When prolific course designer Arthur Hills designed the original 18 holes at Shaker Run Golf Club in 1979, he bent the fairways and greens around Armco Park Lake, the site's central feature. The resulting layout features voluptuous fairways that hug the waterline, as well as several greens that teeter precipitously on the water's edge. Water hazards enter play 14 times in total, forcing golfers to double check their club choice and steel their nerves before committing to a strategy. An additional 9, dubbed the Meadows course, was added in 1999, bringing the facility to 27 holes on its 20th birthday.
PB Dye designed the 18 executive-style, rye-grass fairways at ClearCreek to focus on golfers’ short games, letting players hit through a faster round while still challenging them with one lake and 11 sand bunkers. Golfers tee off at a choice of four different boxes, driving balls the farthest at the 14th hole—one of two par 4 holes on the course—and maneuvering delicately at the 7th to avoid a bunker and the water that ripples on the backside of the putting green. The practice range’s 22 heated and lighted stalls keep 9-irons warm and cozy, and two Full Swing Golf simulators invite golfers to pretend to tackle the best courses in the world no matter the weather outside. ClearCreek’s pro shop features a Callaway custom fitting center for players seeking a new club and stocks Callaway and Titleist golfing paraphernalia. On Sundays, ClearCreek sells adult beverages at the 15th hole’s twin bunkers, providing adults the liquid courage necessary to face down the course's fire-breathing prairie dogs.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par-56 course
Length of 3,028 yards from the farthest set of tees
Course rating of 57.0 from the farthest set of tees
Slope rating of 87 from the farthest set of tees
Four sets of tee boxes
At Rollandia Golf Center, players hone their game on a verdant 18-hole course with 2,800 yards of fairways—coached along the way, if they wish, by PGA-certified instructors. Visitors also can focus on their swings at a driving range with heated and covered stalls that is open year-round.
At Bluff Creek Golf Course, the club's eponymous creek chuckles quietly across 171 acres of relatively open emerald sweeps and 6,525 yards of fairways and greens. Though much of the course roams across flat terrain, certain holes feature sudden elevation changes, including the par 3 10th, where the green rests at the bottom of a 70-foot drop-off that visually obscures the target from golfers. Forgiving fairways, fast bent-grass greens, and thick heather grasses to ensnare poor shots create the feeling of a classic links-style course. Players must take confident swings to evade the water hazards formed by the creek and nine retention ponds, which come into play on the final eight holes and every screaming match with a catfish.
After rounds, a parade of players leads past startlingly colorful redbud trees to the hilltop clubhouse, which sits at one of the highest points in Johnson County. Frosty glasses sing together, the sound drifting off toward the distant Indianapolis skyline. Bluff Creek Golf Course also peddles a variety of clubs and apparel from other top brands in a pro shop, where guests can schedule lessons with a certified instructor to fix a recurring slice or tendency to yell their social-security number mid swing.
Course at a Glance:
PGA instructor Paul Newman's resumé includes positions as president of the Southeast Chapter of the Southern Ohio PGA of America and President's Council member of the PGA. Elton Sargent, the outfit's club-fitting and sword-whittling specialist, has worked directly with club manufacturers and brands such as Mizuno, and has taught more than 6,000 lessons. Together they bolster ball-thwacking skills with techniques based on advanced TPI 3D motion-capture technology. The wireless system simultaneously analyzes posture, swing plane, clubface position, and favorite flavor of golf ball, communicating the results through data that are interpreted by an experienced golf instructor. Performance Golf Academies of America also utilizes The Optimal Motion Instructor (TOMI) putting-training system, which assesses putts from backstroke to follow-through and postputt pirouette.