The PGA professionals who founded the Garden State Golf Academy understand that even naturally talented players can have trouble fine-tuning their skills without proper training and practice. Their faculty's belief in quality training forms the foundation of every lesson, where teachers help players of all ages and skill levels learn or improve their games through individual or group instruction. They also back their years of knowledge with advanced teaching technologies, including golf simulators that recreate realistic 18-hole rounds of golf complete with changing wind conditions and muffled shouts of "play through." Cameras catch every minute detail of a player’s swing with vivid clarity at 1,000 frames per second, helping instructors point out subtle shifts of the hips and other issues that can impact the shot’s trajectory.
JCM Baseball Academy fosters the game's future stars under the guidance of owner Justin McKay—an assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University who, in 2012, played a major role in leading the team to its best record since 1994. McKay has recruited a staff of fellow Division I–level coaches and players that, together, run numerous programs and camps throughout the year. The JCM's junior- and high-school camps, for instance, focus on the skills and mechanics required to play each position on the field, and also emphasize the importance of remembering to enjoy the game. The camps unfold at FDU's Naimoli Family Baseball Complex, which features state-of-the-art turf to prevent injuries and rival players from planting poison ivy around second base.
Home to the state's largest freestanding bouldering island, New Jersey Rock Gym houses 12,000 square feet of vertical terrain to climb as well as 41 top roping stations. Armed with either day passes or membership, guests scamper up the gym's synthetic summits, hoping to ask questions of the learned ceiling light sequestered at the top of the mountain. While gear is included with some membership options, guests can opt to bring their own materials or rent the individual shoes ($5), harnesses ($4), or chalk bags ($2) they need from the pro shop. New Jersey Rock Gym offers a collection of educational course work in the vertical arts, teaching belay technique to beginners or advanced skills to adults. Children can also take advantage of youth climbing programs, mini camps, and birthday parties before retiring to private refreshment chambers to absorb bottles of electrolyte-infused refreshment. The nearby pro shop outfits climbers with name-brand gear for purchase, while a WiFi lounge transmits terabytes of data into nearby electronic devices or unsecured cyborg brains.
Opened in 1998, Floyd Hall Arena welcomes skaters of all sizes to practice their axels and slap shots on two NHL-sized ice rinks. In addition to youth hockey and Learn to Skate programs with professional instructors, the rink hosts public skating sessions each week so that casual skaters can loop the rink as their leisure and more advanced skaters can test out prototypes of hand skates. Patrons can take a look at upcoming public skating times by checking the monthly event schedule, found here.
TGA of Bergen County's staffers know golf and tennis, but above all else, they know kids. The certified pros and education experts have teamed up to design age-specific golf and tennis programs that not only teach children the rules of the game, but also instill valuable life lessons, education, and a love for physical fitness. As children swing clubs and racquets, the instructors stress playing fair and developing self-confidence through success, giving them positive motivation and praise after they sink a tricky putt or hit a homerun on the tennis court. The classes are interspersed with academic lessons on subjects such as math, science, and history, and of course, a healthy dose of fun. Whether the pre-screened and certified instructors are leading kids in a summer camp or afterschool program, they provide all the clubs, racquets, balls, and robo-caddies needed.
At Van Houten Lanes, bowling balls thunder down the waxed stretches of 16 AMF synthetic lanes—and crash through the neat rows of AMF pins waiting at the end. All the while, an AMF automatic scoring system keeps an up-to-the-minute record of each player's successes and struggles. And yet bowling isn't all that this modern alley has to offer—a large-screen TV, pool table, and an internet-connected jukebox render the cocktail lounge comfortable enough to pass for "the new apartment" when parents come to visit. The bowling facility's café fuels play with cheesy calzones and signature Hoboken-style 32-inch pizzas—all of which can be washed down with craft beer from Flying Dog Brewing. Thanks to these ample amenities, including family-friendly touches such as lane bumpers, Van Houten Lanes frequently hosts events ranging from children's parties to fundraisers.
John Gizzi and Diann Greco, the American Wine Society–certified wine judges at Make Wine With Us, teach wine aficionados to create their own wines using grapes harvested in Californian and Chilean vineyards. At the start of the nine-month process (California grapes in the fall, Chile grapes in the spring), winemakers-to-be assemble with fellow enthusiasts to learn the intricacies of the trade. Patrons learn to crush and destem grapes in a machine called a crusher-destemmer, named after the device's favorite Germanic metal band. Following the crushing process, a hydraulic press forces juice into barrels, where it shall remain until the conclusion of its sweet, sweet metamorphosis.
When wine awakens from its hibernation, patrons remove suspended yeast cells and skin particles though a process called racking. At the end of the nine-month period, newly minted winemakers lean on family and friends to fill, cork, and custom-label the finished product. Budding vintners then tote home their vintages to share with family, friends, and robot butlers with built-in carafes.