26. Oak Hill Golf Range – Highway 71, west of MoPac

Finding this Hot Spot was a stroke of luck – pun intended.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by during the day and there was nobody there.  Sunday evening, just before the sun went down turned out to be key.  Oddly enough, I just put my golf clubs back in storage last weekend.  After all, the winter’s over and I no longer need the coat rack.

When I showed up at Oak Hill Golf Range, the place was packed.  Nearly every slot on the range was occupied and the only other woman there was sitting in a chair beside her husband’s space watching him whack at the little yellow balls.  Once I was in the office, I spoke with one of the instructors, Jimmy, who wholeheartedly agreed that this is a Hot Spot.  “I met my wife here,” he said with a smile.  One can’t argue with results like that.

Jimmy explained that times to go here are in the mornings and the evenings after work, especially as the summer draws closer and the days get hotter.  I suggest Sunday evenings, for obvious reasons.  There are lights so, daylight or not, you can practice your swing.  Incidentally, they hold a Ladies clinic on Thursdays at 7pm.  For $20, you get professional instruction and a bucket of balls.  You don’t even need to have your own clubs because they have some you can use on site.  I suggest you hit the head before you come out here though; if you need to pee, you’ll have to use the port-o-let.

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20. Golfsmith Driving Range

Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t like golf.  I don’t like playing it or watching it or wandering a course for 18 holes.  Lord help me if I marry a man who does.  Having lived in Phoenix and West Palm Beach, I’ve spent my share of time on the golf course.  My clubs were custom made by Jack Wulkotte, who used to make clubs for Jack Nicklaus back in the day.  What that means is that in spite of my furrowed brow, a perpetual expression of my frustration with the things of golf, I look great from the neck down whenever I have a club in my hand.

My friend, Phil, gave me the tip that this would make a good Hot Spot.  You need to know it’s taken me about 2 months to go and I really had to force myself.  To make this happen, I had to get my golf clubs out of storage and they sat in the back of my car for at least a month.  All this to say, going to the driving range is waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone.  When I arrived at Golfsmith Driving Range, I was pleasantly surprised.

This particular Golfsmith location is the company’s headquarters and is totally decked-out.  I’ve been to my share of driving ranges and this is the nicest one by a long shot – pun intended.  Being crunched for time, I bought a small bucket of balls for $5 and proceeded to the green where I could hack away.  Right smack in the middle of lunch hour, I was the only woman amongst a good handful of guys, making this an ideal Hot Spot.  After exhausting all 40 of my little white balls, I headed into the pro shop to return my basket and have a conversation with the pro.

Ladies, if you ever had the inclination to take up golf at any point in your life, go see Doug Nelle at the Golfsmith Driving Range.  His passion for the game is contagious and he’s got a tremendous commitment to introducing others to the sport.  For women, he suggests getting a group together and taking one of the clinics he offers (they’re either free or a nominal fee) to give it a try.  He has all kinds of clubs on-hand for you to use if you don’t have your own.  This is by far the best way to try golf.

Since we’re most concerned with when the men are there, Doug suggests coming on a Saturday.  “That’s when the serious golfers come practice,” he explained.  The women are definitely outnumbered by the men so be prepared to stand out and get some attention.  It also doesn’t matter if you’re good or not.  Women are so rarely seen golfing around here that men just appreciate your effort; Doug said that too.   Due to its location, a lot of Dell-ies come there during their lunch hour.  In the evening, the clientele is primarily students and people in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Sunday is family day.  Saturday is your day.

Golfsmith Driving Range – I-35 southbound feeder road, just south of Breaker.