Glowing boundary rails line the pitch-black corridors of Lunar Mini Golf's putting surfaces, guiding mini golfers and their orbs across a black-lit dreamscape surrounded by neon flourishes. As players attempt to sink hole-in-ones, the vibrant course thwarts their efforts with topsy-turvy surfaces, jutting ridges, and a gallery of luminous animals and bug-eyed aliens whispering commentary from inside the walls. Guests can become mobile accoutrements in the phosphorescent scenery by snagging necklaces and other glow-in-the-dark knickknacks available for sale, helping players identify opponents' movements and accentuate celebratory dances with glow-stick flair. The course's darkened alleys provide fun, casual outings for players of all abilities, as well as an eclectic venue for the birthday parties of future adults.
Located at the oceanfront, Jungle Golf's aptly named mini-golf course pits putters against a slew of jungle-themed obstacles. As golfers traverse the 18-hole labyrinth, they must contend with breaking putts, keep their distance from the silverback gorilla statue guarding the second hole, stay dry underneath the misting waters of the fifth hole's rocky waterfall, and bribe a life-sized zebra statue to neigh during their opponent’s backswing. In-between rounds, golfers can refuel with treats from the Food Hut or head to the game room for more shrinked-down activities, such as air hockey, skee-ball, and crane-games' simulations of loading 2-ton plush rabbits onto freighter ships.
Guarded by pirate statues perched atop treasure chests, gripping pistols, and wielding hooks instead of hands, the 18-hole course at Pirate's Paradise Miniature Golf challenges players with rolling greens and winding waterways. In addition to a bounty of buccaneers, the mini-golf course is decorated with flowering plants, waterfalls, and tranquil ponds. After rounds of mini golf, players can reenergize with hot dogs, funnel cakes, and milk shakes whipped up at the snack bar. Elsewhere, youngsters can celebrate birthdays with two hours of unlimited golfing followed by two hours on the pirate ship, where they can feast with friends and force piñatas that won't break to walk the plank.
As cattails bob around the shores of glassy ponds, winds stir Virginia hardwoods and tall pines, under which deer can be seen prancing through knee-high grasses. These scenes play out every day at Hell's Point Golf Club, a Rees Jones–designed course set in the heart of the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge.
To the chagrin of slow-to-warm golfers and putters who stayed out late partying with pool cues, the second hole is the course's most difficult—a narrow, 462-yard par 4 that ends in a difficult-to-read, two-tiered green. Water hazards come into play on 10 subsequent holes, including two par 3s with a forced-carry tee shot and two par 4s with a cape-style dogleg that bends around a pond. Throughout the course, golfers must avoid Rees Jones's signature bunker complexes or be prepared to bribe the hazard with a novel sand-castle mold.
Course at a Glance:
Designed by 1992 Masters Champion Fred Couples and his course-architect pal Gene Bates, the course at Heron Ridge Golf Club slaloms through acres of natural wetlands punctuated by towering oak, beech, and elm trees. Golfers confront water hazards of some form on 14 of the course’s 18 holes, most notably at No. 2 with its large lake that juts between the tee boxes and the fairway. Likewise, a hook-shaped water hazard on the par 3 15th hole punishes too-strong strokes from the elevated tee boxes onto its peninsula green. Players who manage to keep their golf balls on dry land face their own set of hardships, as the terrain’s frequent depressions and swells make flat lies and hovercart-landing sites scarce.
Course at a Glance:
Designed by course architect Pete Dye and PGA Tour Hall of Famer Curtis Strange, the course at Virginia Beach National Golf Club showcases 7,197 yards of bermuda-grass fairways and bentgrass greens. The course incorporates sandy waste areas to penalize errant shots and halt runaway carts, along with water hazards that come into play on 11 holes. Those hoping to hone their swings can schedule a lesson with PGA pros Russ Dodson and Butch Liebler, who oversee the course's pro shop and all-grass driving range.