Though lush fairways and gently undulating greens have replaced the acres of cornfields at Country Oaks Golf Club, quaint reminders of the course’s bucolic past are everywhere. A tall white silo stands sentry at the first tee box, greeting golfers as they head out for their round. A white picket fence proves a common sight as it cordons off the 140-acre plot from the surrounding farmland and prevents trespassing by ghostly baseball players.
First tee shots on the 514-yard, par 5 opening hole will need to clear a small pond—an early introduction to the water scattered throughout the rest of the course. In fact, 4 out of the first 5 tee shots will need to clear water, and 11 feature water prominently at some point. On the watery, 300-yard 18th hole, the long shadow of the old silo welcomes golfers back in as they sink their final putts and head into the Dairy Barn, now home to the course pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
Deep in the verdant expanse of the Lark Valley, the forest’s leaves rustle as a blurry figure glides by. The creature flying across the forest canopy isn’t a bird or acrobatic sport’s mascot returning to its natural habitat. It’s a person strapped into 1 of 10 ziplines at Lark Ranch, which extend more than 1 mile through the surrounding area. Guests slip into safety harnesses and helmets before clipping in the suspended steel cables and soaring high above the valley’s varied topography of lakes, forests, and fields of blossoming holiday sweaters. Elsewhere, lush crops sprout around festive pumpkin patches, encouraging visitors to become one with harvest-time happiness.
Stretching across more than a thousand acres at the foot of southern Indiana's Hoosier National Forest, Wilstem Ranch's rolling farmland is home to creeks, caves, natural-rock outcroppings, and more than 30 miles of woodland trails, marking it as an ideal family escape. A creek populated by small-mouth bass attracts local fishermen; wildflowers, native plants, and trees color the historic landscape in natural vegetation. Additionally, a variety of cabins—equipped with kitchens, hot tubs, and fireplaces—provide cozy accommodations year-round.
Designed by golf-course architect Robert M. Lohmann, Eagle Valley Golf Course stretches 6,692 yards through rolling terrain and rising crags of verdant knolls, creating a diverse landscape of testy tee-to-green holes. Duffer duos can challenge one another or pair up to face the course's ball-swallowing bunkers, mature trees, and hungry squirrels. An included golf cart accommodates golfers as they traverse through lush green lands on the hunt for a treasure chest of errant golf balls in the bottom of the course's four bodies of water. Golfers can begin their day perfecting their pendulum swings on the property's driving range. With two buckets of balls, every club in the bag of trick sticks can see use, from the pitching wedge to the mannequin leg.
Gear Up stocks an assortment of more than 100 of the top apparel, gear, and shoe brands to outfit outdoor enthusiasts in fashionable and functional attire. Smartwool shears Ivy League–educated merino sheep to create deceivingly warm base layers ($75) and keep feet warm—even when wet—with Smartwool PhD socks ($14.95–$22.99). Chaco flip-flops lend a supportive comfort to feet ($55), while strappier Chaco Z/1 and Z/2 sandals suit up the lower paws for wet and warm adventures ($95). Pursue leisure in a foot chase with the classic Birkenstock Arizonas ($120), or get kicks in the Keen Newport H2s, which don toe-bumpers and an Aegis anti-microbial shield to make the term "adventure sandals" more than just a passable band name ($95). For colder days, Marmot Polartec fleece provides durable, non-pilling warmth without excessive bulk ($75–$100).