Gordon Franks and Pat Worley are more than black belts. They’re ninth-degree black belts who share their chosen martial art with youngsters and adults alike through USA Karate, the school they cofounded. The school - which opened in 1973 and has been operating for more than 40 years - was featured on the local CBS station and teaches self-defense techniques that help students graduate to higher-level belts and translate into increased agility, coordination, and self-confidence.
Club swingers thrive on the tree-lined fairways of Chomonix's 6,596-yard course, where the flora and fauna of Minnesota's wilderness bespeak the course's location on the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes park reserve. Water hazards pepper seven holes, and sand traps camouflaged as golf-ball resorts add excitement to each shot. With a full bucket of balls, orb whackers can improve their form and distance on the driving range, and players can practice distinguishing between real holes and invisible wormholes on the putting green nearby. Golfers quash hunger with the clubhouse's grilled brats or burgers. The course experiences little or no winter-kill, so the local flora stays healthy all year long.
Boasting a Gold Standard certification from the American Sailing Association, Northern Breezes Sailing School welcomes tender-footed sailors aboard a fleet of US Coast Guard?inspected boats for safe, exciting lessons. With a host of courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced dread pirates, Northern Breezes acclimates students of all levels with both the practical and nuanced aspects of the art of wind harnessing.
Helmed by ASA instructor-evaluator Captain Thom Burns, the school has awarded more than 5,000 ASA certifications since its inception. Northern Breezes also offers camps for adventurous whippersnappers as well as boat charters and onshore courses on how to read the wind rippling across the water.
Tucked in the cool shadows of old, forest oak trees, St. Croix Valley Golf Course's nine-hole layout invites golfers to swing across 133 acres of rolling topography. Originally sculpted into the woods in 1925, the 3,060-yard course eschews sand traps and favors natural obstacles including ponds, trees, elevation changes, and indigenous photographers who snap their shutters during players' backswings. The golf experts that preside over the pro shop can sharpen swings with lessons, ensure trustworthy equipment with club regripping services, and offer rental clubs so players don't have to hit with the oversized gavel normally used to settle remote control disputes at home.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 36 course * Length of 3,060 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 34.7 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 122 from the farthest tees * Four tee options
At dawn, just as the sun breaks the horizon and a layer of dew reveals a path of fresh footprints, fairways open up through the morning fog to reveal a challenging circuit of golf holes. Chisago Lakes Golf Course's relatively open, par 72 layout features forgiving tree-lines and multiple ponds, which come into play on 12 holes to supply the bulk of the course's difficulty and relief for caddies with dry-mouth. Runaway swings gain traction at the club's driving range, which features a grass hitting area that measures 40 yards by 60 yards to ensure a natural lie for each swing rehearsal.
At the pro shop, golfers stock their Scottish quivers with new equipment and accessories from Titleist, Cobra, Cleveland, and other top brands. Chisago Lakes also encompasses The Gallery Bar & Grill, which serves up an eclectic menu that includes classic burgers, steaks, and seafood.
Course at a Glance:
Two par fours that measure less than 330 yards lie within the first four holes at Krooked Kreek Golf Club, giving golfers an opportunity to get off to a low-scoring start as they embark on their 18-hole round. On the front nine?sculpted in 1990, five years prior to the back nine?the greens are large and mostly flat, forgiving slightly off-center approaches. The greens shrink a bit on the back nine and add a more undulated terrain, demanding more time spent reading putts. The course's namesake creek combines with the site's natural wetlands to hamper play at various points, forcing players to contend with water or wash dirty argyles at 11 points throughout the round.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,401 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70.6 from the back tees * Course slope of 123 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard