Featuring professional staff members, an impeccably maintained course, and true-rolling greens arranged according to the position of 18 miniature meteor craters, The Ridge offers a golf experience for clubbers both skilled and woefully handicapped. A full round of evasive holes ($25 weekdays, $27 weekends) tantalizes cleek caressers and promises more excitement than a ruptured appendix. A golf-cart rental ($15) and a medium bag of range balls ($5) are included in the package, as well as a caged self-loathing that, according to The Ridge’s policies, can be unleashed upon any golfer who putts an eagle.
All bases of wine production, procurement, and enjoyment are covered at the Great Dakota Wine Fest. Guests can practice age-old winemaking techniques by hopping into a barrel and stomping grapes or by stabbing each one with an empty quill. Then, upon entering the wine tasting room, they can grab a wine glass emblazoned with the Great Dakota Wine Fest logo and begin testing pours from various South Dakota winemakers, all while live performances from various musicians add melodious din to the spirited sipping and schmoozing.
Prairie Lanes hosts bowling bacchanalia across 12 lanes of oily, family-friendly revelry. Automated scoring leaves crucial brainpower untapped for tying the included pair of shoes and not accidentally throwing the ball like a shot put (up to a $3 value each for games and a $2 value each for shoe rentals). A 108-inch projection screen hangs above the lanes, keeping players informed of the goings-on of less important sports. Fuel up with a soda (a $1.75 value) before knocking over planetoid pins during cosmic bowling, or sidle over to the arcade to play foosball, pool, or video games. Open until midnight seven nights a week, Prairie Lanes provides a post-dusk activity preferable to teaching streetlights to waltz.
The Bluffs Golf Course plots a 6,684-yard path through groves of trees and around waterways for a challenging 18-hole layout. A session at the onsite driving range prepares swings and sleep-deprived 9-irons in time for the upcoming pin-hunting odyssey, where water comes in play on five of the first six holes. Duffers can redeem a disappointing round at the 18th hole, a 570-yard behemoth that entices aggressive, satisfying drives and lacks the aquatic hazards that temper bold play on prior holes. A relatively difficult course when played from the tips, the course offers four color-designated tee options to cater to players of all handicaps as well as those with an irrational allegiance to red.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,684 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 72.5 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 128 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
A golf cart calmly rolls over the footbridge of a creek, its soft motor interrupted only by the pings of golf balls cutting through the air. At The Bridges at Beresford, the creek babbles alongside all but two of the course's nine holes. In keeping with the aquatic obstacles, two large ponds crowd the action between the second and fourth and the sixth and eighth fairways. Though only one of the four par 4s extends beyond 400 yards, the two par 3s are daunting, measuring 194 yards and 175 yards from the back tees, respectively. Strategically placed bunkers further complicate the terrain, forcing players to dial in their approaches and write SOS whenever they get lost.
Course at a Glance:
The smells of hay and freshly picked apples mingle with the shouts of children on the annual Erie Shores Farm Tour. An organized event between four very different, yet equally welcoming, farm facilities, the self-guided tour encompasses fall foods and a range of harvest-themed activities. Hillcrest Orchards welcomes visitors with attractions such as hayrides, a corn maze, and pedal carts, while staff at Dostall Farms lead their guests on a guided tour of their humane meat-processing facility, where animals are fed only grass or corn. The event ends with a prize drawing at Matus Winery, where staff also give a guided tour of the wine-making facilities, including the giant barrel where the winemakers sleep every night. To ensure participants don't lose their ways, Erie Shores Farm Tour provides a complimentary map and suggested travel routes between locations.