With two 18-hole courses and one 9-hole course under its pristine jurisdiction, Green Garden Country Club binds together 45 distinct holes molded to its naturally undulating terrain. The club’s original 18—known today as the Blue Course—winds through dense woods and over numerous swings in elevation, while its other 18, the Gold Course, holds one of the club’s most celebrated features in the 10th hole’s island green. Meanwhile, the 9-hole Emerald Course, the club’s newest, mixes up the style of play with a Scottish links layout, rewarding accuracy off the tee and steadiness in the face of stiff breezes and upturned kilts.
Though on-course play is subject to the whims of Mother Nature, practice at Green Garden Country Club is a year-round affair. In the warm months, players iron out slices and hooks on the 30-acre driving range and calibrate touch on the 10,000-square-foot putting green. When the weather turns colder, players can haul their sticks to the club’s Golf Dome, where they’ll find 42 hitting stations on two levels and practice greens for perfecting putts, chips, and celebratory backflips.
Tucked away in the wooded enclave of Mokena, Willow Run Golf Course invites duffer duos to linger over its nine holes of mature, tree-lined fairways. Seated behind the wheel of an electronically powered golf steed, golfers can jet from hole to hole, making sure to pop a wheelie in greeting fellow linksmen to ensure proper etiquette. Putter in hand, pairs of golfers can descend on Willow Run's array of demanding holes, with variable yardages ranging from 120 to 520, and scheme their way around multiple sand pits and two ball-hungry water hazards. After taming the 2,930 yards of green-graced canvas and then repeating the 9-hole course to play a full 18, sated sportsmen and women can sashay over to the Willow Run lounge for post-game drinks or stick around for the pro shop's after-hours craft class for making personalized terra-cotta golf tees.
Adrian Michalewicz, owner of Apex Fitness, spent years as a personal trainer in large corporate gyms and dreamed of one day opening his own facility. At Apex Fitness, Michalewicz focuses his attention on individual clients, whether perfecting their forms during personal-training sessions or taking them on grocery-shopping trips for healthy food.
Baseball and softball players who want to make the jump to the next level often need coaches who know exactly what it takes. At Pastime Sports Academy, the experience offered by the coaching staff reaches to the very top of the talent heap, with a roster of high school varsity coaches, college pitching coaches, and former minor leaguers such as ex-Yankees draft pick Dietrich Enns. For the past 17 years, athletes have taken advantage of this diamond expertise through private and group instruction, which focus on skills ranging from shagging fly balls to fielding grounders to hitting a curveball. Pitchers can develop their velocity and control from a dirt pitching mound, while hitters can perfect their swings and double-pump-fake bunts inside five batting cages outfitted with Iron Mike pitching machines.
Wading through indoor heated pools, the instructors at British Swim School teach independent swimming skills to learners aged 3 months and older, adhering to a curriculum devised by British national swimmer Rita Goldberg. The 30-minute one-on-one sessions and small-group lessons, containing six or fewer swimmers, elucidate essential techniques for water safety and the importance of speaking fluent manatee. Swimboree (ages 3 months–3 years with parents) and Young Minnows sessions (ages 1–3 years without parents) teach wee swimmers basic water-survival skills, such as the back float. Turtle One and Turtle Two classes focus on freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke maneuvers, honing more structured swimming skills in older kiddos. British Swim School's Shark courses enhance stamina and speed and teach even more demanding strokes, such as the butterfly and little-known mountain-goat flail. Certain British Swim School classes require parents to participate in the water or to supervise from the pool deck, and adults-only lessons allow grown-ups to refine their own abilities without the supervision of a toddler.
Odyssey Sweet Spot lets players unwind with cold beverages, sizzling pub fare, and a lineup of crisp HDTVs that funnel sporting events throughout the tavern. As bartenders sling drink specials, Golden Tee 2013 arcade games allow players to enjoy the game of golf while still giving misbehaving 9-irons the silent treatment.