People who have played golf now that it's a notoriously challenging game, but for many living with disabilities, even getting to the first tee is a challenge and accomplishment. Edwin Shaw Challenge Golf Course was built in 1999 as part of the Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute to provide golf programs for people with disabilities, so it's designed with ease-of-access in mind. Features such as wheelchair-accessible paths and handrails on the tees make it accessible for everyone, including those recovering from strokes, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and amputations. While there are only three holes, each has three sets of tees so a full nine-hole round can be played. The facility is designed both disabled and able-bodied golfers of all ages with a 12-acre driving range, a practice green, and indoor hitting range.
The Office provides enough delicious eats and drinks to stuff the belly’s briefcase to the buckle. Appetizers entice professional palates with sophisticated options—such as wasabi-stuffed shrimp cocktail and seared scallops with asparagus and mushrooms (both $10.95)—but also assuage simpler salivations with comforting pre-dinner fare such as wings ($7.95 per dozen), loaded Irish nachos ($8.95), and herb-and-parmesan fries ($4.95). Once your mouth is warmed and ready, direct its incisor specs to the entrees like temporally displaced Napoleonic soldiers toward a Russian teahouse. Bacon acts as the ambassador of turf-born protein on the otherwise surftacular plate of pan-seared salmon and lobster, which swims in a sea of tomato-compound butter ($17.95). The mushroom and swiss burger ($7.95) and flat-iron steak ($15.95), on the other hand, stand their ground as terra firma edibles. Lighter bites that are equally heavy on flavor include the mesclun salad, which is a fresh toss of strawberries, candied pecans, dried cherries, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette ($6.95 for a full).
Part of the Firestone Country Club, Hackers' cozy, family-friendly establishment is open to its links-loving members and the non-golfing public alike. The inviting glow of ten plasma screen televisions beckon guests to the bar, where Hackers serves a whistle-whetting list of domestic beers and wines by the glass ($4–8), as well as liquor and mixed drinks. Pub classics such as fish and chips ($12), pizza ($12–15), and customizable burgers ($8), vie for menu dominance against vitamin-laden salmon salads ($10) and Asian-inspired sweet and sour shrimp ($14). Golfers can continue to bully tiny spheres off the course and sink their teeth into an order of Akron sauerkraut balls ($6). The restaurant's atmosphere is comfy and cozy, with a toasty fireplace, golf-themed décor, and a wall of windows that look out onto the 9-hole course, allowing smug sandwich-eaters to marvel at how many strokes it takes some people to escape from the sandtrap.
Long Island native Rocco Cona has had a tennis racket in his hand since the age of 11. His unyielding infatuation with the sport motivated him to go pro, win the Kidel Cup in 1983 as part of a doubles team, and found Springside Racquet & Fitness Club in 1988. Within the family-friendly facility, Cona leads a team of certified trainers and accomplished sports instructors as it whips athletes of all ages into shape with tennis, soccer, and swimming lessons. When the gang isn't busy perfecting backhand slices, bicycle kicks, and breaststrokes, it's hosting body-toning fitness and aerobics classes, such as kickboxing, spinning, and granite-statue-wrestling. They also offer custom personal-training sessions, in which they pump up heart rates with Cybex resistance equipment, Bodymaster free weights, and elliptical cross-trainers.
Springside's facility houses a cushioned indoor track as well as tennis and parquet courts, an NBA-size basketball court, and soccer fields that are available for recreational use. The community center's staff includes trained professionals certified in CPR and well versed in tantrum mediation techniques for when they watch over youngsters in the playroom.
The trainers at TNT Bootcamp make failure a near impossibility by demanding discipline and commitment from each of their charges. Though their words are kind and demeanors are friendlier than that of a teddy bear with a hospitality degree, the instructors of the intense four-week boot-camp program ensure campers adhere to a regimen of weekly weigh-ins, participate in a minimum of three weekly workouts, and maintain a food journal. Any lapse in duties or weight gain incurs a penalty, which TNT Bootcamp has found keeps participants on track even after they reach their goal weight. By completely remolding eating and exercising habits through boot camp and nutritional counseling, trainers help their pupils shed as much as 5 pounds a week. For attendees more interested in recreational exercise, the Just 4 the Health of It program waives penalties. Exercisers can also tone up in classes such as Zumba and the weekly Saturday Sweatshop, which keeps already fit frames in shape and ready to run away from bears at all times.
Dustin Oliver has served as the choir and drama director at Akron North High School and the fine-arts director at Celebration Church, so he knows a thing or two about putting on a performance. Add to that nearly 15 years practicing the guitar, nearly 20 years honing his piano and voice skills, and at least a few minutes humming the theme to M.A.S.H., and it becomes obvious that this artist is a multi-talented whiz. An accomplished musician and composer with a Bachelor’s degree in music from Southeastern University, Dustin is earning his Master’s in theatre from the University of Akron, making him a veritable double threat and a valuable resource for aspiring musicians and actors. When not adding to his own skill set, he leads private and group music lessons in guitar, piano, bass, and voice for students ages 5 and older—as well as private and group acting lessions—following well-established curricula.