychological challenges brought by omnipresent water hazards, including the Neuse River that intersects the course on several holes.
Architect Chuck Smith’s 1997 design weaves course play through a 6,740-yard gauntlet furnished with a plush carpet of bermuda-grass fairways and rough that gives way to fast-moving G-6 bent-grass greens. The course's signature 5th hole rewards golfers who keep their tee shots on the fairway with a short-iron approach that must clear a large pond and any caddies sunbathing in the large greenside bunker.
As a semiprivate club, membership at River Ridge unlocks a slew of benefits not available to the general public. Though the practice area—composed of a driving range and putting and chipping greens—is open to everyone, only members may make use of the locker rooms, club storage, and handicap program provided at the clubhouse. Additionally, members are granted access to special events, tournaments, and PGA pro Tim Cockrell’s lessons, which help players calibrate putting strokes and find their swing after a long time away from the game to search for their favorite golf ball that got lost in the Neuse River.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-72 course * Total length of 6,740 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.2 from the back tees * Course slope of 138 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Host of the PGA’s Wyndham Championship from 1977 to 2007, Proehlific Club at Forest Oaks's private course incorporates natural elements such as looming trees and severely sloping hills with manmade sand traps and water obstacles, challenging beginning and experienced golfers alike. Opened in 1962, the terrain was renovated in 2002 after the renowned Love Golf Design group reached out to professional golfers to find out what makes an ideal course. The main improvement, helmed by Davis Love III, was the resprigging of the fairway with bermuda grass, a strain of turf that can handle extreme temperature changes, and a redesign of the new greens. The course was featured on the PGA for over 30 years, and was enjoyed by Davis Love III as well as Rocco Mediate and many other professionals. While the golf course is the main attraction, the club also houses a pro shop, a 25-yard professional-size swimming pool, tennis courts, and a restaurant.
When they took over Jimmy Mac’s Golf Range, PGA professional Brad “Smiley” Latimer and his wife Pam knew they had their work cut out for them. The couple dove right in: they resurfaced the miniature golf course, illuminated its brick-lined pathways with nearly 100 solar lights, acquired a FlightScope Launch Monitor for lessons, and stocked on the driving range with new Titleist and Callaway balls. Even after completing these renovations, they continue to revamp the facilities. The 18-hole mini-golf course now features two cascading waterfalls, babbling brooks that wend along turf fairways, and new putters that send colorful golf balls into holes or to the one-eyed pirate living under the course bridge to fulfill his dream of a new ocular orb.
A 325-yard driving range showcases 25,000 square feet of Bermuda grass tees and 20 artificial turf hitting stations featuring laser yardage readers. The range has covered and uncovered stations, as well as lights that let golfers swing even after the sun has started to snore. Lessons provide the instructional guidance of a professional while taking advantage of the center’s practice bunker and chipping and pitching greens, developing swings dependable enough to take down rabid ball washers.
Opened as a roller-skating center in 1977, Wheels Fun Park broadened its ambitions in 1992 when it bloomed into a full-fledged family fun center. After its metamorphosis, the park incorporated attractions that include an 18-hole mini-golf course, five batting cages, and a quarter-mile go-kart track. Nothing overshadows its roots though, and today's 25,000-square-foot roller rink commands a 14-speaker sound system and a dazzling light show that twinkles in skaters' sparkling eyes along with the glow of two disco balls.
A 6,500-square-foot play gym allows tots to act out the story of the Minotaur of Crete in a labyrinthine system of climbing tubes. An onsite skate park treats boarders to a slew of supervised rails and spines as well as a mini halfpipe. During holidays and when school is not in session, day camps keep kids well fed and well educated in subjects such as the geometry of mini golf.
Putt-Putt Fun Center delights families with an entertaining array of attractions and prize games. Attraction passes grant multiple guests or invisible acquaintances access to rousing rounds of putt-putt golf on one of two 18-hole courses or the chance to zip toward the finish line in electric go-karts. SpinZone circular bumper cars fuel sibling rivalries and allow families to find out which of their members has been a crash test dummy all along. Game credits count toward rounds hurling skee-balls and swinging in batting cages (8 game credits). Although not included in this package, the on-site snack shack nourishes visitors with succulent pizzas, ice cream, and multiple applications for sporks.