Golf season is nearing full swing, and if you're like most Philadelphians who love the game, you might be unaware that the area boasts a bevy of impressive public golf treks for high and low handicappers alike. 

Throughout the spring and summer, we'll outline the lay of the land -- literally and figuratively -- across the Philly golf landscape. We'll start close to the city limits.

If you're a weekend golfer with limited time, a beginner or working on your irons, Walnut Lane Golf Course is a nice way to spend three and a half hours.

The layout is reasonably challenging (try teeing off on the uphill dogleg 12th hole) but also short (just 4,509 yards). 

Though it's not as crisply manicured as many public courses in the suburbs, the Wissahickon golf course is still a good investment.

Compared to the alternatives located inside the city limits, Walnut Lane -- located just north of Manayunk -- has a lot to offer. Save time on your travel, save money (the weekend rate with a cart is $42) and sacrifice just a little bit of distance to get done in a very reasonable amount of time.

"We are a shorter course but the par 3s are challenging," director of golf David Smith said of the par 62 trek. "The distance and length of our course lends to quick play and to beginners. But if par is the expert score you are going after we have some really challenging par 3s. We have some forced carries, some holes you can't miss on certain sides -- if you can shoot par on here it is really saying something."

When playing at Walnut Lane it's easy, at times, to forget you are in Philadelphia -- a welcome escape. And when standing at the 10th tee, you might forget you're on an executive-length course.

"There are multiple holes that stand out because of the vistas," Smith said. "No. 10 is a neat hole, it is down the hill, it slopes, you have the rock face on the right side so it's very defined."

Local knowledge tip: "There's no question that the most important shot in golf is the tee shot. If you can put the ball off the tee in play here on all 18 holes you're going to score. Make sure you play to the fairway and play to your ability. You're not going to do well if you come out here and hit the driver when you shouldn't."

Price range: From $20 (to walk in the afternoon) to $42 (to ride on weekend mornings)

Website: http://www.walnutlanegolf.com