During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.
While most people’s biggest water-related fear might be sharks, Phil Pektas's was children. Not the kids themselves, of course, but the prospect of teaching them. This terror first surfaced when he was tapped to fill in for the Pre-K instructor at the swim school where he taught. Fortunately, he conquered that fear during the very first lesson and 20 years later is still introducing young people to the necessary skills for ensuring safe, aquatic fun. Pektas and his staff of American Red Cross–, CPR-, and First-Aid- certified instructors use activities, toys, and analogies to improve performance in the pool. With games such as Bird Catcher, kids will learn how to control their breathing and hunt for sub-aquatic fowl indigenous to chlorinated pools.
Meet Nannette. She's a former professional ballroom competitor with a slew of competition wins under her belt, but that's not as important as what she'll do for you. Alongside her staff of similarly talented dancers, Nannette cultivates a fun, inclusive, and laid back atmosphere while helping students perfect their ballroom footwork with classes in popular styles such as swing, waltz, tango, and cha-cha. Men, women, and even children learn how to twist and spin at all of Nannette's six locations, where guests can get exercise, relieve stress, and meet new dance-savvy people while having fun. The studio also offers private lessons in clients' homes or in their favorite supermarket aisles.
Swing thought. One-plane swing. Launch angle. It's easy for novice golfers to get lost in esoteric lingo and psychoanalysis during golf lessons. The 5 Simple Keys training strategy aims to cut through the confusion by breaking swings down into five points. These points have been derived from both the close study of professional golfers' techniques and the swings of the world’s most reliable grandfather clocks.
The first three steps are easy enough to grasp: maintain a steady head and a straight non-dominant wrist while making sure to transfer your body weight to the front foot through impact. Instructors use a VisionTrack guide to drive home the last two points which cover the diagonal path the club should take before striking the ball and the angle of the clubhead relative to the direction of the swing. Golfers who master all five keys can expect to attain a reliable, repeatable swing, and the ability to make subtle adjustments when they want to hit a draw or fade.
One of very few venues to teach the 5 Simple Keys philosophy, Reunion Resort Golf Course offers a venerable backdrop to golf lessons. As students plot their path to par-dom, they can gaze out onto the contoured greenery of the only golf complex to feature three signature courses designed by Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, and Jack Nicklaus.
When Kissimmee Golf Club first opened in the 1940s, it was a modest nine-hole facility. An expansion in the 1960s produced the back nine, and today, the club has flourished into a gorgeous testament to the Florida wetlands. Pines, oaks, and breezy palms line the fairways, and American alligators and sandhill cranes call the property home, too—all without a house in sight. The course's layout brings many of the land's features into play, and meticulously maintained greens appeal to any player hoping to improve his or her short game. Before rounds, golfers can get some practice swings in by visiting the club's chipping and putting areas, as well as one of the largest grass driving ranges in the county.
Course at a Glance
The landing zones at Remington Golf Club are wide enough that even poor shots may wind up in the fairway. It's the really poor shots that golfers should be worried about. As forgiving as the course's fairways and greens may appear to be, many of them sit a stone's throw from a water hazard that will make trespassing golf balls pay the ultimate price: their hope for a good hair day. From the tips, the 18-hole, par 72 course measures a formidable 7,111 yards, while four other sets of tees accommodate players across the handicap spectrum. To prepare for their round, golfers can warm up at the Club's distinct water driving range, where golfers hit buoyant range balls into a lake populated with floating targets.
Course at a Glance: