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.
Ranked in Golfweek's Best Courses You Can Play in Indiana, the course at Prairie View Golf Club is situated on 206 acres of environmentally protected land along the White River with scenic prairieland and five lakes. The Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design features natural wetlands with a rushing stream that comes into play on four holes, forcing players to demonstrate deft control or gilled golf bags. On the front nine, the prairie setting invites harsh winds to blow across bentgrass fairways, often knocking shots off course. As players make the turn onto the back nine, they notice a marked difference in the environment, as open prairies give way to tall sycamore, oak, beech, and cottonwood trees lying just beyond the Kentucky bluegrass rough. Across the river lies Conner Prairie, a historical re-enactment village whose elegant, 1830s-era style was adopted for the design of the course's 15,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Course at a Glance:
Mature trees dot the emerald expanse that makes up Willow Creek Golf Course’s 36-hole layout complex, which invites clubbers of all stripes with player-friendly fairways and greens. The long fairways at the 18-hole Red Course tunnel through imposing tree lines on their way to large, contoured greens, which demand solid hits from a driver, putter, and cheese wedge. The nine-hole White Course presents a relatively open layout, and the Blue Course plots a winding path past treacherous water hazards. Willow Creek’s driving range enables golfers to warm up for rounds, and an indoor golf simulator facilitates safe practice during inclement weather and picketing protests from unemployed caddies.
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.