Named as a favorite golf range in 2009 by Golf Digest, Mariners Point offers 64 well-manicured practice stalls, including natural grass and a challenging 9-hole, par 3 course. The double-decker driving range features on-site professionals, high-quality range balls, and power tees that automatically tee up the ball. Use the range card to purchase driving ammunition in small ($7 for 60 balls), medium ($11 for 105 balls), or large ($13 for 165 balls) baskets. Golfers receive 10 additional balls for visiting the range before 11 a.m. on weekdays. Clearly defined target greens and easy-to-read yardage markers make for far easier practice than aiming for the blowholes of passing belugas. When it’s game time, players can hit the course for a round of golf. Drivers, putters, and severely confused baseball players are treated to breathtaking San Francisco Bay views from each of the nine greens.
As strobe lights slice across the stage, masked dancers descend from scaffolding and undulate to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” Minutes later, a troupe of 6-year-olds takes to the same stage in traditional Indian shalwar, or loose trousers, and launch into a frenetic dance set to fast-paced bhangra music. These divergent routines—performed at Mona Khan Company’s student showcase—hint at the scope of dance styles that instructors bring to their classes. Though traditional folk and classical South Asian dance make an appearance, instructors also incorporate styles such as salsa, modern, and hip-hop.
This Bollywood dance philosophy has propelled Mona Khan Company into the national spotlight. The company’s professional dance troupe has performed with Bollywood demigod Shah Rukh Khan and dancer Shaan, and dazzled a live audience on America’s Got Talent.
Though classes at Mona Khan Company occasionally lead to professional dance careers, the studio strives to make Bollywood dance accessible to every aspiring dancer. For example, Jollywood dance classes train performers age 65 and older, and the Jeena program trains special-needs students. “It’s more than just dance,” says Ms. Shankar, the company’s dance captain. “We try to build a whole community around it."
Over the course of 50 years, the family that runs Helm of Sun Valley has amassed an inventory of top-shelf gear for wintry recreation and summertime watersports. Before stocking their shelves, the shop's athletic staffers take skis from Alpina, kiteboards from Cabrinha, and water skis from Connelly for test spins to appraise their performance. Standout sports gear snags a spot inside the store, along with apparel and accessories. Employees also rent out and tune up equipment. They specialize in fitting snowboard boots to feet, sometimes fashioning custom ZipFit liners by molding foam around arches. New kiteboard owners can master the sport by attending lessons, during which instructors teach basics on land before waving pupils onward into frothy crests.
Shipman Swim School's recipe for a happily paddling child involves positivity, personal attention, and a couple of polar bears. The bears are part of a mural on the deck wall, frolicking with playful otters in a frothy sea. Combined with the soothing 92-degree heat of the indoor pool, the cheerful creatures encapsulate founder Stacy Shipman's commitment to creating a welcoming learning environment for students of all swimming backgrounds. The former competitive swimmer stresses safety and encouragement in her curriculum, imparting confidence to kids who might have previously avoided the deep end.
The school's instructors—all of whom are CPR- and first-aid-certified—lead students through a program that builds skills comfortably and gradually. During stage-1 group classes, instructors first acquaint kids with the water through face-immersion exercises, rather than challenging them to shake hands with their own reflections. As pupils progress through stages 2, 3, and 4, they learn kicks, gliding techniques, and strokes ranging from the basic freestyle to the butterfly. The teacher-to-student ratio never dips below 3:1––and most classes are made up of three students and two instructors––ensuring that each swimmer receives individual guidance. The staff also leads private lessons and Parent and Me sessions, which engage toddlers as young as six months in safe games, songs, and movements.
When crafting custom-fit bicycles, the staff members at CyclePath focus on empty space. To select the perfect frame, wheels, and components for each customer, they observe how his or her body moves through the air in free motion, rather than relying on a database of average body types. The result is a cycle that is uniquely suited to the customer's body and movements. In addition to building custom cycles, they rent out high-end road and mountain bikes and sell pre-made bicycles, allowing patrons to immediately explore the Bay Area's scenic side streets. They keep cycles running smoothly with comprehensive tune-ups and help out bikers who have accidentally pedaled into a realistic-looking mural with a list of repairs.