Signature Service: Horseback-riding lessons
Staff Size: 1 person
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Pro Tip: Wear blue jeans or riding pants and boots with a heel. Also wear weather-appropriate clothing.
Pecan Lakes' par 72 course, designed by Houston golf architect Jay Riviere, challenges and delights cart-equipped golfers with over 200 scenic acres speckled with trees, waterways, and more than 50 strategically placed bunkers. Linksters will bandy through a tall grove of pecan, elm, and water oaks on the front nine before sending dimpled orbs off into the formidable, 560-yard abyss of the 11th hole with a yodeled "fore." Athletes also face-off against the elements at multiple holes where water, wind, and ball-thieving carbon molecules can come into play. Golfers can conclude an afternoon on the green by navigating the dog-leg left turn and water-flanked right side of the 18th hole.
With 8 years as a Navy man and 19 years as a martial artist under his belt, Jonathan Brown knows a thing or two about staying in shape. During his military career, he helped his fellow soldiers keep in peak physical condition with his training sessions. At Just Be Healthy, he widens the scope of his efforts to include civilians. With a healthy respect for physiology and the wisdom of a longtime athlete, he tempers his challenging workouts. "You shouldn't feel pain while working out," he says, "You put yourself at risk of injuring yourself. Workout at 85% at most. 75% is ideal."
Maintaining that level of intensity for one of Jonathan's entire workouts is still a no easy business. To help students stay energized, Jonathan turns to music. His workout soundtracks draw tunes from across continents and generations, as he plays everything from samba and capoeira's Brazilian rhythms to dubstep and metal.
Equipment: Bowflex Century Amber and Marcy
Students should bring: bottle of water and towel
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
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.
A 7,100-yarder with a par of 72, the course at Meadowbrook Farms Golf Club represents the design vision of famed PGA Tour champion Greg Norman, nicknamed “The Shark” for his tendency to chew a course's grass before deciding to play it. Norman’s own turf company supplied the hybrid Bermudagrass tees, fairways, and rough for the course, while Floradwarf constitutes the gently undulating and generously rewarding putting surfaces. This greenery is surrounded by native prairie grasses, wetlands, and wildflowers as well as a majestic hardwood forest.
Before tackling the course, players can bring their game up to speed at the club’s Player Development Center. The same GN-1 turf featured out on the course covers the tee areas at the driving range as well as the pitching greens and practice fairway. And all areas are stocked with towels and fresh water for drinking or dumping on your instructor when your swing finally clicks.