Nestled in a gently rolling valley of the Rocky Mountain foothills, Raccoon Creek takes golfers meandering across 7,045 yards of fairways dotted with scenic water hazards. To compensate for its somewhat sparse tree lines, the course’s fairways and greens are flanked with a multitude of cavernous bunkers that—unlike guessing where the plumber hid the toilet seat—challenges players without sacrificing fun. Glassy waters and sprawling golf-ball beaches wreathe the green at the 17th hole, creating a daunting tee shot that earned it the distinction of the course’s signature hole. For those who prefer to cruise the links in a cozy conveyance, Raccoon Creek’s carts are all equipped with GPS technology, which keeps players abreast of the whereabouts of upcoming greens, intervening hazards, and heist-planning squirrels. A fully stocked pro shop, driving range, and scenic restaurant round out Raccoon Creek’s course-side facilities.
Gates Tennis Center boasts 20 public-access courts and a skilled staff of international pros and former world-ranked racqueteers. Fledgling forehanders are separated by skill—beginner, intermediate, and advanced—and taught in 6:1 student-to-teacher groups, affording players plenty of room to spread sphere-swiping wings. A trio of one-hour swat-athons instill beginners with basic baseline skills, and veteran volleyers fine-tune careening crosscourt shots and lofting lobs.
SwimLabs Swim School’s instructors have two priorities: teaching kids and adults how to swim and helping competitive swimmers optimize their strokes. In addition to CPR and first-aid certifications backed by years of experience, the instructors are aided by swimming-pool technology. Their private and small-group lessons take place in SwimLabs Pools with adjustable currents, each about 10’x16’ and heated to 90–92 degrees to prevent polar-bear infestations. The custom currents can give beginner students a boost or challenge advanced swimmers with more forceful resistance waves. As swimmers paddle against the current, the staff records their strokes with Dartfish video technology. They then analyze the results together, comparing the swimmer’s form to a video of proper technique.
A South Suburban Parks and Recreation course, Family Sports Golf Course showcases a nine-hole, par 31 layout that loops around a two-tier driving range. True to its name, the course caters to all members of the family, including seasoned adults practicing their short game touch, beginning juniors making a smooth foray into the game, and grandmothers looking to back up claims of 350-yard drives. Renovated in 2009, the two-tier driving range invites players to hone their stroke on one of 25 grass tees or 30 tees that are covered, lighted, and heated year-round.
Martin Percival starred in the principal role for Michael Flatley's North America–touring Lord of the Dance and played the original Flatley role of "the lord." This knight in tights and his lovely team of jig-jumping instructors will lay down the law of rhythm and greens with beginner-level dances like the reel and light jig.