John Hand had a theory: for any problem a person might have, someone in their local community has a solution. To that end, he founded Colorado Free University, continuing a tradition that began with the Denver Free University of the 1970s and early '80s. Whereas the Denver Free University was created as a political move to make education more accessible, the Colorado incarnation sets its sights on simple personal betterment, becoming more of a learning network than a school. All of its teachers are independent contractors culled from the local community, and together they helm skill-based and enrichment classes for adults, spanning a range of artistic, humanitarian, and business disciplines.
Students can receive training in foreign languages or ASL, business or digital marketing, or acting, visual arts, or woodworking. The school's facilities also accommodate CompuSkills computer-training classes, which progress from basic sessions in computer operation to advanced sessions in photoshopping a ghost out of a family portrait. There are cooking classes, foreign language courses, and style classes, all of which turn out well-rounded pupils. The campus's 89-seat John Hand Theater, meanwhile, hosts intimate performances from local Firehouse Theater Company and Spotlight Theatre Company.
Jason M. Anderson recognizes that hearing what's wrong with a golf swing is nowhere near as valuable as seeing what's wrong with the swing. That's why the Director of Instruction at Park Hill Golf Club's Tru Swing Golf Academy incorporates video analysis into each lesson, from one-on-one lessons to sessions with groups of four or more students. Jason also heads out onto the course alongside his pupils to engage in nine-hole playing lessons. The play-along format not only presents plenty of teachable moments but also reveals just how the player performs under pressure—which can only be measured on the driving range by blasting air-horns during each backswing.
With the aim of helping women learn golf fundamentals and find a network of like-minded players, golf visionary Nancy Collins founded the all-female league known as Sassy Golf. Throughout the week, members convene on different Denver-area golf courses to participate in stress-free nine-hole outings. Each round includes a 45-minute group lesson and concludes with a post-game gathering in the clubhouse to bond over divot-settling digestifs. The flexible scheduling allows busy members to register for the outings, clinics, and demonstrations that do not conflict with their personal schedules. In addition to ladies-only adventures, Sassy Golf coordinates monthly 18-hole coed outings during which the sun is converted into a giant disco ball. See the complete list of member benefits.
Nature meets the city at CommonGround Golf Course. As golf balls crest through the air, the verdant Colorado Front Range and the steely Denver skyline both stand proudly behind the 18-hole terrain. A lengthy undertaking at 7,229 yards from the back tees, the course was designed by architect Tom Doak—former student of the legendary course designer Pete Dye and creator of four courses currently listed among Golf Magazine’s top 100 in the world. Mr. Doak installed four sets of tees so that players of all skill levels could navigate the densely lush fairways, putt on the carpet-like greens, and sketch loving portraits of him into the frequent bunkers.
Alongside the 18-hole championship course lies the nine-hole par 3 course, a testament to CommonGround’s commitment to growing the game. Youngsters will enjoy the kid-friendly length, with holes averaging a shade over 100 yards.
Whether a touring professional or a casual amateur, Trackman technology manages to assist golfers shave strokes off their score. It performs this feat by reading swing and ball flight parameters while players hit shots on the range. The software provides feedback with an accuracy of within one foot at 100 yards, whether the shot is a 350-yard missile, a 150-yard iron approach, or a 30-yard pitch.
On the range at CommonGround Golf Course, Level 2 Trackman Certified Professional Tom Polifka harnesses Trackman's capabilities at Golf Flight Lab, LLC. He brings this technology to golfers so that they too can identify weak spots in their game, from too-high trajectories to slices that always seem to end up in the neighbor's windshield. As golfers hit range balls into the air, the technology measures and displays the full trajectory of any shot and presents the golfer with a long list of the shot's statistics including club speed, spin rate, and attack angle.
As night falls, participants in the noncompetitive Rave Run pull on neon T-shirts, don glow-in-the dark glasses, and stuff their pockets with glow sticks. Spectators look on as the throng of illuminated runners, which includes kids and adults, make their way through a 5-kilometer course that winds through city streets.
The event culminates with an after party, where a DJ spin tunes and powerful lasers cast out beams that illuminate wide smiles and the secret locations of any lost arks in the vicinity. Fog machines and CO2 jets help create a high-adrenaline atmosphere as attendees dance with their glow-in-the-dark compatriots. All the fun is for a good cause; The Rave Run partners with a local charity in each participating city.