Staffed by experienced coaches and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics, GolfTEC’s motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display to get results. Sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke. GolfTEC’s certified personal coaches will point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips on how to permanently improve their game from tee to green.
When attempting to hit a baseball traveling 90 mph or faster, every fraction of a second matters. That’s why Baseball Vision Program’s hitting guru Chris McKnight emphasizes the process of seeing the ball as the pitcher delivers it and tracking it on its way to the strike zone—the earlier a player’s eyes “pick up” the ball, the more time he or she has to react. By training players’ eyes and the reactions of their hands to be in unison, Chris gives them a valuable tool not just at the plate, but in the field. A veteran coach with experience as a manager in the NCAA and as a scout, Chris has developed successful training methods with more than 3,000 students.
Along with his dogs Hazel and Gus, Wisconsin Adventures LLC's owner Rodrigo Camacho leads hunting groups in search of quail, pheasants, grouse, and other upland birds. Their quests take them across south-central Wisconsin's scenic countryside, which is a mixture of sprawling cropland, open fields, and densely wooded terrain. Because most hunts take place on privately owned farms, they don't require licenses or permits, which allows Mr. Camacho to accommodate everyone from first-timers to reincarnations of Davy Crockett. Mr. Camacho can also set up clay-shooting targets and train dogs in the arts of pointing and flushing.
Hitters SportsPlex is a 50,000-square-foot sports complex that gives aspiring sluggers the opportunity to train year-round in pristine indoor facilities. With three baseball cages and pitching machines capable of firing stitched orbs at adjustable speeds and emulating up to six different pitches, batters can perfect their swing against throws of all degrees of difficulty. Athletes can also hone their talents in climate-controlled, hi-tech practice facilities for tennis, indoor golf, and pickleball—a combination of ping-pong and tennis that's played on a giant plate next to a giant hamburger.
On June 30, 1904 Col. William and Anna Vilas donated a tract of land to become a public park and free recreational space in memory of their son, Henry, who died due to complications from diabetes at a young age. They added numerous improvements over the decade and in 1911, the Henry Vilas Zoo gained its first animal exhibits. Today, the zoo covers 30 acres and features a number of creatures from around the world, ranging from the vanishing chimpanzee and endangered red panda to locals such as the great horned owl and american alligator. The zoo also remains one of the few free AZA-accredited zoos across the country.
Leading up to and following the zoo's centennial, the ReZOOvenation project has expanded the visitor areas, replacing the entrance and gift shop and adding a tropical-rainforest aviary and big-cat complex. A variety of annual events are scheduled, including Halloween at the Zoo, with costumes and stops for sustainable palm-oil candy, and earth day, when children can plant trees to help lower the global temperature just enough for icicles to form. The zoo’s many conservation projects also engage the public in protecting the environment and its inhabitants by installing solar-energy panels, sponsoring trips to save endangered orangutans, and collecting old cell phones.
Since the 1950s, Wingra Boats has outfitted groups and individuals for treks along the serene, wake-free Lake Wingra with their fleet of water vessels. Starting out with a small squad of canoes, the company has grown to include more than 100 canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats across two locations. In addition to supplying rentals, the staff keep limbs limber with yoga—performed on dry land or atop paddleboards—and strengthens cores with standup paddleboard lessons. Youngsters get in on the action during camp sessions, where they learn to cast, reel, and ask fishes for any seven cards, or paddle aboard kayaks and canoes. The staff also lead guided tours and birding expeditions, and tuck boats away for the off-season with docking and storage services.
All of Badgerland Bowling Centers' six locations have a lot in common. At each location, groups hurtle colorful balls down slick, glossy lanes, refueling at an onsite restaurant between matches. All of the alleys host birthday, work, and fundraising parties and tournaments such as the Badgerland Bowling 300 Club—which has doled out more than $35,000 in cash prizes since 2002—and the Badgerland Open, which welcomed 113 competitors in 2011, one of whom snagged a grand prize of $500 and 1,000 bragging rights.
But like sextuplets working undercover for the CIA, each center also maintains a unique identity. At Badger Bowl in Madison, live musicfloods the lanes on weekends, and dancers jump and jive on West Coast Swing nights on Wednesday. Nearby at Dream Lanes, laser and disco lights slice through fog amid thundering music during Ultra Bowling every Friday and Saturday evening.