Tree Tops Golf curates competitive fun and practice at a sprawling facility that encompasses a driving range, a miniature golf course, and batting cages. Airborne golf shots take flight at the driving range, where grass tees appeal to those who prefer a natural feel and artificial hitting mats cater to prima donna pitching wedges that demand a perfect lie every time.
A canopy of vibrant palms forms cool shadows over the 18-hole mini-golf course as putters tap orbs across a winding circuit of artificial turf lined with brick rails and rocky outcrops. Two Iron Mike pitching machines lob high-arching, slow-pitch softballs in two batting cages, helping batters to prepare for their next opportunity to ruin a water-balloon-toss competition.
Sweetwater Golf & Country Club's 18-hole Highlands Course weaves over 6,771 yards of fairways and greens stitched by mature oaks. The player-friendly, par 72 course puts clubbers face to face with the Loch Ness Monster—which is the name bestowed upon the course's signature hole, a 625-yard par five that double-doglegs around a lake. Golfers can prepare for their round with a stint at the club's driving range, where practice balls await to be launched in the stratosphere while commenting on the tense relationship between golf balls and sheets of glass. The club fosters more competitive fun at its tennis complex, which boasts eight lighted, outdoor Har-Tru—green clay—tennis courts.
After a day spent reading putts or thrashing forehands, guests can unwind at one of the club's three dining facilities. The relaxed vibes of the Fife & Drum Pub and the Carnoustie Café welcome casually-clad guests fresh off the course, and the more formal, chandelier-lit confines of the Highlands Dining Room provides an apropos backdrop for dinner parties or a romantic setting for date night for golfers and their caddy.
When picking the location for the championship course at Zellwood Station Golf Club, architect George Maddox discovered hilly terrain not often seen at Floridian links. He made the most of this undulating ground as he designed four doglegs that loop around a dry lake, nicknamed Crater Junction, and also devised a treacherous ninth hole. Known as the Train Wreck, this obstacle is infamous for its long fairway and sharp dogleg left. Today, head golf professional Christopher C. Tyler presides over the course’s bermuda-grass fairways and its expansive greens, which putt fast and true. Before facing down the landscape, golfers can figure out which of their balls are afraid of heights by sending them flying from one of a dozen hitting stations at the driving range.
Despite its impressive course and welcoming clubhouse, Zellwood Station Golf Club isn’t resting on its laurels; the club has plans to debut four new holes, a 10,000-square-foot practice chipping-and-putting facility, and a new driving range before the end of 2012.
While most people’s biggest water-related fear might be sharks, Phil Pektas's was children. Not the kids themselves, of course, but the prospect of teaching them. This terror first surfaced when he was tapped to fill in for the Pre-K instructor at the swim school where he taught. Fortunately, he conquered that fear during the very first lesson and 20 years later is still introducing young people to the necessary skills for ensuring safe, aquatic fun. Pektas and his staff of American Red Cross–, CPR-, and First-Aid- certified instructors use activities, toys, and analogies to improve performance in the pool. With games such as Bird Catcher, kids will learn how to control their breathing and hunt for sub-aquatic fowl indigenous to chlorinated pools.
Meet Nannette. She's a former professional ballroom competitor with a slew of competition wins under her belt, but that's not as important as what she'll do for you. Alongside her staff of similarly talented dancers, Nannette cultivates a fun, inclusive, and laid back atmosphere while helping students perfect their ballroom footwork with classes in popular styles such as swing, waltz, tango, and cha-cha. Men, women, and even children learn how to twist and spin at all of Nannette's six locations, where guests can get exercise, relieve stress, and meet new dance-savvy people while having fun. The studio also offers private lessons in clients' homes or in their favorite supermarket aisles.