While idly discussing the prospect of creating a miniature-golf course festooned with elaborate art installations, Michael Taft realized that he couldn’t think of a single putt-putt course in the Bay Area. Fast-forwarding to his retirement plan of owning a small business, Taft snapped up an abandoned video store and enlisted artistic friends and local craftspeople to make his dream a reality. Subpar Miniature Golf’s map of handcrafted holes has players putting their way through Bay Area landmarks, including an Altamont Pass windmill and the Golden Gate Bridge, tricked out with loop-the-loops. A sprawling, hand-drawn mural wraps its way around the room, depicting scenes of NoCal life and tricking gullible coyotes into trying to sprint through the walls.
Subpar Miniature Golf’s ever-growing arcade area keeps button smashers busy with vintage pinball machines and a pair of air-hockey tables, contributing to Taft's dream of turning the space into a family institution and community fixture. As he told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Every once in a while, you'll hear a giant cheer in the back by a group that sunk a (great) putt. It makes me feel really good, like 'We did that. That's us.'"
Combining modern technology with one-on-one attention, Dr. Alain A. Montiel doles out preventative and cosmetic cuspid care from the comfort of his Alameda office. Upon arrival, patients will bare their smile caves to hygienists, who will clean away plaque and debris from every nook, cranny, and cup holder residing in the mouth. Next, Dr. Montiel will inspect each newly shining meat masher, doling out brushing and flossing advice, before scanning bitewing x-rays for signs of gross calculus deposits or imbalanced algebraic equations lurking below each tooth's surface.
Patients at Randhawa Dental Corporation open wide to place their dental health in the capable hands of highly skilled dentists and their staff. Studying dentistry in India, Australia, and the United States has equipped Gurjit S. Randhawa, D.D.S., M.D.S., with skills that earned him the title of Best Cosmetic Dentist in KRON4's Best of the Bay 2009, 2010 and 2011 awards, making it the third year in a row that he has won. He is also an Elite Preferred Provider of Invisalign, who enjoys a "Top 1% in North America" ranking because of his extensive experience with the Invisalign system. Dr. Randhawa joins the other dentists—including his wife, Dr. Aneet Randhawa—to coddle teeth with general and specialist dental services.
Members of Alameda Athletic Club make use of cardio equipment, free weights, and exercise classes before rewarding their taxed bodies with restorative massages. A one-month membership unbars a fitness fortress, as members gain access to cardio and weight rooms and an unlimited number of classes, including Pilates, yoga, and TV repair. Zumba sessions bounce to the beat of Latin rhythms, and boxing classes arm students with self-defense. Women can sweat and strive in the private exercise room, and all members can enjoy an invigorating spell in the sauna.
Though Alex Tuggle had been receiving alternative healing treatments such as acupuncture and qi gong from his mother since early childhood, he had no idea how drastically those techniques would later change his life. At the age of 12, Tuggle was hit by a car while rollerblading without a protective helmet. He was unconscious as medical personnel rushed him to the UCLA emergency room with a serious head injury and a broken left ankle. After days in intensive care, Tuggle went home wearing a cast stretching from his hip to his foot. In the years that followed, he began to feel intense pressure in his head and stiffness in his neck; a chiropractor told him that his hips were completely out of alignment and that he had severe scoliosis. He tried chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, and biofeedback therapy without noticeable results. But after continuously practicing qi-gong exercises and getting regular acupuncture treatments and deep-tissue shiatsu massages, Tuggle's muscles began to loosen. He also made dietary changes, avoiding sugar and alcohol and nourishing his body with Chinese herbs. Eventually, his mind and nervous system recovered from the trauma caused by the accident.
Tuggle harnessed the lessons learned during his dramatic recovery and decided to share them with others. He went on to become a licensed acupuncturist and earned his master of science degree in traditional Chinese medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles. At Golden Wellness Center, he helps heal patients with the same holistic processes that gave him his life back. Together with massage therapist April Hairell, Tuggle addresses chronic pain and adrenal fatigue with hands-on and energy-based massage modalities such as shiatsu and medical qi gong. In addition to acupuncture and herbal therapy, Tuggle offers hair-analysis services to determine a person's heavy-metal toxicity or likelihood of winning a Shirley Temple look-alike contest.
Nestled in the center of West Oakland, YogaLove Oakland is a community-centered yoga studio that believes in small class sizes and personalized attention. Its certified instructors offer everything from classes teaching the basics of yoga to sessions for moms-to-be and advanced students. Owner and director Treina Alexander, an RYT-500 instructor, leads a team of RYT-200 and RYT-500 teachers whose styles focus on different aspects of yoga such as flow, meditation, heart opening, gentle movement, and energy flow. In a Level 2 class, yogis practice more challenging poses and breathing skills, while in level 3 classes, they gain strength and flexibility with a focus on breathing and visualizing themselves as a rubber band. Everything students need for class is provided, including filtered water, yoga mats, and a hand towel, and YogaLove Oakland is only three blocks from the West Oakland BART station.
Founded by master trainer Sergio Silva, Team Silva Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu arms students with the grapples and fitness techniques needed to get in shape or tackle competitors. Adult programs delve into the takedowns and strikes of mixed martial arts, jujitsu, and muay thai kickboxing, and women's classes range from yoga to fighting-themed fitness. Tykes can begin learning self-defense and discipline with muay thai lessons, gaining the swift, precise movements to fend off playground bullies or rebuff roving packs of feral kindergartners. A safe and encouraging environment, the Alameda studio lines its walls with cushions and trained coaches who oversee classes and open-mat sessions where students practice their martial-arts techniques or pickup lines.