Ground Control’s cuisine reflects the cosmopolitan lifestyle of its owner, Sean, who offsets his nightly bartending with daily travels as a professional pilot. He and his wife, Tara, have also lived abroad, a sojourn that developed their taste for European dining. Now settled in Arizona, executive chef Chris Ibarra still satisfies their cravings—and those of their patrons—with scoops of house-made gelato atop stuffed crepes, short ribs braised in Guinness, and custom wood-fired pizzas crowned in ingredients such as roma tomatoes, duck, and gouda. Open for three meals a day, the eatery also anoints glasses with exotic ingredients by serving rich espresso drinks, creative cocktails, and sippy cups of water from the Fountain of Youth. Live music fills the space every Friday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race sends runners into an obstacle-filled odyssey of muddy endurance. The 5-kilometer course features more than epic 25 obstacles, with participants scaling towers of stacked shipping containers, crawling through underground tunnels, and leaping over fire. After the race, live music and cold beer invite triumphant runners to unwind. Those with excess energy can head over to even more kinetic activities such as mechanical bull riding, beach volleyball, and adult-sized bounce houses.
Village Health Clubs & Spas are one-stop shops for fitness training, spa services, and amenity-stuffed facilities. One month of access to their four locations allows visitors to use the Village fitness equipment, clean up in the available locker rooms, shoot hoops on basketball courts, swim in lap pools, and much more. The two-week guided fitness program kick-starts fitness routines long stymied by malaise, time constraints, and road-blocking donut holes; with the aid of a helpful Village staff member, you'll get started by figuring out precisely where your goals and interests lie on the muscle map. A nutrition warm-up will educate you in the ways of healthy food choices, and a 60-minute fitness intro with a certified personal trainer will get hearts pumping and tendons quivering. You'll also be introduced to the vast panoply of available cardio equipment and group yoga and Pilates classes. Finally, "adventure time" commences with a workout, hike, bike ride, or round of tennis, the sport most avidly followed by excitable canines.
The 6th hole at Sundance Golf Club may be easy on the eyes, but it can be hard on a golfer’s scorecard. As the course’s signature hole, the 175-yard par-three requires a tee shot over the placid waters of Sundance Lake in order to reach a multi-tiered green. It may sound simple, but the considerable length from tee to green and the psychological challenge of the water hazard is a formidable combination—so much so that legendary course designer Greg Nash decided there was no need to add any greenside bunkers or trap-doors to the layout. The 6th hole is one of only two holes that have water in play—the rest of the 6,944-yard, par 72 layout ripples through desert tundra and arroyos, a mostly flat expanse that offers endless views of the White Tank Mountains to the north and the Estrella Mountains in the south.
To help golfers prepare for their round, Sundance Golf Club offers a driving range, a putting green, and a staff of PGA pros eager to assist in golf lessons. After a day at the links, visitors can unwind over a burger and a beverage at the Crooked Putter Restaurant, which is named after the only kind of eating utensil the restaurant offers.
Course at a Glance:
Raven Golf Club at Verrado’s 18-hole course paints a bright chartreuse stripe through the desert foothills of the White Tank Mountains. The design team of British Open winner Tom Lehman and architect John Fought thought up the course’s tricky landscape, which makes players work hard to keep their dimpled orbs on the carpet-like fairway grass, away from the three nearby lakes, and out of the hands of jugglers roaming the desert. Since its opening in 2005, the course has garnered much praise for its pristine beauty and its challenging, more than 7,000-yard layout, including being named the top course in Phoenix by Sports Illustrated and a Top 10 New Course by Golfweek.
Course at a Glance:
In their youth, Paul Fratella and Anthony Guerriero met as coworkers at a restaurant. They discussed their hopes of someday opening an eatery of their own. But as time went on, they drifted apart in life. Fratella continued along in the restaurant business, working at locations in Utah, Indiana, and Florida. Guerriero went on to work in refrigeration, and eventually traveled to Spain to study international business. And then, nearly two decades after their first pipe-dream discussions, they reconnected. With Guerriero’s business savvy and Fratella’s experience opening restaurants, the two finally had the blueprint that would breathe life into Caballero Grill.
Southwestern flavors give an edge to the eatery's American grill fare. Chefs cook steaks, burgers, and chicken breasts on a kettle grill fueled with pecan wood, which imbues each dish with a unique smoky flavor. A ceviche bar allows diners to customize their own selection of marinated fresh fish, and Sunday brunch sets out popular entrées alongside a seafood bar rich with shrimp and mussels. And though Fratella and Guerriero carefully curate their entire menu, one dish in particular holds a special place in the owners’ hearts, according to AZCentral.com. Manny’s empanadas, named for their late friend Manuel De Jesus Cabrera, commemorate their lost comrade with a recipe given to them by Manuel’s mother.