Apple Hill Golf Club entices golfers of all abilities with a 27-hole tapestry weaved into rolling, New Hampshire woodlands. The club’s 18-hole course meanders across 6,184 yards of wide, bermuda grass fairways and bentgrass greens flanked by ponds that come into play on more than half of the holes. Those looking to hone their short game can tee it up on the nine-hole, par 3 course, an 800-yard layout that duffers can complete in an efficient 45 minutes, enabling them to squeeze in a session before dark or in time to drop off their 9-iron at soccer practice.
During the summer, PGA professional Steve Lundquist utilizes the multifaceted grounds to host a junior golf academy, which grants pupils free play on the par 3 course throughout the season. Along with a wide selection of clubs, balls, clothes, and shoes available for purchase, the club’s pro shop curbs appetites with fresh sandwiches, drinks, and hot dogs that can be braided together to form fully functional putters.
Championship Course at a Glance:
Originally sculpted into the New Hampshire countryside in 1889, Exeter Country Club's nine-hole course stretches across 2,801 yards for a par 35 layout. Wreathed by waterways flowing south from the Great Bay, the course cools off clubbers and hot-tempered carts with seaside breezes that waft across the greens. Though consisting mostly of straight-ahead fairways, the course forces players to adjust at the fifth hole, a 365-yard par 4 where golfers must bend drives around a dramatic 90-degree dogleg left obscured by dense tree lines. Exeter Country Club's on-site restaurant, Grill on the Hill, awaits at the end of the ninth green, serving up a menu of American fare to quench appetites after a day of dedicated pin-hunting and scorecard falsification.
Course at a Glance:
Wonder Mountain Family Fun Park sternly rebuffs boredom with two mini-golf courses and a challenging human maze. Adventurers can negotiate the twisting turns, dead ends, and elevated checkpoints of the Treasure Trap ($5/person for ages 5+) in less than 10 minutes to enter weekly drawings for cash and T-shirts or to outrun overzealous Pac-Men. Alternatively, opt for a round of mini golf ($10/adult; $8/senior or child ages 5–12) on one of two courses strewn with lush foliage, flowing waterfalls, and muttering streams. Send dimpled balls spinning across the Mountain Mania course, recently rebuilt with five new hole layouts, or test your mettle on the Nautical Nightmare course, whose challenging holes may be better suited for teens and adults than youngsters or those who depend on holes-in-one for life force.
OptiGolf, though absent the acreage necessary for a real golf course, still boasts some pretty impressive dimensions. The indoor studio replicates world-class golf on 14-foot HD projection screens capable of simulating everything from 300-yard drives to three-foot putts, with players using their own clubs. All nine of these simulators possesses a library of 85 championship courses. Plus they include training resources—such as video swing analysis and ball-flight tracking—,which are instrumental during private lessons conducted by director of instruction Phil Cornetta.
The ping of flush drives may echo throughout the 7,000-square-foot center, but golf is not the only thing on the menu. Balls veer towards pockets on a pool table, six draft beers and top-shelf liquors wet whistles or clean sullied grooves on wedges, and free wireless Internet keeps the entire complex connected.
On May 29, 1970, the first drive flew down the fairway of the first hole at Manchester Country Club and came to a stop on the carpet-like fairways that would become its trademark. Though the front nine had only just been completed and the back nine still needed some work, Opening Day at Manchester Country Club proved an auspicious beginning for the club. It represented the collective efforts of the community, the local golf governing body, and a vanguard of early members who took a bet on the club in its infancy.
Today, the finished design first drawn up by architect Geoffrey Cornish still rolls through 165 acres of the Green Mountains, though in a slightly different form. The front nine remains intact, but the back nine has undergone some improvements over the years. A full renovation that incorporated 34 additional acres was completed in 2003, bringing the course up to its present length of nearly 6,800 yards. In addition to a lengthy golf course, the club boasts a golf shop, four Class-A PGA/LPGA Professional instructors, two clay tennis courts, and full service dining facilities.
Course at a Glance
The ping of sharp line drives and towering drives echo over the grounds at Legends Golf, where athletes of all ages compete in rounds of miniature golf and hone swings in the batting cages or at the driving range.
Golf balls trickle down topsy-turvy tracks at the 18-hole miniature-golf course, which weaves through rock faces and tiny geysers that erupt with glee any time a player misses an easy putt. Eight target greens populate the 300-yard driving range, where new Wilson Staff Range Balls touch down after taking flight from 45 synthetic mats or 35 grass tees.
Under the vaulted roof of the batting cages, nine pitching machines send baseballs and softballs speeding toward hitters as they get the most out of every at bat and discreetly argue balls and strikes with imaginary umpires. To pass the time in between mini-golf rounds or during kids' golf lessons, guests can use Legends' wireless Internet connection free of charge.