Under the guidance of new course superintendent David Simeon, who draws on nearly a quarter century of experience and a degree in turf management, the links at Greens of Howard Lake underwent a thorough makeover and renewal in 2011. Course architect Ed Lahr made myriad improvements, such as regrading the fairway on hole 2 and enhancing it with a pond. In addition to rejuvenating the course’s turf and waging a war on weeds, the overhaul led to a renovated clubhouse where players can rent premium clubs for playing the links or carrying knapsacks over their shoulders on contemplative walks through the course. After the last swing is swung, they can also fuel up with pizza and beer onsite or stop at the pro shop to pick up new gear.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 36 course * Length of 3,313 yards * Course rating of 35.4 * Slope rating of 115
Surrounded by cheeky pink carpeting and floor-to-ceiling racks of metallic-colored medicine balls, instructors at Studio K lead 45-minute fitness classes, many of which focus on seniors. With a stone fireplace nested in the corner and mirrors surrounding the walls, cozy classes whip cores into finer fettle during yoga and mat Pilates, and patrons cut a cardio rug during dance-aerobics sessions that include Zumba and Latin Dance. Studio K takes part in the SilverSneakers program, which modifies cardio and strength workouts for seated routines, making it easier for older students and reigning monarchs to participate.
While other athletic clubs hibernate, Majestic Oaks welcomes Old Man Winter's frigid embrace with snow-savvy cheer. Played using golf clubs and a fuzzy tennis ball, snow golf provides nine holes of family-spanning fun and takes less than an hour to complete. Traversing the course, most of whose holes are under 100 yards, provides a reason to enjoy a brisk winter afternoon with friends while getting some light exercise. Hot chocolate and coffee (a value of $1.50 each) can keep your foursome of snow-golfers warm or can be used to punish snowmen who overindulge in mulligans.
• For $15, you get one month of weekly SuperKids PreSchool karate classes, valid at the Woodbury, Hugo, Hudson, Baxter, Cross Lake, Ham Lake, and Stillwater locations (a $50 value). • For $29, you get a monthlong membership to the UMA Karate program, valid at the Woodbury, Hugo, Hudson, Baxter, Cross Lake, Ham Lake, and Stillwater locations (a $100 value). • For $50, you get a monthlong membership to twice-weekly Dave Camarillo jiu-jitsu classes, valid at the Woodbury, Hugo, Baxter, Cross Lake, and Stillwater locations (a $120 value).
A forest of 10 stainless-steel, 20-foot-tall poles glimmers beneath the red, green, and blue stage lights of Dollhouse Pole Dance Studio, but the truly captivating sight is the dancers—strong and limber silhouettes that twist, turn, and glide gracefully up and down. Amid the 2,000-square-foot studio’s plum walls and sprung hardwood dance floors, seasoned instructors lead students of all sizes and experience levels through a variety of pole-dancing classes and comprehensive workshops, varying the focus from technique to fitness to flexibility. The studio also hosts parties, where guests sip complimentary champagne in the chic front lounge before enjoying a private pole-dancing lesson. After lessons, partygoers convene in the studio’s changing room, where private stalls and mirrors enable ladies to primp hair, put on makeup, or change into matching banana suits in preparation for a night out.
Designed by course architect Kevin Norby, The Refuge Golf Club cleaves through 350 acres of woods and wetlands to frame an 18-hole, par 72 course. Native grasses, wooden cart bridges, and immaculate bluegrass fairways characterize this northern-style course, which challenges golfers with tight tree lines and abundant sunbathing opportunities for losing shirts in sand traps. If golfers haven't spotted much wildlife throughout the course, they might find a gallery of hawks, deer, and feral caddies watching at the 17th, the course's second-most-difficult hole. Clubbers must blast tee shots over a forced carry before safely landing on an open fairway that leads to a green flanked by bunkers on both sides. Players can warm up for rounds at the 20-stall driving range and contoured putting green, and PGA professionals help golfers hone their game during private lessons. Meanwhile, a 13,000-square-foot clubhouse built of rock and cedar beckons for post-round revelry in the facility's restaurant, bar, and pro shop.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,534 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 71.9 from the back tees * Course slope of 139 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole