Offering an around-the-clock workout venue for casual calisthenics crackerjacks and veteran muscle architects alike, Fitness Premier provides gymgoers with a vast array of up-to-date equipment. A 2,000-square-foot free-weight area offers plenty of space to perfect squats or run a solo barbell relay, and more than 50 cardio machines cut down on treadmill lines and elliptical queues. Fledgling fitness-seekers are also privy to four sessions of small-group training, which put its students through the bodily wringer in an encouraging communal workout environment that’s infinitely preferable to working out in a colony of hive-minded, man-sized ants.
Hale Irwin recognizes that most golf courses have only one signature hole. But you don’t win the U.S. Open three times and rack up 87 professional victories in a storied PGA career by doing what everybody else does. So when Mr. Irwin unveiled his design for The Links at Cottonwoods in March of 1998, he included two signature holes: the 13th, a par 5 extending to a whopping 600 yards, and the 16th, a par 3 with a nerve-racking island green. In 2012, readers of Golf Digest presented Mr. Irwin with a 4.5-star rating in the magazine’s “Best Places to Play” section for his audacious design and willingness to flout convention.
His distinctive pair of holes highlights a pristine, 18-hole stretch of Scottish-style links, complete with wide fairways pestered by strong seasonal winds but free of wandering sheep that chew on argyle socks. As players chase dimpled orbs across the Meyer Zoysia fairways and tap them over the Champion Bermuda greens, they’ll encounter water-bordering play on more than half of the holes.
Course at a Glance:
More than 600 acres of picturesque wetlands and forests serve as a backdrop to Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center's shooting range and sporting clay-shooting course. In this environment, staff experts are at the ready to provide personal instruction and lead guided hunts of deer, quail, and dove. Nearby, Harrah's Tunica's many amenities include several restaurants and a comedy club.
The interactive exhibits and programs compiled by the Pink Palace Family of Museums reinforce a mission that has stayed constant for 80 years: to "inspire people to learn how history, science, technology, and nature shape the Mid-South." Attached to Clarence Saunders' mansion built in the 1920s, the museum's permanent exhibits take an eclectic approach to chronicling the past, revealing everything from ancient fossils to contemporary southern history. Inside, visitors can chart the history of Memphis from the early Spanish explorers through the Civil War or walk through a replica of Saunders' original Piggly Wiggly—the country’s first self-service grocery store, and even see a shrunken head. Global adventures are chronicled on a four-story screen at the CTI-IMAX theater, and the Sharpe Planetarium explores the cosmos from the comfort of a 130-seat theater.
Traveling to east Memphis, one can discern the natural side of the Pink Palace Family of Museums. Lichterman Nature Center encompasses 65 acres of lush gardens filled with native wildflowers, trees, and wildlife. The center combines self-guided nature walks with plant sales and educational activities to expose visitors to the natural world.
In January 2012, Amanda Gonzales and Edgar Mendez—a former principal dancer and choreographer for the Los Rumberos dance company—founded Madison Dance Studio to share their love of rhythmic movement with all ages. The duo and their team of talented instructors lead classes, including salsa and hip-hop, atop of a wood floor illuminated by floating party lights. In addition to helming belly-dance sessions, they channel Latin-inspired dance moves and global party beats in Zumba fitness classes. Amanda encourages ladies to confidently express themselves on club dance floors during her signature Hip Hop in Heels class.
After all hips have been shimmied and snaked according to U.S. government standards, students and instructors can rest atop the cushy sectional sofa while admiring the sky-blue chevron murals, which add a modern vibe to the room's exposed brick.
Range USA brings together the local community of shooting enthusiasts on its range and during special events while welcoming new marksmen with informative and confidence-bolstering classes. The 20,000-square-foot Memphis facility houses a shooting range divided into two climate-controlled areas—one with nine lanes at 50 feet deep, the other with 14 lanes at 82 feet deep—with one of the two areas always open to the public. Further afield, Range USA's team also operates a 10-lane shooting gallery in Jackson. Besides overseeing the ranges, the staff also teaches classes, from basic handgun and advanced tactical training to women-only and youth programs. A FAQ page anticipates visitors' questions, such as "What calibers are allowed on the shooting range?" and "Do you have ear muffs to match my belt buckle?" When spending a day at Range USA, the facility's own 1776 Deli & Eatery keeps hunger from interfering with focus.