Interactive bumper cars, 80 arcade games, and the tubes, tunnels, and slides of a soft playground all nestle within the 12,000-square-foot Swing-A-Round Fun Town facility in Fenton. Outside, waterfalls and fountains surround three professionally designed outdoor mini golf courses, and a mammoth pond accommodates 15 colliding bumper boats. The fun continues at the kiddie kart track for youngsters 3–8 years old or the more than 1,100-foot adult track, where kids can join a parent in a double-seat go-kart whose second steering wheel allows tykes to pretend drive and practice ignoring hitchhikers. Elsewhere, nine batting cages test players' homerun hitting skills with softball slow and fast pitches or baseballs flung at 35–80 mph. Swing-A-Round Fun Town's St. Charles location hosts nine batting cages as well, plus two 18-hole miniature golf courses and an arcade.
GolfTEC has two convenient locations in Charlotte, both staffed by experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of golfing robotics. Motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor your swing and break down your form on a high-definition video display. GolfTEC’s PGA specialists point out your flaws, strengths, and coach you on how to permanently improve your game, from tee to green. Sensors chirp with approval when you’ve executed a perfect stroke or cracked an especially witty golfing joke.
Golf balls soar through the air and settle around various targets at Big Bend Golf Center, providing a steady soundtrack of thwacks as golfers practice their golf game. The center’s double-decker driving range boasts more than 25 hitting stations—including both grass and synthetic hitting mats—from which golfers can take aim at yardage markers that are boldly labeled with their distance from the tees. Covered by the top deck and warmed with outdoor heaters, the ground-level hitting bays let golfers practice their game year-round in any weather, rather than attempting to play with clubs made of icicles. Big Bend’s Golf Center complements the driving range with clinics and lessons with resident golf pros, who also provide re-gripping services and spike replacements for aging golf shoes.
Named St. Louis’s Best Driving Range by the Riverfront Times in 2007, Family Golf & Learning Center earns praise as an encouraging environment in which golfers of all levels can hone their games. The lighted range boosts golfers with a second story of hitting stations stacked on top of the first that offers a bird’s-eye view, if that bird is sitting on the head of a giraffe. The range also features both real zoysia-grass tees as well as artificial-turf tees, and it stays open year-round thanks to heaters that prevent golf clubs’ handles from developing frostbite.
Once thoroughly limbered up, golfers can tee off on the par 3 course, where a maximum hole length of 160 yards allows for practice with short strokes and putting. Should self-improvement reach a plateau, the center’s instructors stand ready to help players make further strides through onsite lessons.
Course at a Glance:
Normandie Golf Club was built in 1901 according to the St. Andrews style, lending it a historic feel with unique routing and challenging, classic play. The par-71 course stretches across a bit more than 6,500 yards of hill-to-valley patterns. Elevated tees and greens on holes 7, 8, and 9 typify the Foulis layout, especially the par-5 right dogleg on hole 7 and the par-56 hedge maze on hole 13. Pinpoint accuracy is demanded by hole 12’s short downhill par 3, while the two-tiered green on the tame-looking 14th hole has deceived pro golfing legends such as Babe Didrikson and just plain legends such as Babe Ruth and Dizzy Dean, who both insisted on using bats instead of clubs. Unlike them, however, golfers can avoid distractions by zooming between holes on one of the course’s carts, and warm up on the driving range with a bucket of balls.
• For $40, you get one 18-hole round of golf for two with cart rental and a large bucket of range balls on a weekday (up to a $97 total value). • For $45, you get one 18-hole round of golf for two with cart rental and a large bucket of range balls on the weekend (up to a $117 total value).