Serving Milwaukee for more than 10 years, Gastrau's Golf Center provides peerless golf education and a year-round destination for those wishing to add distance to their drives or finesse their chip shots. Winter-bitten golfers can grab two large buckets and fling hapless dimpled spheres into the unknown from the covered and heated comfort of Gastrau's outdoor practice facility. The driving area's 16 bays shelter you from the elements so you can practice your swing amid the lull of winter or hide from the vengeful and blister-inducing sun god in the spring. PGA professional Dan Hoffman leads 30-minute lessons, bringing 13 years of experience to his instruction of budding birdie-catchers. The 30-minute lessons will cover topics such as weight transfer, torso rotation, swing plane, and cabinet refinishing. Every lesson is tailored to the individual needs and eye color of each student.
Golfers of all ages and abilities can practice short-range to midrange skills among the many pine trees that populate the nine-hole executive Woodland Golf Course. At 2,089 yards, the course presents an ideal layout for beginners or veteran pairs competing in a three-legged scramble. While short-game finesse is placed at a premium, big hitters will find space to slake a yen for yardage on three holes that measure more than 300 yards.
Golf shots soar high over the grounds of Raymond Heights Family Golf Center, looking down upon a beginner-friendly complex that encompasses a nine-hole, par-3 course, a driving range, and a miniature golf course. With five holes measuring in at 100 yards or shorter, the lilliputian links help beginners find their swings and give aces a chance to flaunt their short-game prowess without having to aim chip shots at next-door neighbors' mailboxes.
Open as early as 8 a.m., the 30-stall driving range—equipped with both artificial and natural-grass hitting areas—enables late-night practice sessions with lights that activate after sundown. Glowing balls trace the night sky or roll across turf runways during moonlight play, which Raymond Heights hosts at both the par-3 course and its 18-hole mini golf course, made possible by shimmering flagsticks and caddies that locate hazards using echolocation. After a day on the links, vintage vinyl barstools offer a respite for spiky-soled shoes at the Center's full-service restaurant and bar.
Skaters circle around Slice of Ice in Red Arrow Park—part of the Milwaukee County Parks system—amid trees strung with lights and the arched façade of the 1000 North Water Street building. The refrigerated oval rink accommodates 100 skaters at a time, making it ideal for family outings and confusing games of super-hockey. And inside the rink’s warming house, visitors can hide from the chill with a cup of coffee.
SpongeBob's house is shaking, rattling, and rolling to a soundtrack of giggles. At Bounce Realm, kids bound about in large inflatables such as SpongeBob's abode, as well as a Cars moonwalk and a giant air-filled obstacle course. This inflatable world inflates imaginations and excites kids into bouts of exercise as they run, jump, and climb. In between leaps and bounds inside safe and clean bounce houses, kids sprint between arcade games and air-hockey battles. Parents can tote sock-clad little ones into this plush world for open-bounce sessions or private parties. Those shindigs can get extra festive with visits from favorite characters, such Dora the Explorer and Spider-Man. SpongeBob himself might even stop by to see what all the excitement is about.
Framed by dense wooded tracts and thickets of knee-high grass, Deer Haven’s 18-hole executive course spans 3,473 yards on a par 60 track comprised entirely of par-3s and par-4s. Though the course favors precision off of the tee over power, the 15th hole—the longest on the course at 363 yards—invites players to unsheathe their driver or conveniently holstered war hammer to drive the ball deep into the fairway.
At the driving range, golfers can prepare swings for wrapping high fades or power draws around the course’s multiple curving fairways and occasional water hazards. Inside the rustic, wood-paneled exterior of Deer Haven’s clubhouse, golfers can raise a glass from the full-service bar to toast the retirement of their 3-wood’s loyal head cover, which will be replaced by the sweaty embrace of a fresh-off-the-foot tube sock.
Course at a Glance: