Anne Cain, an LPGA instructor and one of Golf Magazine ’s Top 100 Teachers in America, refines students' swings with advanced training technology. During a one-hour lesson, Anne videotapes each student from three camera angles. Following each swing, a computer draws in reference lines, measures distances and angles, refigures all eight of Newton's laws, and displays side-by-side comparisons with professionals from a video library of over 2,000 swings. Using this data, Anne offers suggestions to improve her students' techniques. At the end of the lesson, each student receives a DVD of the footage, which should be bronzed immediately for decades of preservation. The 30-minute perfect practice session uses Hot Lines technology—a patented computer program that detects any flaws in a student's swing—to provide instant feedback: if the student makes a mistake, the golf ball drops away immediately, only to be replaced with a head-shaking effigy of Grover Cleveland, inventor of golf.
Trike flying sounds like a sport from a toddler’s daydream, but it’s actually an alternate name for powered hang gliding, Hang Glide USA’s specialty. The company’s gliders are outfitted with engines but can also fly with their engines off, riding wind currents over Amelia Island’s scenic beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. Wind ruffles passengers’ hair, thanks to the gliders’ open-air cockpits. And though they can try their hand at the controls, passengers are always accompanied by one of the company’s instructors. Every instructor has a perfect safety record and teaches passengers flying basics during airborne rides.
With help from a staff of paddleboarders, surfers, environmental scientists, and a dog named Dillon, Kayak Amelia founders Jody and Ray Hetchka combine their love for outdoor sports with environmental conservation. Ray, a certified naturalist and self-described tree hugger, peppers guided kayak, bicycle, and paddleboard eco tours with facts on flora, fauna, and all the best smells circulating throughout the island's delicate ecosystem. In addition to guided tours, Kayak Amelia teaches paddleboard and kayak lessons, and leads fishing trips and overnight kayak excursions. Guests can sign up for tours, or rent equipment for the day, at Kayak Amelia's storefront, Y.B. Green's General Store, which carries eco-friendly gifts such as beeswax candles, carved bone necklaces, and clay-dyed clothing.
The seasoned jumpers on staff at Skydive Amelia Island have all successfully completed thousands of jumps. The dedicated professionals securely strap themselves to beginning skydivers and plunge from a plane to enter a freefall of up to 120 miles per hour. These experienced skydivers hope their enthusiasm for diving is catching, as one of them says: “The falling is so exhilarating, I just wanted to keep on doing it”.
Club 14 Fitness' roster of trainers reads like the manifest of a submarine on its way to SEALAB III. It includes one University of Chicago educated biologist, one former Navy man, one chiropractor-turned-holistic healer, one nutritionist, and the first runner-up in the Mr. Wyoming bodybuilding competition. Together, they downright plaster the walls with all manners of certifications, issued by everyone from AFAA to CrossFit. They lean hard on their multifarious backgrounds to build personal-fitness regimens and a schedule of calorie-blasting classes, including a lineup of LesMills sessions, that firm up bodies more effectively than falling asleep in a cement mixer.
When not dancing or spinning through group fitness sessions, members can bolster heart rates in the cardio room, hoist free weights, or target hyper-specific muscle groups on the gym's cache of Star Trac equipment. Guests wind down in the wood-paneled sauna, slake thirst at the juice bar, or bronze up in the tanning bed. To make getting to the gym more accessible, Club 14 keeps kids entertained with childcare and pint-sized fitness programs, and keeps its doors open 24 hours. All of this earned the gym the Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year award in 2010.
Since 1959, Putt-Putt of Fernandina Beach has hosted friendly rounds of mini golf for families, leagues, and tournaments. Co-owner Aaron Bean was one such player—he began working at the putt-putt location as a teenager and still currently holds the course’s nine-hole record of 10 strokes and most convincing celebratory swan dive into the ocean, which is located just steps away. The course has also tested the putting prowess of players in the 2010 Sonny’s Florida State Putt-Putt Championship and 2011 Southern Putting Tour Championship.