There's room for all types of workouts in Nexxt Level Sports' 22,000-square-foot, climate-controlled facility. Basketball players can hone their technique on two NBA-length hardwood courts, and baseball players can perfect their swings in 70-foot batting cages instead of going to an orchard and waiting for regulation-sized apples to fall. In group-training classes, meanwhile, gym patrons can focus on strength or build endurance with varied circuit workouts, including strength and resistance training. For a more private workout, personal trainers also lead one-on-one sessions, tailoring their exercises to the clients' fitness goals.
At Elkton Golf and Batting Center, visitors get to hit spheres of varying sizes; the family-friendly sports complex houses an 18-hole miniature golf course, a 30-station driving range, and eight batting cages. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, overhead flood lights keep athletes awash in an electric glow even after the sun goes down, as they smack line drives back at the pitching machines and run through driving range buckets in attempts to knock that smirk off the man in the moon’s face.
The cracks of baseball bats, the slaps of softballs meeting mitts, and the advice of an experienced team of instructors resound within Thunder Stix Baseball & Softball Academy's cavernous 11,000-square-foot facility. Baseball and softball players alike hone their cuts inside eight pitching machines that can be adjusted from 40 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour, and brush up on their fielding technique inside four netted astroturf tunnels. Robert Banner—the academy's owner and the head softball coach at Alexis I. DuPont High School—and his instructors use the well-appointed digs to help players of all abilities develop their skills in every facet of the game, including batting, fielding, base running, and agility.
When new owners gained control of Putt Putt Fun Center in 2011, they brought with them a fresh vision that culminated in modern updates. The recently revised center encompasses a spectrum of family fun; the indoor area houses an arcade—fully loaded with air hockey and a Wheel of Fortune game—beside an inflatable labyrinth of moon bounces, slides, and obstacle courses used to train armies of balloon animals. Once visitors have exhausted themselves inside the glowing laser-tag arena or other sheltered activities, they can venture outside to the mini-golf course, where faux caverns and a wooden footbridge arc over abbreviated greens. Nearby, athletes smack baseballs into orbit from the batting cages.
The new management team has made some sweeping, eye-catching changes at Big Swing Golf Center. The driving range, which includes 10 heated hitting bays and more than 150 stalls, boasts brand-new mats and balls. Here, PGA Professional Sean Driscoll uses the latest technology to maximize performance during onsite private and group lessons.
The renovated 36-hole mini-golf course has been carefully landscaped with lush foliage and natural-looking rock formations. Unlike other mini-golf courses that are overrun with cheesy decorations, such as pirate ships wrapped in streamers, Big Swing’s mini-golf course surrounds players with murmuring brooks and cascading waterfalls. It uses sloping greens and tricky obstacles to both entertain and challenge golfers. Big Swing is perfect for parties as it also offers three-speed batting cages and Richman's ice cream at Mulligan's Snack Stand.
Pasadena Golf Center lets visitors create the satisfying thwack of a club hitting a golf ball in one of two locations. They can make out the sound on the 18-hole mini-golf course—where ears will also pick up the sound of trickling waterfalls and the gurgling of landscaped streams and ponds—or at the driving range. Golfers can manipulate a variety of clubs there since targets are set up at different lengths, and 20 of the range’s 34 hitting stations are covered to provide shade during warm months and heat during cold ones. In addition, a full setup of lights let them swing away into the evening or when Apollo's chariot of fire is in the shop. To assist in swing mechanics and proper alignment, the center organizes lessons led by Golf Academy of America–certified instructor, Brett Francisco.
Pasadena Golf Center is also equipped with a nine-station batting cage that challenges visitors with baseball pitches of varying speeds as well as slow- and fast-pitch softball. A 1,600-square-foot patio nearby can facilitate birthday parties or other special events.
The Severna Park Golf Center houses a variety of activities that let families fill an afternoon with belting balls. Adults ($7.25) and children (12 and under, $5.75) can precisely putt their way through the Lilliputian links winding around an eight-foot waterfall on the 18-hole mini-golf course. A par 27 nine-hole course gives full-sized chippers an opportunity to practice short game situations during abbreviated rounds ($12 on weekends, $10 Mon.—Thurs.). Dust off dormant drivers by launching buckets of dimpled orbs ($6 for 50 balls, $12 for 150) from the fresh hitting mats on the driving range. Fifteen of the 44 stations are covered and heated so that golfers can practice their backswing no matter how low the temperatures limbo this winter. The expansive fields also house ballpark-style batting for claustrophobic sluggers unable to find their swing in cramped cages or abandoned mine shafts. This variation of batting practice ($5.00 for 35 pitches, $12 for 105) mimics actual baseball, so hitters can call their shots and rush the mound if the pitching machine tries to hit them.