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By Jeff Mayfield
wanted to take an end-of-the-summer "Mutterings" look at things to
do during your last few days of summer. Keep in mind that I realize
that money IS an object, so most of these won't squeeze those last
few bucks out of the purse or wallet. I also realize that you loyal
"kid" readers are dependent on your parents taking you to some of
these places. All I can tell you is to be creative when it comes to
asking if they will. My sister, brother and I went to great lengths
to hone those asking skills, and sometimes that REALLY paid off!
Also, these outings, events, excursions, etc. will not be appearing
in rank order… Heck, are you kiddin'? My son's already buggin' me
daily to take him to Chuck E. Cheese's or Jungle O Fun (two fine
establishments, but not really what we're after here)…
For good old-fashioned summer fun, it's
hard to beat swimming, especially this time of year. And since
Lincoln and the surrounding area are blessed with such fine swimming
establishments, I say use 'em. The Lincoln Rec pool and the Elks
pool can kill off some of the hottest summer days; you might even be
able to get into LC's fine aquatic center. I know that surrounding
communities in the area also have some nice swimming centers. Check
your local listings to find what's available. For the price, you're
not gonna get much more fun.
The pools also offer a fine assortment
of swimming lessons through our outstanding local YMCA. Use 'em. And
if you are older and never learned to swim, call the Y and see what
they can do for you. The Y also did some lessons in neighborhood
pools; we liked that idea! (Think that'll persuade my wife to put a
pool in my back yard? The bright side for her is that she wouldn't
have to remind me to mow as often!)
For those of you who are looking for
the Christian family experience, you might give Ken Rutledge a call
over at Little Galilee Christian Assembly. They have a great pool
over there, and you may be able to make him an offer for use during
non-camp times, perhaps on the weekends?
Another hardy swimming suggestion is to
check out one of the many fine lakes in our area. The LDN sports
editor put his money where his mouth is by taking his youngster to
Clinton Lake the other day. It costs a very reasonable buck a head.
This may come as a surprise to you, but my offspring can't
differentiate between Long Beach, Xanadu Beach and Clinton Beach.
While I realize that most of you can, you can't be on one much
quicker than the 40 minutes it takes you to get to the one in DeWitt
County. They have nice restroom facilities and a restaurant, snacks
and a bar. They did not rent out pontoons or fishing boats this
summer but hope to next summer.
My son loved that trip to the lake. And
if dad would have remembered to apply the sunscreen, father and
child wouldn't be peeling like one of the Crocodile Man's favorite
king snakes right about now! The very sandy beach goes on for what
seems like forever. The lake there obviously has a very sandy
bottom, and there is some shade back by the fence for those who
can't take a lot of sun. We built sand castles, buried people in the
sand, played ball with kids from three counties, ate a picnic lunch,
then went to the snack bar because someone was STILL hungry to get
some fries and a slurpee, and just had a great time on our
excursion. I give it high marks.
You can also check out Weldon Springs
while you're in the greater Clinton area. It has a nice little lake,
and they rent out paddle boats and rowboats. There are some good
hiking trails and places to camp for those who want the overnight or
the weekend getaway. You might be surprised how nice it is being so
close to Lincoln and Logan County. They too have a restaurant and
snack bar area. For the nature lovers, there are plenty of geese and
ducks around to get you excited too.
[to top of second column in this
Probably the nicest lake in the Midwest
is the one located over by Shelbyville, and it shares the same name.
It is one of the clearest and cleanest lakes and offers loads of
recreational possibilities. They have a wonderful beach for
swimming, and it's a great lake for fishing and boating. I use to
slay the crappie on that lake, and I'm really not that good a
fisherman. For the golfer there are some nice tracks over there, and
for the shopper plenty of small towns with plenty of shops. All in
all, a family getaway that should deliver.
For our first installment on area golf,
I want to offer the newly expanded course over in Greenview. About
40 minutes from downtown Lincoln, if you don't get caught watching
the paint dry, and you're nestled in a fine Illinois layout.
Perhaps I'm not too subjective on this
one, as I somehow managed five pars and shot by far my best round of
the year, but it is a great little track nonetheless. The greens are
very small, forcing you to target and focus at every turn. The ball
carries well there too unless it was just hotter than I expected
while I was there.
The front nine is defined by an almost
unheard of back-to-back par 3s and has some interesting twists,
turns, doglegs and other features. Obviously, like on all courses,
there is a premium for staying in the short grass, but the rough
doesn't punish you as much as you probably deserve. Par 5s must be
birdied here in order to keep your score respectable. If you can
really control your driver, you can make it a little easier on
yourself, but a 3-wood or a 3-iron is all you need to get yourself
The newly created back nine is longer,
much more wide open and puts those famous prairie winds into play.
Again a par-3 hole steals the show, as the No. 11 green is
surrounded on three sides by water, with bunkers on the un-watered
side. I was ecstatic to make par on that hole in the high winds.
Some of you really exceptionally long hitters may be able to drive a
couple of the par-4 greens; that could have a tendency to drive down
your score! Pretty astute, huh? The big thing on the back is not to
let the ball get hung up against the wind and not to try to just tee
it high with the wind. It's better to knock it down and keep it out
of the higher grass. The rough on the back nine is a little nastier
than the front nine rough.
Country Hills Golf Course is
celebrating its 10th anniversary, and now would be a good time for
you to discover it. Chances are you already have. On a five-star
scale with five being a resort and one being a field or a sandlot, I
give this course a 3˝-star rating and climbing. They have done a
great job with this layout and have maximized it in almost every
conceivable way. Hats off to the crew at Country Hills for letting
the LDN tour the course to give this review!
More LDN reviews and suggestions are on the way…