Teams clad in protective goggles scatter into a mountain field thick with laurel, rhododendron, and brier as they seek cover, their markers locked and loaded. Hearing paintballs whiz through the brush, a player dives into prone position. Adjusting her goggles after colliding with the ground, the combatant freezes, notices the silhouette of a whitetail deer crouched in the brush just yards away, and lets down her guard long enough to appreciate the moment before taking new aim.
At Pocono Mountain Paintball, players step onto 12 fields—including three scenario fields—ranging from untouched natural terrain to 1,700 feet of trenches and sandbag bunkers. To maximize players' game time, Pocono's staff maintains a reservation system that limits the fields to 100 players per day. Further touches include camouflage overall rentals, an online FAQ with participant advice, and changing rooms with hot showers so players can spruce up before meeting Mom for a post-game debriefing. Pocono's crew also coordinates rafting, biking, and kayaking packages through partner company Whitewater Rafting Adventures.
Helmed by 23-year PGA vet Scot W.R. Nei, TourBound Golf Academy hones the skills of golfers of all levels with a blend of professional training and high-tech analysis. In addition to learning from extensively experienced human trainers, students study under the cold, metal gaze of a training robot, which mercifully sets its kill-phasers to the "teach" setting as it offers up exact movement measurements and mechanically guided golf-swing practice. An indoor and outdoor facility hosts lessons in all weather, and TrackMan ball-flight trackers and digital-video scrutiny pinpoint improper postures and map out spheroid trajectories with computerized precision.