You can play golf all day at these unique golf courses

You can play golf all day at these unique golf courses

Only a handful of courses offer golfers a "play all day" rate to tee it up from sunup to sundown.
A view of the 1st green at the Spirit Hollow Golf Course in Iowa.

Every golfer's dream is playing all day every day. The key is finding a course that never wants you to leave.

Several excellent courses in the mid-section of the country have turned the "play all day" dream into a reality with one special rate that allows golfers to play as many holes as their minds and muscles can muster. All of them - Sweetens Cove in Tennessee, Spirit Hollow in Iowa and Old Works in Montana - are destination courses that attract players from far and wide. Here's a look:

Sweetens Cove, South Pittsburg, Tenn.

The par-5 3rd hole at Sweetens Cove plays with the property line to the left and has a wide green defended by a large tree.

When new owners took over Sweetens Cove in 2018, they turned the business model upside down. Instead of taking tee times, Sweetens Cove began selling day passes where groups of golfers can come and play the nine-hole loop all day, over and over. It's proven successful: As availability dwindled, demand surged. Sweetens Cove now books out well in advance.

During high season from April 1 to October 31, the rates range from as low as $15 for nine holes on a Tuesday or Wednesday to $115-$165 for the weekend day pass. Tuesdays and Wednesdays offer the most flexibility. You can play 9 holes, 18 holes, or reserve an all-day pass. If you are playing 9 or 18 holes, simply reserve one of the passes and show up anytime after 9 a.m. For all-day passholders, the course opens at 8 a.m. and the staff will get you out shortly after arrival.

Spirit Hollow Golf Club, Burlington, Iowa

A view of the 6th green at Spirit Hollow Golf Course.

When Spirit Hollow built lodge rooms to host stay and plays in 2014, it launched an "All Day Play" rate for overnight guests that was so popular, it is now offered every day to everybody (since 2020).

Brian Lorenz, the club's PGA head golf professional, estimates that 10-12 percent of this year's rounds have been "All Day Play" customers. On weekends, that $99 all-day rate is only $9 more than the 18-hole rate ($90). The logistics are simple: if the golfer asks for the all-day rate when booking the tee time, Lorenz and his staff will book a second round 5 hours later as well.

"Our average round is 4 hours or 4:15," he said. "That gives them time to eat lunch and relax (before the second round)."

Lorenz said most golfers play 27 holes, a few stretch it to 36 and the rare group pushes through for 54 holes. One group did complete 72 holes for a true golf marathon over a layout considered Iowa's No. 1 public course. How bold would you be? Lorenz said many group choose a different set of tees for the second or third round.

"There are plenty of opportunities for the golf course to play different from each set of tees," he added.

Old Works, Anaconda, Mont.

In Montana, Old Works Golf Course is one of best value Jack Nicklaus courses you can play.

Old Works made our "Top 100 Under $100" by charging $95 to out-of-town golfers, but the best rate is the $125 Play All Day rate. That's a bargain for the chance to intimately learn how to play one of the most interesting efforts by Jack Nicklaus. The black slag bunkers harken back to the 1880s when iron ore was first mined on the site. Deemed a Superfund site in 1983, Old Works eventually became a golf course as enjoyable as anywhere.

How many holes could you manage with a "play all day" rate? Let us know in the comments below.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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You can play golf all day at these unique golf courses