Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
At Fired Up Fishing Charters, US Coast Guard–licensed captains Chris Cameron and Kyle Larson outfit anglers to catch fish such as mahi-mahi, tarpon, sailfish, and more Atlantic-dwelling species. Their 29-foot boat comfortably accommodates up to four fishermen or five passengers for eco and sightseeing tours and is equipped with twin Yamaha 200-horsepower motors, radar, GPS unit, freshwater shower, and restroom.
Putting Edge's phosphorescent indoor mini-golf course challenges the eyes, ears, and short-game prowess of players of all ages. The 18-hole course confronts club wielders with twists and turns amid a glowing battleground populated by painted neon trees, glowing statues, and iridescent wildlife conservationists. Upbeat music channels players' adrenaline as they expertly navigate their way through the incandescent irrigation routes and prove to competitors that their putting skills, like the bottom of Lake Michigan or Celine Dion's hair, are untouchable. Both golfers are equipped with a glow bracelet that shines as brightly as the course's black-lit critters, ensuring that no visitors are hazed by glowing parakeets. Though not included in this Groupon, players may also hone joystick skills and grapple for prizes at Putting Edge's arcade. The glow-in-the-dark atmosphere encourages friendly competition for players of all fitness levels, birthday parties, and group gatherings.
Dennis Buice, a member of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, unlocks the ocean's depths for students during diving courses that follow the PADI curriculum. Scuba-diver classes start out by introducing students to diving in monitored, shallow water, and advanced sessions span a spectrum from PADI open-water certification to professional training in the rescue-diver course. PADI specialty courses explore focused subjects such as snapping underwater photographs or maximizing underwater time by using enriched air nitrox. Kids’ classes or Discover Scuba lets youngsters and newbies breathe underwater for the first time in the safety of a pool filled with less than 6 feet of water and no starving sharks.
At Orlando Shooting Sports, no one shoots without a firm grasp of firearm safety, responsibility, and proper technique. This philosophy pervades the business's firearm training, where seasoned instructors cater to beginners with professional, hands-on training at a supervised firing range. To further ensure safety, instructors and students only use ammunition that is designed to be non-lethal and non-toxic during these lessons.
Donning armor of red, purple, and gold, Orlando City has established itself as one of the USL Pro’s most dominant teams, winning USL Pro championships in 2011—its inaugural season—and 2012. After their second championship, the squad’s success attracted the attention of the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City, who will serve as Orlando City’s parent squad for two years, beginning with the 2013 season.