The ping of golf clubs and baseball bats rings out across the grounds and rises above the thrumming engines and squealing tires of go-karts at Golfland USA. Part training ground, part recreational respite, Golfland invites golfers to hone their game at a driving range or enjoy more laid-back par-hunting at a mini-golf course. Guests can also perfect a different kind of swing at the batting cages, which sling baseballs at three different speeds and offer two slow-pitch softball machines. The fun center also encompasses a quarter-mile go-kart track where drivers speed down straightaways and drift around tight turns.
Designed by golf-course architect Robert M. Lohmann, Eagle Valley Golf Course stretches 6,692 yards through rolling terrain and rising crags of verdant knolls, creating a diverse landscape of testy tee-to-green holes. Duffer duos can challenge one another or pair up to face the course's ball-swallowing bunkers, mature trees, and hungry squirrels. An included golf cart accommodates golfers as they traverse through lush green lands on the hunt for a treasure chest of errant golf balls in the bottom of the course's four bodies of water. Golfers can begin their day perfecting their pendulum swings on the property's driving range. With two buckets of balls, every club in the bag of trick sticks can see use, from the pitching wedge to the mannequin leg.
Though lush fairways and gently undulating greens have replaced the acres of cornfields at Country Oaks Golf Club, quaint reminders of the course’s bucolic past are everywhere. A tall white silo stands sentry at the first tee box, greeting golfers as they head out for their round. A white picket fence proves a common sight as it cordons off the 140-acre plot from the surrounding farmland and prevents trespassing by ghostly baseball players.
First tee shots on the 514-yard, par 5 opening hole will need to clear a small pond—an early introduction to the water scattered throughout the rest of the course. In fact, 4 out of the first 5 tee shots will need to clear water, and 11 feature water prominently at some point. On the watery, 300-yard 18th hole, the long shadow of the old silo welcomes golfers back in as they sink their final putts and head into the Dairy Barn, now home to the course pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
Golf Shores Fun Center's mini metropolis of family fun welcomes guests of all ages with two mini-golf courses, an arcade, and ample space for groups of frolicking tykes. Sapphire waters trickle down stone walls and spring from rocky outcrops alongside the outdoor mini-golf course, where subtly sloping greens can complicate even the shortest of gimmies. At Golf Shores' indoor course, players traverse a darkened wonderland illuminated by black lights and neon décor, where both jungle- and underwater-themed decorations convince phosphorescent golf balls that they are amphibious.
Alongside the putters' park, joystick jockeys can warp into the Center's video arcade and take aim at pixilated game in Extreme Hunting or contemplate the nutritional value of blue ghosts while playing Ms. Pac-Man. The Center also encompasses a cozy coffee shop with free wireless Internet.
Home to an event on the 1990 and 1991 Ben Hogan Tours, Pine Valley Golf Resort's challenging par 72 or 73 course touts 6,644 yards of Bermuda fairways and bentgrass greens. After warming up with two buckets of balls at the driving range—which is conveniently defenseless, lacking both sand traps and golf-ball-eating caddies—players can head out to the natural rolling terrain and demand a fun and challenging round from the scenic course, which is sprinkled with tranquil lakes, oxygen, and a covered bridge. As hauling a golf bag around all day can be tiring, Pine Valley will provide golfers with a motorized cart for stylishly puttering from hole to hole.
Tangling through wooded countryside, Quail Crossing sprawls across 320 acres of minimal bunkers, fairways, and prairie grasses. Course architect Tom Doak designed the par-71 course to stretch 6,758 yards at the tips with neatly maintained tees, greenways, and roughs. The land's former life as a mining quarry makes for elevated mood swings, where strategic shot placements matter most. Though a wooded backdrop of sycamore, oak, and maple trees won't syrup your pancakes, it will create a challenging framework to guide the drive at daybreak and beyond.