At River Place Country Club, a championship golf course designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 U.S. Open, invites golfers to launch balls over sand bunkers and twisting creeks that wend their way through the landscape’s hilly contours. The course’s superintendent draws on experience at Baton Rouge Country Club and Colonial Country Club, as well as a degree in Plant and Soil Systems, as he ensures that the greens and rolling Bermuda grass fairways are more carefully manicured than a prize-winning pet wooly mammoth. The course’s PGA professional instructors are on hand to improve individual games, and a driving range lets players practice at 15 hitting stations.
Adjacent to the course, eight lighted tennis courts abut a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fully equipped fitness center, and locker rooms whose dry saunas and whirlpools melt tension quicker than butter melts on the calves of a sprinter. The Grille invites clubgoers to sup on steak or seafood, and a pair of outdoor decks let guests drink in scenic views.
Course at a Glance:
Golf Etc. features a bevy of bogey-friendly products from brands such as Titleist, Ping, Bridgestone Golf, Adidas, Callaway, TaylorMade, and more. In addition to its armory of traditional fairway artillery, Golf Etc. also builds, repairs, re-grips, and re-shafts trusty clubs at its on-site workshop. Re-gripping is $3 per club, plus the price of grip, and can be completed the day the clubs are brought in. If your club handle is already gripped for success, you can opt for a one-hour video golf lesson ($80), which uses a digital coaching system known only as V-1 to give golfers a clearer understanding of their swing and teach them how to harness its inherent energy to jump-start a dead golf-cart battery. Golfers can also get their drivers fitted ($75) and find out which long-distance clubber is best for their game using the Swing Labs Digital Fitting System. Short-gamers can practice putts on a 280-square-foot indoor green that features authentic challenging breaks. Prices provided are from the Pearland store and may vary by location.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
Knowledgeable staff tap into wisdom accrued over more than 60 years in business to pamper battered velocipedes. Cycle-cleaning masters greet each two-wheeled chariot with a thorough tune-up that begins with a wipe down and an astrological assessment. Headsets, cranks, hubs, and brakes benefit from an adjustment, and the front and rear derailleurs’ shifting abilities are inspected for safety and racetrack worthiness. The dexterous technician then straightens the bike’s wheels and lubricates the chain, brakes, and derailleurs before tightening all nuts and bolts. Proper tire pressure keeps bikes moving as quickly as a stock-car racer fleeing bath time, and a safety inspection protects the health of proud riders.
Play It Again Sports, a national franchise, hosts a sports-savvy staff that dedicates itself to providing growing athletes with new and used equipment from brands such as Easton, Rawlings, and Reebok. Shoppers can step up to bat with a cudgel from Easton ($19.99+) or pick up a frolfing disk ($3.99 used; $7.99 new) and never again waste an afternoon hammering golf balls flat. Play It Again Sports stocks its athletic arsenal with the help of its customers, offering buybacks for store credit, trade-ups for extra savings, and a lucrative bounty on baseballs saved from the maws of neighborhood dogs.
Sugar Land Dive Center’s store boasts scuba gear from brands such as Atomic, Oceanic and Sea Life, but their signature product is an intangible: a sense of confidence underwater. The PADI five-star dive center’s courses impart just that. After classroom-based instruction, the center’s open water instructors teach divers to breathe underwater and handle their complex gear by practicing in a pool. The program then culminates in a series of real open water dives, which result in open water certification more useful than its earlier incarnation, certification to open water that’s in an aluminum can.
Sugar Land Dive Center also teaches more specialized courses that can transform open water-certified divers into future rescue divers and PADI instructors. For a fusion of dive practice and vacation, students can also travel the world on international scuba trips, which whisk participants to locales such as Cozumel and Fiji.