In 2010, 2-year-old Ella McPheeters was diagnosed with autism. Her parents, Hope and Sam, soon became frustrated with the long waiting lists for behavioral-therapy programs and other services and decided to do something about it. They rallied the local community and won a Pepsi Refresh Project grant to found Ella's Hope for Autism. Ella’s Hope aims to raise awareness of autism and increase the availability of therapeutic resources for young children with autism-spectrum disorders. Working with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Ella's Hope also sponsors scholarships for families and maintains an autism lending library.
At DeCarlo's Bar and Grill, chefs take an innovative approach to burger making. Rather than piling toppings on the outside of the burger, they stuff flavorful ingredients—such as pepper jack cheese, bacon, or jalapenos—directly between two quarter-pound patties. These signature burgers ooze juicy fillings and gossip with every bite, and they star on a menu of pub fare also populated by hearty sandwiches, fried appetizers, customized pizzas, and a variety of draft beers and cocktails.
The lavish, rippling greens of The Links at Dardenne challenge club wielders with a links-style design, expansive fairways, and an arsenal of hazards. Each hole comes equipped with multiple sets of tees that cater to players of all abilities and the signature par 5 18th hole provides a majestic countryside view for dimpled spheres before they are caught by dual water hazards and baseball-glove-touting wildwood. Cruise the course's quaint contours and spot the preserved habitats of indigenous waterfowl and deer, masterfully avoiding stepping on cracks that break mothers' backs by rolling over them (mothers, that is) in the included golf cart. After rounds, players can absorb a panoramic view of the manicured battlegrounds from The Links' spacious clubhouse.
Under the able tutelage of Ozzie Smith's Sports Academy's helpful instructors, athletes can build up speed, agility, and endurance while increasing confidence and honing their skills at baseball, softball, basketball, football, and soccer—either privately or in groups. Get individual attention in a half-hour private single softball lesson ($40), rent out a batting cage for one hour ($35), or sign up budding basketball stars ages 10–17 for a skill-focused basketball clinic ($25 each). Ozzie Smith's also offers camps, leagues, and private instruction for soccer contenders of all ages. Underlying all of Ozzie Smith’s Sports Academy's instructional lessons is a commitment to physically and mentally elevating every athlete to his or her full potential through hard work, dedication, and practice.
Golf Headquarters attracts golfers of all stripes with three courses, including the 18-hole executive Pheasant Run Golf Course, an 18-hole pitch-and-putt course, and an 18-hole miniature-golf course. The par 57 Pheasant Run Golf Course challenges players to send orbs spinning past bunkers and water hazards even after the sun has set, when lights illuminate the zoysia fairways for golfers who haven’t yet acquired an owl familiar to guide them through the night. When winter blows in, players can take to the driving range, where 12 of the 40 hitting stations are covered and heated, and aim balls toward raised target greens. At the clubhouse, a 2,500-square-foot pro shop nestles alongside the Roost, where guests can perch at a horseshoe-shaped oak bar or rest by a gas fireplace on the patio as they drink in views of golfers sprinting across the finish line at the 18th hole.
More casual players can tackle the pitch-and-putt course, where balls must cross distances of 40–100 yards to reach the full-size greens, or hone their short game at the miniature-golf course, dotted with serene ponds, streams, and waterfalls.