At The Fairways Driving Range, players can practice all the skills they need to excel on the course. Golfers can take aim at grass target greens at a range with grass tees as well as covered mat hitting areas. A greenside sand trap lets golfers hone their scrambling skills, and a 4,000 square-foot, bent-grass practice green provides a slick surface for golfers to work on their touch with the putter. The practice facility also lets players demo a number of training aids to perfect their form.
Twin Lakes Golf Course is set on grounds that have been walked by golfers for more than 50 years, but enjoy the modern touches of a recent revamping. New tee boxes reside atop the professionally manicured greens that carpet the 10-acre course. Its renovated clubhouse offers guests the supplies they need for gameplay, including clubs and pull carts. After a round, players can return to the clubhouse where pizza bubbles in a wood-burning oven and cool beverages flow freely from taps.
Military personnel, police officers and detectives have something in common besides high-risk jobs: Dennis Hill. The chief instructor at Aiki Academy of Self Defense, armed with a black belt in judo and a brown belt in Brazilian jujitsu, has trained members of all three professions in the art of hand-to-hand combat. He also teaches civilians at his 4,000-square-foot dojo, voted New Haven’s best martial-arts studio in 2012 by CT.com readers.
Hill and his team helm more than 50 classes per week. Sessions traffic in styles that range from kickboxing-focused combat hapkido and muay thai to krav maga, a fighting style that readies people for no-rules brawls, such as street fights or bare-knuckle-boxing matches held on cruise ships once maritime law kicks in. Fitness classes from kettlebell workouts to flexibility-enhancing yoga complement the self-defense courses, as do amenities such as an onsite playroom and free coffee in the spacious waiting room.
In the early 20th century, the Gracie family took the tenants of jujitsu, as taught by Japanese immigrant Mitsuyo Maeda, and put their own Brazilian spin on them. Now a century later, Renzo Gracie carries on the family tradition as the American forefather of brazilian jujitsu—and he’s the one who handed a black belt to Andy Papadopoulos, the instructor at Renzo Gracie Shoreline Academy. He honors his mentor, and the other members of the Gracie family under whom he’s trained, by teaching traditional brazilian jujitsu. The method of grappling focuses on taking the opponent to the ground, and then gaining control using wrestling techniques.
Overseeing more than 22 New England locations, Jack Brewer—a lifelong sailor—has tended to boats and provided peace of mind for their owners for nearly 50 years. At their 50-acre marina community, Brewer Pilots Point Marina’s year-round staff works to keep the family-friendly facility’s swimming pool, restaurant, clubhouse, and more than 800 boat slips in ship shape. Sailing schools for juniors teach recreational and competitive skills, and adult-oriented classes introduce students to sailing or help them brush-up on hoisting sails, maneuvering, and reading the wind based on the ripples in a pitcher of beer. Summer slips and events offer boating and entertainment through the warmer months, and indoor-storage options keep skiffs safe from Old Man Winter’s icy beard-cicles.
Alisa Bowens can teach the newest of newbies how to salsa—just watch her episode of MTV’s Made for proof. On it, she taught teenage sisters with no dance experience how to salsa, and she does the same for students at her studio, Alisa’s House of Salsa. She teaches the spicy Latin dance to groups, as well as in private lessons, during which she is able to provide even more technique notes and feedback. She also hosts salsa nights at local restaurants and lounges so that her students can practice in a real-life environment.
Atop the blue padded floors of Master Hwang's Martial Arts, adults and kids as young as four years old learn to focus their energies to execute challenging maneuvers. Leading the pack, expert instructors impart the secrets of judo, Hapkido, and tae kwon do disciplines to boost focus and tone fly-swatting muscles. The karate haven also hosts summer camps and birthday parties that strengthen juvenile bonds.