Cleaved through 600 woodland acres of stately white oaks, Amana Colonies Golf Course twists and turns over 6,824 yards of dramatically sloped terrain. Throughout the round, glassy ponds, burbling streams, and trees wielding catcher's mitts await ill-struck orbs, as golfers contend with elevation changes that complicate the distance of each shot and create many down- and uphill lies. A preround stint at the course's driving range would be advisable before taking to the relatively difficult course, as the hardest-rated hole awaits golfers at the second tee. As stick-flickers cruise to each well-struck drive, they can glimpse panoramic views of the hilly Iowa countryside over the tops of cresting fairways or through sudden breaks in the dense tree lines. The round may also bring stick-flickers in contact with area wildlife, such as deer, various waterfowl, and golf cart-squirrel cross-breeds.
After their pin-hunting expedition, aces can retreat to Amana Colonies' hilltop bar and restaurant, where crisp local beers slake parched mouths and hearty grill fare refuels weary muscles. Once duly refreshed, guests can meander to the pro shop for a snazzy golf shirt or new clubs to replace ones eaten by the neighborhood sword swallower.
Course at a Glance:
In 1928, a committee of Kalona professionals pooled their resources to transform an obsolete cornfield and pasture into a golf course, using a horse-drawn mower to sculpt a layout that originally sported sand greens and cost a quarter to play. More than 50 years later, the course was remodeled and expanded to Kalona Golf Club's current nine-hole layout, a 3,128-yard labyrinth where immaculate, bent-grass greens showcase the efficiency of modern landscaping, whereas rustic bridges and wandering milkmen recall the Club's humble beginnings. Named the nine-hole course of the year by the Iowa Golf Association in 1984 and 2010, the horticultural haven unfurls across pristine, rolling terrain that can create difficult lies, compounded by the presence of mature tree lines and two ponds that come into play on three holes. The course prohibits metal spikes, and players must provide their own set of clubs or titanium-plated sausage links.
Course at a Glance:
Washington Golf and Country Club's nine-hole course caters to golfers across the spectrum with a layout that blends open, player-friendly holes interspersed with the challenges of multiple water hazards. Throughout the course, sparsely populated trees line forgiving fairways, presenting generous landing zones for those who want to be aggressive with their driver or get their mail air-delivered on the ninth fairway. Obstacles immediately come into play on the first five holes; a stream cuts across the first, third, fourth, and fifth fairways, and a pond guards the front of the green on the par 3 second hole.
A clubhouse restaurant with a full-service bar and plates filled with teriyaki chicken wraps, fried Alaskan pollock fillets, and other eats from a menu of grill food let golfers refuel after a round or before attempting to break a bucking, untamed golf cart.
Wildcat Golf Course began as a nine-hole track in 1997, but after winning the "9-Hole Course of the Year" award from the Iowa Golf Association, it made sense to utilize the surrounding expanses of natural terrain and expand to an 18-hole course. Using the rolling pastureland of Saddleback Ridge as his artistic palette, course architect Mark Kerr designed the layout around Wildcat Creek and five additional ponds, resulting in a course that incorporates water hazards into half of its holes. The course is also characterized by at least five slight doglegs, strategically placed bunkers around fast-rolling greens, and mature pine trees scattered throughout. Wildcat golf course also provides a driving range, two indoor golf simulators, and on-site bar and grill inside the revamped clubhouse.