The very first ATA Martial Arts opened in 1987, its 25 years of existence encapsulating the training of multiple generations of martial artists. Students trained, grew, had children of their own, and enrolled their kids at the same martial arts school they enjoyed as youths. The program of classes grew and evolved as well, starting with a foundation in taekwondo and growing to incorporate other styles and mixed martial arts training. The teachers now tone bodies using renowned MMA fighter Matt Hughes’ personal cage fitness regimen.
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:
Desert Skydiving Center carries people into the air in Cessna 182 and 206 planes and then sends them gleefully careening toward the ground. The center offers static parachuting, tandem jumping, and accelerated freefalls alongside experts. Participants can work with an instructor for 30-minutes to eight-hours, depending on the type of jump, before pulling on a parachute and jumping from two miles high. The ground grows rapidly as divers freefall with the wind whipping their faces before they pull the parachute cord and float to the ground or attempt to land on a passing goose.
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:
Designed by golf course architect Red Lawrence, Tres Rios Golf Course plots a 6,846-yard path through the lush foliage of Estrella Mountain Park. The 18-hole course is populated with budding eucalyptus trees and relatively sparse groves of mesquite and pine trees. The 471-yard, par-4 13th hole presents a lengthy dogleg left where sentient tree branches gobble up tee shots that drift into the rough on the right. Golfers can prepare for the round by warming up swings at Tres Rios's grass driving range or putting and chipping balls at the practice green.
Course at a Glance:
Presented in part by Dan Clark, also known as Nitro, of American Gladiator fame, the Gladiator Rock'n Run 6K pairs an obstacle-heavy running course with post-race entertainment, including beer, music, and food. Six kilometers’ worth of collective scampering awaits participants as muscle-testing obstacles impede progress to the finish line. Those prepared to race must dance through tires, army-crawl through mud, and clamber up rope ladders to avoid barrels thrown by giant apes. The roar of spectators rings throughout the course as bystanders cheer on runners to inspire strong finishes. Gladiator Rock'n Run proceeds go toward a good cause, helping to raise money for TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), an organization that provides education, support, and information to aid parents in helping their children diagnosed with autism.
When an attack comes, the ensuing hand-to-hand combat rarely remains on the vertical plane. That’s why the instructors at Phoenix BJJ & MMA Academy tout Brazilian jujitsu (BJJ) as the most effective form of defense—it emphasizes grappling on the ground. They guide students through flips, throws, chokes, and locks that return the advantage to the attacked using precise leverage and body position. In addition to BJJ, instructors also teach judo (another grappling art), wrestling, kickboxing, and classes specifically for kids and women.