The batter casually taps the bottoms of his cleats with his bat, takes a warm-up swing, and steps into the batter’s box. He repeats this motion a couple more times, feeling the weight of the lumber in his hands. Knees slightly bent, the batter pulls the bat back and peers over his forward shoulder, eyes fixated on a small sphere as it rolls into the chamber of a pitching machine lying some 50 feet away. Suddenly, the machine launches the baseball from its metal clutches at a speed of up to 80 miles per hour, destined for the heart of the strike zone.
Such is the scene inside the batting cages at Camarillo Bat-R-Up, an indoor batting-practice facility. Ballplayers can choose from slow- and fast-pitch softball and baseball machines, which hurl strikes at 40, 60, or 80 miles per hour. Instructional sessions take place within the Pro Cage, where an ex-professional gives pointers on hip turns, waiting on strikes, and driving outside pitches to work in order to use the carpool lane.
Cradled amid the foothills of Canejo Mountain, Camarillo Spring Golf Course melds long par 3s and numerous water hazards to present an exacting test of golfers' accuracy. As the mountain peak looms above, players do their best to tune out the bewitching vista and launch balls along the nearly 7,000-yard layout before opponents' caddies can snatch them from the tee. Save for a few arid holes between holes 6 and 11, water hazards pepper the course, presenting no fewer than 12 opportunities to lose a ball to the depths.
Camarillo Springs Golf Course celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012, but the history of the land on which it sits stretches back much further. The 18 holes sprawl over a portion of the original 10,000-acre Camarillo Ranch—a Spanish land grant created in 1837.
Course at a Glance:
Nestled amid avocado and citrus groves that line the rolling fields of Ventura County, Sterling Hills Golf Club's 18-hole course pairs scenic terrain with an inventive design from Robert Muir Graves and Damian Pascuzzo. The 6,813-yard gem plays to a par 71 from the tips and features a multitude of green-side and fairway bunkers, including particularly well fortified putting surfaces on holes 5, 7, and 18, and six water hazards that threaten balls throughout the round. Before taking to the course, golfers can warm up at a driving range or by bench-pressing their golf bag at the practice green.
Course at a Glance:
Monarchs National Gymnastics Training Center furnishes the facilities and equipment necessary for young tumblers to develop their skills. The center staffs experienced coaches to teach students during sundry group classes that encourage camaraderie. Choose any four consecutive one-hour classes for aspiring Olympians or unwittingly aspiring Olympians, including co-ed kinder classes designed for ideally low-to-the-ground toddlers or a boys-and-girls tumbling session—for ages 6–18—that teaches kids the easiest ways to catapult themselves out of a room during awkward silences or boring lectures. All-girls and all-boys classes are available for kids aged 6–18, and a girls' cheer class prepares sprightly young ones for futures as high-school pep leaders.
Sifu Rick Ostrander and his staff of black-belt-wearing instructors teach self-defense techniques and bolster self-confidence in students as young as 3.5 years old. In addition to karate, the academy offers Kick-Robics, a kickboxing class that burns up to 800 calories per workout.
It's safe to say that Sasaki Kenpo Karate's staff of world- and national-champion black belts knows what its doing when it comes to martial arts. The instructors—many of whom have trained national and world champions themselves—pass along their knowledge to kids, teens, and adults during martial-arts classes that teach basic skills alongside discipline and sportsmanship. Some of the instructors even began as Sasaki Kenpo students themselves.
Along with martial-arts classes, instructors lead Kamikaze Conditioning classes and personal-training sessions, both of which focus on toning bodies and blasting calories.