Originally sculpted into the Knoxville hillside in 1922 using teams of horses, slip scrapers, and dynamite, Pine Knolls Country Club's semiprivate course gently rises and falls across nine holes of rolling parkland terrain. The course still retains the same basic design of the prototype, featuring relatively open fairways and two ponds that come into play on four holes, placing a premium on confident strokes or 9-irons that double as snorkels. The country club also invites midsummer revelry with a swimming pool, a stately clubhouse with a full-service bar, and speedo-clad golf carts.
Dense tree lines and encroaching out-of-bounds areas form tunnels of narrow fairways at Oskaloosa Golf Course, which has stood as a verdant playground for golfers since 1920. Players must keep tight control over drivers and putters en route to conquering the course’s par of 72, highlighted by accessible par 5s and shorter par 3s with greens that are reachable from tee shots or by flattery whispered into fringe. At just 446 yards, the par 5 fifth hole forges a straight path between two straddling fairways, opening the door for eagles and birdies. This linear hole design is somewhat of a rarity, however, as half of the holes feature a dogleg turn of some degree. After putting and strutting through the labyrinth of undulating greens, golfers can retire and refuel at Dr. Salami's restaurant and patio.
Course at a Glance:
Des Moines Driving Range stretches out 5,000 square feet of grass tee area for golfers to tinker with drivers, irons, and wedges. Marked flags protrude from the elevated greens and shake with each passing wind gust to offer a realistic target for aiming golfers. In addition to an expansive driving range, the training spot accommodates short games with three chipping greens and three putting greens. The range opens its doors all week from 8:30 a.m. until dark.
Sleepy Hollow Sports Park sprawls over 80 acres of fields and slopes buzzing with a variety of year-round activities, from go-karts and bumper boats to downhill sledding. The team puts together two 5K races throughout the year: the Mud Run and Beer Run. During these meticulously constructed events, Sleepy Hollow will pit runners against manmade obstacles and natural obstacles.
Being an Iowa-based company, Sleepy Hollow supports more than 300 groups annually, providing funding for causes ranging from local schools to cancer research. The park also serves as the permanent residence of the annual Des Moines Renaissance Faire and Haunted Scream Park.
Countryside Golf Course's 18-hole layout rolls across 6,366 yards of the Iowa countryside, but it's the first 574 yards that immediately catch golfers' attention. The course challenges players from the moment they stake their tree slivers into the soil of the first tee box, where they look out onto the course's hardest-rated hole: a 574-yard par 5 that doglegs to the right towards a green guarded by sand and water on either side. The difficult opener sets the tone for the rest of the course, where water comes into play on seven holes—six on the front nine—and all but one hole features at least one greenside bunker.
After their round, players who have not spoiled their appetite by grazing on the course's lush bent grass can head toward the clubhouse for a post-round meal or drink. At the wooden u-shaped bar, guests can crack open a beer and refuel with hot dogs and sandwiches.
Course at a Glance:
West Grand Golf houses a golf-practice center, an accolade-garnering mini-golf course, and a traditional driving range where Groupon-holders can use their buckets of balls during multiple visits. The well-designed practice center helps golfers tweak their short games on large putting and chipping greens surrounded by sand bunkers that devour misfired dimpled balls and rogue cacti. Thanks to the laser-measured target greens, clubheads can test how far and accurately they can tee off on a variety of even and uneven tees nestled in fairway- and sand-based conditions. West Grand Golf also illuminates the expansive range with stadium lighting, perfect for those who enjoy practicing before bedtime or members of the PGA tour's vampire league.