Controlling your hands when putting a golf ball can be a challenge in and of itself. Try to sink a testy putt after scaling a 24-foot wall, and that challenge takes it to another level. Boulder Creek Amusement Park offers the opportunity to try each. The outdoor fun center boasts an 18-hole mini golf course lined by waterfalls, streams, and greenery. On the same grounds, guests grasp holds as they ascend the climbing wall. For additional tests of hand-eye coordination, an 8-stall batting cage challenges batters with both baseball and slow- and fast-pitch softball deliveries.
The winner of 14 professional titles, Skip Tredway is a former PGA tour member with 38 years of experience as a golf instructor. Tredway's Scoring School program causes scores to plummet by revealing tips to improve all phases of a golfer's short game, from pitching and chipping to digging friendlier hole sizes. In a 60-minute session, Skip can sharpen students' putting skills by reviewing gripping and balance techniques or improve their chipping by identifying hiccups in their swings. Diminish scores further by learning to escape bunkers using only a trained sparrow.
Joking cries of “fore!” punctuate the convivial chatter, clinking glasses, and thwacking clubs at Beyond Golf Sports & Spirits, a full-service bar dotted with indoor golf simulators. From all sides of the bar, the simulators emit the glow of famous ocean, desert, and mountainside courses from around the world, including Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. The links come to life thanks to high-resolution photographs and GPS technology, and the simulators track drives accurately to within 1 yard. Though staffers stockpile a variety of clubs and putters, golfers may bring their own clubs or a collection of mannequin legs from home. Since players needn’t worry about chasing down balls, they can focus on improving their game with the help of the simulator’s swing breakdown, which targets the strengths and weaknesses of each player’s stance, arc, and swing.
On a sweltering day with the air abuzz with mosquitos, Eddie Reznicek stood on a miniature golf course marveling at how many people were outside putting. Determined to create a more comfortable mini golfing space, he opened The Family Fun Center XL in Omaha in 1982, where guests could play indoor golf and nearly 100 video games in the arcade. These days, a new facility shelters a black-lit 18-hole course themed around video-game heroes, heroines, and the windmills who loved them, and the arcade enthralls gamers with classics such as air hockey, skeeball, and four-player Mario Kart on 27-inch flat-screen TVs.
At the Lazer Maze, participants channel their inner spy while swiftly snaking through alarm-system lasers. This spy theme also is evident in the three-level laser-tag arena, where players dodge enemy fire amid flashing lights to soundtracks from James Bond movies. Elsewhere, a 2,500-square-foot arena littered with bunkers, crumbling brick walls, and sniper towers accommodates 7-minute paintball games or bazooka-ball battles.
A gauntlet of hazards and omnipresent water reveals a pernicious design sure to challenge any golfer who traverses the picturesque fairways of the Knolls Golf Course. Players enjoy favorable lies when they stay within the verdant framework of rolling bluegrass fairways, yet those who venture astray may find themselves deep inside one of the 46 bunkers or secret caddy caves carved into the course. Four lakes and a river further complicate matters on 11 of 18 holes, culminating in the challenge on holes seven and nine, where a pond intersects the two doglegged fairways at their bends. The back nine presents a more arboreal affair, as players must steer their shots around tree-lined fairways and hope a fellow golfer isn't practicing golf-cart aerials on one of the frequent hills.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole course * Total length of 6,149 yards from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole
Indian Creek Golf Course's layout snakes through the Hood River Valley between a network of sprawling orchards and wineries with panoramic views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams creating a dramatic backdrop. Water comes into play on 11 holes, including three creeks that bisect fairways to disrupt play and tempt players to take fairway naps to the melodic babbling of their playing partners. On the par 5 fourth hole, precision is paramount, as the dogleg right is entirely fortified by water to the right and the small, narrow green make short putts strenuous with hard-to-read-breaks.
Indian Creek Golf Course won an Environmental Excellence award from Audubon International for its efforts in areas of wildlife and habitat management, chemical-use reduction, and water-quality management. The course and its surrounding land act as a sanctuary to a variety of wildlife, including several species of caddies now endangered because rampant cart use. Course at a Glance: