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.
The Give Me Five pass grants access to five of any of the following activities: Kimball Farm's 300-yard driving range, nine-hole pitch-and-putt course, and batting cages will help golfers and batters adjust squeaky swings, and the Animal Adventures exhibit allows guests to interact with reptiles while discussing current events with talking birds. Give Me Fivers can also perform kinetic-energy experiments using colorful balls on the Waterfall Run or Forbidden Mine miniature-golf courses before boarding a bumper boat to faithfully recreate Star Wars on melted ice. The pass may also be used to acquire a play card (a $6 value) from the Olde Sawmill Midway Arcade.
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:
18-hole, par 72 course
Total length of 6,575 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 72.6 from the back tees
Course slope of 136 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole
Throughout summer and fall, Rolling Acres opens its gates to visitors young and old to enjoy adventures among its various attractions. Birthday parties, field trips, and family outings descend upon the farm to take part in seasonal activities, such as camps and water tag during the summer and hayrides in the fall.
Rolling Acres has also become known for its annual autumn corn mazes, which, in the past, have sent groups zigzagging through elephant-, lion-, and castle-shaped labyrinths. Nearby, bouncers can launch themselves skyward on a giant jumping pillow in attempt to touch the clouds or high-five
a really tall imaginary friend.
The nine-hole course at Northampton Country Club was carved into the countryside in 1898. Four sets of tees make each time-honored hole manageable, whether a player can hit the long ball or prefers to throw the ball toward the green. A river comes into play on two holes, and the wide fairways cut through regions of dense forest that can ensnare errant balls.
After a round, players can head to the recently renovated clubhouse to dine at the 19th Hole bar and grill and regale fellow visitors with tall tales of booming drives and the 3-foot putt that got away.
Course at a Glance:
* Nine-hole, par 35 course
* Total length of 3,041 yards from the back tees
* Course rating of 69 from the back tees
* Course slope of 119 from the back tees
* Four sets of tees per hole
Hickory Ridge Golf Club’s dense tree lines create tunnels of narrow fairways intersected by a meandering creek that comes into play on at least nine of the course's 18 holes. Players immediately find themselves myriad obstacles on the first hole, a 509-yard par 5 with a lateral hazard running the length of the left side and an elevated green with an out-of-bounds area summoning errant shots beyond the pin. After the initial hole, birdie opportunities abound on the front nine so long as players control their shots off the tee, make wise club selections on approaches to the green, and avoid penalty strokes for chop blocking unsuspecting caddies.
More difficult challenges await on the back nine, including tricky par 4s on holes 12 and 14 and long par 3s on holes 15 and 17. Before finishing the round, golfers must conquer the par 4 18th hole, which requires a long layup on the second shot and often sends unfocused golfers on their way with a bogey and a Kick Me sign as they complete the round.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course Total length of 6,704 yards from the back tees Course rating of 72.8 from the back tees Course slope of 130 from the back tees Four sets of tees per hole