The seasoned outdoors enthusiasts at Oak Creek Sporting Club shepherd guests through enjoyable outings of clay shooting on scenic courses, well-equipped stands, and stunning heartland-prairie vistas. The meticulously groomed grounds and more than 20 automated shooting stations in the sporting-clay course replicate countless natural shots encountered in the field, from migrating geese gracefully landing in a pond, to ceramic dishes haphazardly frisbeed into the sunset. During a two-person two-hour outing, a guide with more than five years of shooting experience carts visitors through the beautiful upland fields and ponds of Oak Creek, helping patrons lock on to soaring targets at shooting stations at the course or stands. The 5-stand challenges shotgunning skills with new computerized Promatic target machines, which hurl disks in a variety of shots, including outgoing, incoming, springing teal, left crossing, right crossing, and teleporting.
Until the mid '90s, a ball hit at River Wilds Golf Club could travel thousands of yards?that is, if it happened to fall into a cockpit at the adjacent Blair Airport. But then the airport moved away, and the course, originally opened in 1944 as a private club, expanded from 9 to 18 holes and became public. The tarmac hazards are no longer there, but the course still challenges players with trees, bunkers, and a meandering creek. The par 72 championship course spreads to a full length of 6,562 yards from the back tees, with an additional two sets to accommodate all skill levels.
To ready themselves for this challenge, players can practice on a range with an 80-yard tee line, the longest in both Nebraska and Iowa. The natural grass tee boxes are rotated daily to keep the sod fresh and prevent emotional attachment with any particular divot.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,562 yards from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole
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Stalking through the prairie grass, a guide leads his labrador retriever and a hunter into a stretch of foothills. They hear a rustling ahead, prompting them to pause. Peering through the brush, they see a bird with red plumage around its eye, a green head, and a white ring around its neck—the distinguishing marks of a pheasant. The hunter readies his gun, the labrador poises, and both wait for the guide's signal.
The hunting guides at Pheasant Bonanza lead hunters through experiences like these and ready them for similar outings with sport shooting. The sporting-clay course, for example, supplies beginning through advanced shooters with 20 stations whose targets simulate the movements of animals such as quail and rabbits. To further sharpen hunters' aim, the guides also oversee trap, skeet, five-stand, and snooker ranges. This diversity of shooting scenarios prepares clients for guided hunting trips—which include the retrieval and tracking service of trained labradors or german shorthaired pointers—on Pheasant Bonanza's grounds. Spanning hundreds of acres in the Loess Hills, the grounds sustain game such as pheasant, waterfowl, whitetail deer, wild turkey, and rogue Yahtzee dice.
The lodge accommodates guests on extended trips, surrounding them with rustic touches such as a stone fireplace, knotty-pine paneling, and furniture upholstered in hunters' orange. Further services range from expert advice at the pro shop to Pheasant Bonanza's boarding, training, and breeding programs for hunting dogs.
Picturesque prairie vistas welcome visitors to Elkhorn Valley Golf Club, which challenges golfers with a par-70 course designed by Duane Mines. Carts voyage past verdant fairways as golfers send balls soaring over grasping grass traps and pools of water with precise drives and well-practiced telekinesis. Players master their short-game skills upon the practice field's chipping and putting greens, and guests may equip themselves for the field with accessories, clubs, and apparel from the pro shop. After a long day of sending dimpled spheroids sailing toward the horizon, visitors share laughs over delicious meals at the clubhouse.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.