Spooky, undead monsters and lively tunes combine to create a jovial atmosphere inside Monster Mini Golf's 10,000-square-foot, glow-in-the-dark course. As players navigate the 18 mind-boggling holes, a DJ spins tunes to awaken tone-deaf monsters, occasionally doling out prizes to golfers for reasons ranging from "craziest hair" to "smoothest celebration after a hole in eight." And after a wacky session of putting, guests can flex their thumb muscles inside a decked-out video arcade lined with both classic and modern games.
Looking to put a new spin on a classic family activity, the minds behind Glowgolf decided to give the game a phosphorescent update. Incandescent courses place friends and family amid a tropical-fantasy golf world of neon orange, green, and violet surroundings. Players putt luminous orbs through vibrant treasure chests and glimmering windmills while negotiating tricky obstacles near walls portraying black-light-lit aquatic scenes. With more than 20 locations spread over 10 states, Glowgolf's fluorescent labyrinths challenge human players and traveling gnomes.
A deep breath of fresh air awaits at Putts & More, where a green and tranquil setting fosters family-friendly recreation. Leafy bushes flourish around the runways of an 18-hole course where players focus on sinking tricky putts or casting a distracting shadow in their opponent's line of sight. Alongside the course, guests can peruse the farm stand?a joint effort between Putts & More and other community groups?to get locally grown flowers, fruits, and vegetables, or they can always nab hot dogs and candy at the snack bar.
At Mulligan's Island Golf & Entertainment, 60 covered hitting stalls look out onto 11 acres of target areas, a sprawling configuration that helped earn the facility a spot on Golf Range Magazine's 2011 list of top 100 ranges. Golfers can use the driving range's 20 heated stalls to practice during off-season months without worrying about cooler temperatures stiffening their swings, or they can invest in lessons that use digital teaching methods such as computerized swing analysis to lower handicaps. A USGA-rated course tests participants with nine holes of regulation-size golf, while an 18-hole pitch-and-putt short course and two mini-golf courses help golfers calibrate aspects of their short game. The practice mecca also tests swings at 10 batting cages that feed baseballs and softballs at adjustable speeds to suit both little leaguers and professionals fishing for compliments.
Donald Ross, America's first great golf course architect and designer of legendary loops such as Pinehurst No. 2 and Seminole Golf Club, had a way with the land. He seemed to be able to bend the earth to his will. Where lesser architects might have just laid down a bunch of green yoga mats, Ross punctuated the landscape with subtle, artful flourishes – such as crowned “turtle back” greens and deep bunkers – that were perfectly integrated into the landscape. These nuanced touches can be witnessed at Orchards Golf Club, a 1922 Ross creation. The famed designer splayed the 18-hole course across 160 acres of terrain marked by dense forest groves and an enduring mystique, attributes that earned the course hosting duties for the 2002 NCAA Women's Championship and 2004 USGA Women's Open Championship.
Course at a Glance:
At Agawam Municipal Golf Course, an American flag billows high above the pristine white clubhouse's back porch, where players can quaff postround drinks as they watch their peers hole out and head in for the day. The 18-hole course drapes over rolling hills marked by dense forest along each fairway, forcing players to keep their drives straight or risk having their golf balls snatched by hungry Sasquatches.
Course at a Glance: