A golf getaway for clubbers of all abilities, The Georgia Trail encompasses a nine-hole executive course, an outdoor miniature-golf course, practice facilities, and a full-service dining area. The executive course traverses 2,254 yards of diverse terrain, where five par 3s beckon to players seeking their first hole-in-one, and four par 4s?including one that measures a relatively lengthy 436 yards?ensure that drivers' self-esteem won't deflate from a day of inactivity. A 2.5-acre lake and multiple streams and ponds loom near critical landing zones on all but three holes, placing a premium on pinpoint drives or 9-irons that double as snorkels. Alongside the course rests a 25-station, all-grass driving range, where players can hone their orb-blasting form before a round.
The Champions Trail putting course challenges players across a par 42 layout that emulates a full 18-hole course with hazards that include bunkers, fairways, rough, and out-of-bounds areas. Putt-putt posses roll orbs across lush synthetic grass, which deftly stands in for natural grass as its kempt hedges beckon to lonely lawn mowers. After a long day of driving, putting, and kicking balls across the multifaceted facility, guests can retreat to Augusta's Restaurant and look out over their conquered terrain as they enjoy entrees and drinks from the full-service bar.
?So many people go through life looking at things without really seeing them,? muses Mary Buck, founder of Studio 2.8. Her mission as a teacher is twofold: to help her pupils see things and to help them share what they see with others. ?Photography lets you paint with light,? she tells her classes, ?but you have to go in with a vision.? She gives her pupils the tools to realize their visions during workshops that delve into all facets of digital photography, from the basics of adjusting f-stop to the advanced skills needed to capture a delicious smell of pixels.
It isn't surprising that Buck is a photography teacher; photography runs in her blood. Both of her siblings and her sister-in-law are skilled photographers, and she's been aiming her own lens at subjects since she was just 18. As a professional, her talent for catching dimples and laughter has led to portraits that families can pass down to new generations or Earth-conquering aliens. Seventeen years after starting her own studio, her passion for the art form has only grown, and her enthusiasm for sharing what she calls ?that fire in my belly? with her students still burns strong.
Carrying the praises of OpenTable diners as the winner of Best Overall restaurant, Best Ambiance, and Best Food, Park Café's executive chef Michael Ganley is no stranger to success. He has honed his skills in the kitchen for more than 17 years, most recently as Executive Chef of The Ritz Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan. Arriving in Duluth in 2004, Ganley brought with him his years of experience perfecting European culinary techniques, crafting a menu of elegant twists on Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes layered with slabs of warm, creamy brie.
Nestled inside the Knox House—originally erected in 1899 for the first Mayor of Duluth, John Knox—Park Café's refurbished interior remains true to the home's 19th-century character. Largely original hardwood floors and paneled walls lend a quaint charm to the romantic simplicity of the dining rooms, where tables draped in crisp linen glow beneath flickering candles and diners’ recently whitened teeth.
Hittersbox Baseball lets hitters battle against pros without ever leaving the batting cage. With its ProBatter PX2 Professional Baseball System—one of several training tools used by major leaguers—a virtual pitcher winds up just as a ball is launched through a hole in the video screen by a pitching machine hidden behind it. For a greater challenge, batters can change the location, pitch type, and sequence of pitches, or just close their eyes.
After practice, Pro Mirror video training allows players to relive their swings and analyze any pitfalls by watching five minutes of batting-cage video. These modern takes on traditional baseball practice, which Hittersbox coaches use for beginners and serious players alike, boast approval from owner Jasha Balcom, a former Chicago Cub, as well as an elite list of major-league clients.
Fitness Together is all about synergy. Specialized in one-on-one training, the center’s certified trainers design fitness programs that unite strength training, cardio routines, and nutrition plans that work together to catalyze weight loss. The plans’ strength-training component, dubbed Aspire 8, fuses resistance training and cross training to build solid core muscles without ever having to tear a phonebook in half. During Cardio Together regimens, the trainers get patrons’ heart rates pumping with a mix of aerobic workouts. Finally, the education-oriented Nutrition Together programs teach patrons how to make more healthy food choices, leading to a lifetime of nutritious eating habits.
From Paragon Golf Center's multifaceted practice complex, Peter Yum improves pupils' swings by channeling wisdom accrued from a junior golf career and time spent under the tutelage of Tom Ness and Ben Doyle, two of golf’s most revered instructors. Peter dissects swings from the comfort of a covered 90-stall driving range with heaters, fans, and automated tee technology that raises golf balls onto hitting mats on command or in exchange for a shiny divot tool. While tweaking their swings, golfers can look at their reflection in stall-side mirrors, helping them better grasp Peter’s corrective advice on how to properly strike the ball or bedazzle their golf glove.