During the Gary SouthShore RailCats' inaugural season in 2002, the players spent an estimated 200 hours on buses?traveling approximately 12,000 miles without their own ballpark to call home. Indeed, the diamond at U.S. Steel Yard was still under construction, forcing the team to play its entire first season on the road. But while the trip could have been a rocky way for an organization to start out, it instead forecasted a wild ride ahead in which the RailCats never stopped moving. After just four years, the RailCats captured their first Northern League title, marking the first of five straight appearances in the championship series?a Northern League record.
Despite that first year away from home, the RailCats seem to have settled in well at U.S. Steel Yard. Within the park, views of the South Shore commuter train remind fans of the team's origins, and a 55-foot scoreboard towers over left-centerfield in much the same way early pitchers once towered over batters from atop a stack of milk crates.
Green Acres Ranch has existed as a family-run equestrian operation for more than half a century, and owes its longevity to a steadfast commitment to coaching all levels of student?who they see as the future torchbearers of the sport. Riders learn to properly comport themselves in the saddle inside large indoor and outdoor riding arenas while passionate instructors shout encouragement and advise on proper technique, which will prepare students for challenging tasks such as leading, saddling, turning, a proper seat, halting, backing up and more on horseback and readiness for competition in the show arena and ultimately out on trails. But riding lessons are just one of the many equestrian activities offered by the ranch. Once they've got the right skills under their belt, jockeys-in-training can bound around the surrounding countryside on trail rides or try out for the drill team to participate in local parades.
The instructors of Origins Dance Academy have traveled far and wide to learn and practice their craft, from choreographing in Los Angeles to dancing in prestigious European and Canadian ballet companies to appearing in area musicals. That wide range of experience allows them to teach youngsters in a wide variety of classes, including tap, ballet, and hip-hop. Origins also occasionally presents its students in performances and sends them to competitions judged by technique, difficulty, and how well the dancers perform sequences from Swan Lake while partnered with real swans.
Designed in 1960 by John Ellis, the Tuckaway Golf Club course is located 40 miles from downtown and features 6,225 yards of greens, fairways, and sand traps. Though only one par 5 exists on the front nine, the back nine challenges players to make up for lost scoring opportunities with three par 5s and cups not covered with cellophane. Gently sloping fairways bob and weave through beautifully forested acreage, bending around majestic pines and stately oak trees and opening up onto small greens. Prior to tee times, players can practice their hacks on the driving range's 20 grass tees or work on greenside feel at the chipping and pitching green.
Course at a Glance: Par: 72 Length: 6,225 yards Rating: 69.7 Slope: 117
Lincoln Oaks Golf Course challenges long- and short-gamers who navigate its 6,186 yards of bentgrass fairways and relatively small greens. Built in 1927, Lincoln Oaks stood as one of four original courses at the Lincolnshire Country Club, resplendent with a layout designed by renowned course architect Tom Bendelow, who also lent his fairway-carving skills to all three courses at Medinah Country Club and his own immaculate backyard. Since then, it has gone public and undergone extensive renovations, including new cart paths and reshaped tees and fairways. The site of a PGA Tour event in the 1960s, the course has hosted U.S. Open Qualifying Tournaments throughout the years as well as multiple golf cart drag races. Before taking to the links, clubbers can spruce up swing mechanics at Lincoln Oaks' range and practice facility.
Located approximately 35 minutes from downtown, Lincoln Oaks is a convenient cruise away from the urban bustle. Upon completing their round, duffers can kick back in the comfort of Oaks Bar and Grill, where icy beverages, piping-hot pub fare, and three flat-screen televisions caddy your cravings for post-putting leisure time without badgering you about your botched lay-up.
Course at a Glance: * Designed by Tom Bendelow * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,186 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 69.0 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 120 from the farthest tees * Three tee options * Link to scorecard