Ann Arbor College of Martial Arts’ hand-selected, certified instructors incorporate techniques from four disciplines to help students defend themselves in simulations of assaults. Self-defense classes for women utilize a sensible blend of these techniques, and youngsters practice dodging and proper falling techniques during games, obstacle courses, and mock scenarios.
When they aren’t teaching self-defense, instructors help students strengthen their bodies with Pilates and a kickboxing program that combines floor exercises and punching-bag work. In an aerobic interval program, teachers alternate stints of kickboxing, Pilates, and strength and toning techniques in small intervals to maintain cardio levels and help burn calories. Pupils can also burn calories with cage-fitness workouts, which incorporate aerobic and anaerobic exercises into five 5-minute rounds, and Zumba, which uses moves from Latin and hip-hop dance like somebody trying to scare away a bee.
Founders Jenny McCuiston, a high-school state swimming champ and Olympic-trial qualifier, and Chris McCuiston, a past MSU baseball captain and draft pick for the Detroit Tigers, know firsthand the positive effect learning a sport can have on a child's confidence and courage. When they realized what a high demand there was for quality swim lessons in the region they dedicated themselves to researching the industry and developing their trademark curriculum, and in 2006 the first Goldfish Swim School threw open its doors. Today, Red Cross–trained swim instructors at seven locations help little ones as young as 4 months get acquainted with the art of swimming with private swim lessons and classes of no more than four students. Youngsters splash and kick through their indoor pool kept toasty warm at 90 degrees while parents make encouraging fishy faces and pet fish make reproachful parenty faces from the glass-enclosed viewing area. Goldfish Swim School also hosts birthday celebrations and special events complete with colorful balloons and batches of cupcakes. Beach-themed decor splashes across each swim facility, creating a fun, laid-back environment that abounds with vibrant colors and animal accents. The Treasure Island pro shop boasts a range of aquatic accessories, and the snack shack doles out healthy treats and fresh-baked cookies.
There's a lot to do at Georgetown Country Club, but it's all on an intimate, inviting scale. With eight par-three holes and one par four, the club's nine-hole executive course lets golfers get in a round and still have plenty of time for scorecard origami. In the summer, kids cannonball from diving boards and swimmers speed through eight lap lanes at the outdoor pool, while others sunbathe or lounge under huge blue canopies. A recent addition to outdoor courts for tennis, sand volleyball, and tetherball is a gaga ball court. In this madcap, airborne take on dodgeball, big groups of players use their hands to smack a lightweight ball at other players without being hit themselves.
Senior Master Dean L. Wainwright—a 6th Dan master in both tae kwon do and hap ki do—builds his team of instructors not only from other decorated masters, but also those students whose exceptional dedication and skill might help their peers learn the martial arts. Assistant instructor Ian Bejster, for instance, uses his massive talent and youthful stature to help educate Mini and Little Ninjas as young as 3 years old. Together, this team reaches out to students of all ages, engaging them in learning the swift, graceful kicks of tae kwon do or the soft, circular redirections of hap ki do, the only known method for fighting a revolving door.
Footnotes' owner Ashleigh DeWeese Alarcon found a good way to ensure a wide range of dance styles could be taught through her classes—she became certified to teach 14 styles herself. Inside the airy, bright, and sunlit Concourse Hall, Ashleigh and her crew of teachers instruct in classic styles that range from swing and the viennese waltz to bolero and argentine tango. Brides- and grooms-to-be can also consult Footnotes to create a first dance that wows family and friends.
The course at Lake Forest Golf Club keeps golfers of all abilities on their toes with two unique nines that wind through 176 acres of natural terrain, which helped earn it a spot as host of LPGA Futures Tour events for five years in a row. The links-style front nine lets big hitters pummel their drives without fear of getting permanently stuck in dense forestation or hearing the unsettling scream of a falling tree. Bookended by par 5s on holes one and nine, the front nine rewards long drives but requires that golfers remain nimble, as the second and eighth holes are both treacherous par 3s that punish improper club selection. Between the 9th and 10th tees, golfers see a rapid transformation from links-style to a back nine more reminiscent of northern Michigan, with tree-lined fairways, wetlands, and areas dotted with wildflowers. Here, course-management capabilities become starkly apparent, as golfers must repeatedly make the choice whether to lay up short of water, muscle shots over water onto the green, or wait for the next drought.
In addition to plenty of opportunities to take strokes that count, Lake Forest Golf Club encourages game improvement through risk-free practice strokes at its 5-acre practice facility. Players work on their entire games from long bombs off the tee on a three-tier driving range to short-game dexterity on two large putting greens, two sand bunkers, and a chipping area. Headed up by LPGA teaching professional Debbie Williams-Hoak, the facility also teaches the game through individual and group lessons with male and female instructors.
Course at a Glance:
Free weights and cardio machines seem to sprout everywhere at Thrive Martial Arts and Fitness, where working out is about more than just losing weight. The gym focuses on cross-training using small-apparatus equipment such as kettle bells, battle ropes, stability balls, and free weights as well as body-weight exercises for boot camps and personal training. These dynamic activities both strengthen bodies and provide a source of inner motivation. Women's self-defense classes teach a series of techniques for disengaging and incapacitating an attacker or a leering display mannequin, and the wrestling club helps youths get out their aggression and build up a sweat on the mat. For a more targeted workout, individuals, couples, or groups of friends can opt for the individualized instruction of personal training, fighting, or self-defense sessions. In addition to physical activity, personal training programs put an emphasis on diet and nutrition.