At Fennwood Hills Country Club, the transformative fairways of a nine-hole course invite golfers to play 18 holes, presenting different tee boxes during the second act for a distinct back nine. As clubbers loop the course, which was frequented by former sweater-vest model John Daly, they are faced with difficult drives into narrow, tree-lined fairways and approach shots over treacherous bunkers. The course’s innovative front-to-back layout asks players to approach three holes from entirely new angles on the back nine, which declaws the par 5—rendering it a par 3—and forces golfers to look at the course’s five perilous ponds from a new perspective, especially on the 16th hole, where rippling water pressures players to lay-up or risk sending golf balls into an eternal search for underwater Atlantis.
After a long day of putting and strutting in the sun, the club invites players to cool off with a beverage while watching sports in the clubhouse, test their forehand at one of four tennis courts, or practice splash-free cannonballs at the swimming pool.
Course at a Glance:
The topography at Beaver Creek Golf Course doesn't shape the course as much as it divides the layout into two distinct nine-hole designs. The front nine stretches across plains with open expanses and very few trees, relying on shifting winds to challenge golfers as they loft approach shots into the stratosphere or attempt to steer their cart by sail. While the winds may be perplexing, golfers shouldn't be caught off guard by the front nine's other unique characteristic: a double green. Holes five and seven share the same putting surface, which hosts a separate, well-marked flagstick and cup for each respective hole. Bounded by dense woods, Beaver Creek's second nine presents a completely different design, where golf balls are sheltered from the winds but imperiled by protected wetlands throughout and a large lake that comes into play on holes 11 and 12. After rounds, golfers can unwind at the Creekside Grill or make underperforming putters run sprints across the practice green.
Measuring 6,403 yards from the farthest tees, Dumas Memorial Golf Course's par 71 layout provides plenty of opportunities for golfers to post low scores—at least once they make it past the first hole. The par-five first presents an intimidating start: at 548 yards, it's the longest hole on the course and the number-one handicap hole, so golfers might want to spend some extra time at the on-site driving range to avoid a slow start. Any early-round transgressions can be redeemed on the finishing holes: the two shortest par-threes on the course, holes 16 and 18 will reward solid tee shots with birdie opportunities and a congratulatory handshake from the final flagstick.
Creeks are typically benign features, so it tends to raise some eyebrows when one is named after a natural disaster. At Howell Park Golf Course, Hurricane Creek earned its fearsome moniker for the mayhem it can cause on the course: the creek intersects ten different holes, making it imperative that players select the proper club when attempting to clear the water or laying up to the front of its bank so that their golf cart can drink when thirsty. A parkland-style, 5,700-yard, par 70 layout, Howell Park's player-friendly fairways give golfers a chance to shoot a solid round, as long as they can keep their ball dry.
Historic City Park Golf Course has occupied its 25-acre parcel on the northern tip of City Park Lake since 1926. Comprised exclusively of par 3s and 4s, the nine-hole layout keeps distances manageable—its longest hole is 377 yards—so beginners can enjoy the course as much as their longer-driving counterparts. Though the course may be short on yardage, it's long on history as one of a select group of golf courses recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, preserving it from destruction so that future generations will one day be able to use robot caddies to play on those same fairways.
Course at a Glance: