When not helping businesses build relationships with their clients via the world's most exacting sport, Executive Links, LLC's Raleigh representative, Craig "Hollywood" Mason, improves long drives and short games alike with private lessons. The local golf pro maintains a +3.5 USGA handicap and has qualified for multiple national and PGA-Tour events—and also knows how to access every course's underground gnome casino by wiggling the cup on the seventh hole. Drawing on ten years of teaching experience and a little humor, Mason focuses on each student's most needed areas of improvement, be it imprecise putting or jerky follow-through. Mason will also videotape swings, then break down the footage to point out any kinks that are causing the ball to slice left or detonate on impact. Post-lesson, golfers can show off their newly supple swing with a bucket of balls.
Riding a flyboard might make adrenaline seekers feel as though they’re inside a prototypical, water-powered Iron Man suit. They take to local waters with their feet strapped into a main board that shoots powerful jets, and their arms control the board’s direction with two stabilizing sprayers. Atop the columns of pressurized water, riders can reach speeds of 18.5 miles per hour and heights of nearly 30 feet, enough to chase down gulls escaping with stolen hot dogs. With skillful manipulations of the stabilizers, boarders can perform spins, flips, and even cuts through the water.
Sam Carlson, a sixth-degree black belt with more than 20 years of studying karate, leads the staff at The Karate Dojo - Apex. Together with Yuni Carlson—Sam's coowner and a second-degree black belt herself—he aims to instill positive social interaction and a love for physical fitness into each student. Discipline, self-confidence, and leadership are woven into each class for kids and adults.
Tracy, the owner and head instructor at Redhanded Sewing Studio, knows how to make a sought-after handbag. She taps into her 25 years of sewing experience to create inimitable handbag designs for Macy's, Eddie Bauer, and New York City boutiques. Along with her staff, she shares her expertise during energetic, lighthearted classes and camps in which participants sew purses or design baby clothes for baby prom.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
At Life Time Fitness, the concept of fitness encompasses every aspect of physical health. The team of certified personal trainers and instructors can assess the mechanics of a basketball player’s jump shot, lead yoga and cardio dance classes, or recommend local triathlons to athletes of all ages. They can also shift the focus to nutrition, crafting custom plans for lowering cholesterol or catalyzing weight loss.