Since the instructors at Southeastern Divers's five-star PADI--certified training facility first set up shop in 1980, more than 5,000 of their aquatic pupils have obtained diving certifications. The certified scuba pros, each of whom has obtained a master diver trainer rating, or at least interned as a mermaid, continue to add to this number using their structured course flow. They help novice divers to take their first plunge during Discover Scuba programs and guide them toward the master-diver level. Along the way, instructors and pupils branch off from the course flow to try their rubber flippers in specialty programs such as wreck diving. Throughout all coursework, Southeastern Divers's staff can rent equipment or sell gear from brands such as Aqua Lung.
True allegiance to a sports team can’t be expressed with cheers alone. Devotees of Auburn and the University of Alabama’s sports programs can take their fandom to the next level at Sportsmania, with locations on the first floor of Parkway Place Mall and in the Carl T. Jones Target Shopping Center near Pier 1 Imports. The shop outfits visitors with a comprehensive array of team paraphernalia, including hats, goalie masks, magnets, flags, and even checkerboards and saltshakers. Daniel Moore prints and other pieces of home décor, meanwhile, help households demonstrate a passion for sports without having to hire a football player to sit on the mantel.
Though it specializes in watersports supplies, Leaf in Creek offers a wide selection of adventure gear and apparel for men and women fond of the great outdoors. You can peruse clothing from brands such as Kavu, Aftco, and Guy Harvey, as well as stylish sunglasses from Spy and Costa Del Mar. Equipment such as Jackson fishing and exploration kayaks outfits customers for excursions on the water, and a stock of GoPro cameras and harnesses helps them document their picnics with Smokey the Bear.
The expert staff at Phoenix Paintball Division oversees multiple fields sprawling across 30 acres of paintball action. A woods field cloaks artistic assassins with trees and bunkers, and a tire-and-hay field conceals teams as they rally together toward victory. As in marital disputes between pro athletes, trained referees strictly enforce all rules, making safety the top priority at Phoenix. The pro shop rents and sells all necessary equipment, accessories, and apparel, as well as food and drinks to keep players fueled during friendly outings, group events, or special occasions, such as birthday parties.
Nestled into the countryside around the basin of the Appalachian mountains, the Blackberry Ridge Golf Club's championship course undulates through hills, rivers, and dense forest. Despite its changes in elevation, the Club prides itself on maintaining speedy greens and a few less-than-forgiving fairways, as showcased on the signature 600-yard par 5. Though the course displays few hazards aside from the natural bodies of water and sentient trees that offer caddy tips on multiple holes, the subtle gradients of the terrain offer an entirely different set of challenges. Off the course, a driving range provides golfers with a chance to practice their skills, and the clubhouse features a snack bar with homemade barbecue sandwiches, ice cold beers, and other snacks.
Course at a Glance:
Louis Priddy’s love of pounding the pavement led him to found Running Factory II—the previous incarnation of Front Runner Athletics—in 1982. Over the next 15 years, the business blossomed until Louis changed its name and built a new 4,000-square-foot location to accommodate its expanded inventory of shoes and athletic apparel.
In 2001, Louis passed the reins to avid runner Chad Varga, who has carried on Priddy’s legacy by ensuring that his customers’ shoes not only fit on their feet but also accommodate runners’ individual arches and manner of jogging. To achieve this, Chad and his staff conduct free comprehensive gait analyses, guiding guests—who are often referred by local orthopedists and podiatrists—toward shoes that match their foot shapes and habits of running on the sidewalk, on a track, or on hot coals. The store’s wide range of men’s and women’s shoes from the likes of ASICS, Adidas, Mizuno, and New Balance help the experts find the ideal pair.