Tree Tops Golf curates competitive fun and practice at a sprawling facility that encompasses a driving range, a miniature golf course, and batting cages. Airborne golf shots take flight at the driving range, where grass tees appeal to those who prefer a natural feel and artificial hitting mats cater to prima donna pitching wedges that demand a perfect lie every time.
A canopy of vibrant palms forms cool shadows over the 18-hole mini-golf course as putters tap orbs across a winding circuit of artificial turf lined with brick rails and rocky outcrops. Two Iron Mike pitching machines lob high-arching, slow-pitch softballs in two batting cages, helping batters to prepare for their next opportunity to ruin a water-balloon-toss competition.
Grandmaster Y.K. Kim’s whirlwind life has taken him from Korea to the United States while wearing many hats including author, public speaker, philosopher, entrepreneur, and founder of Martial Arts World. The latter has grown into a family tree of locations spanning four states. At each location, dedicated instructors guide kids and adults through martial-arts classes that aim to instill a sense of confidence, self-discipline, and respect in each and every student. Classes serve as sweat-inducing workouts and an outlet to learn self-defense techniques, which come in handy when you dream your blanket has attacked.
The pedal experts at Santos Bike Shop pair shoppers with loaner two wheelers and quality gear and fix up bicycles to ensure their road- and trail-worthiness. Among the Giant bikes available for rental, the Revel 1 ($25/day, $200 deposit) sports a lightweight ALUXX aluminum frame, and the patriotic Anthem X 3 29er's ($45/day, deposit is cost of bike) 29-inch wheels and Maestro suspension inspires bald eagles to fly in victory lap formation. Protect noggins with Giant Talos helmets ($44.99) and keep hands shielded from handlebar burn with a pair of Spenco T.2 Elite riding gloves ($49).
Bermuda grass carpets the 18-hole course at Marion Oaks Country Club, but not all bermuda grasses are made the same. The club's grounds crew has gone the extra yard on all 7,031 yards, landscaping putting surfaces with a strain of grass that allows for a more predictable ball roll. Upon completion of a round, players can retire to the clubhouse, where they'll find a screened-in patio and a pro shop stocked with irons, woods, and argyle face paint.
The black-belted trainers at Florida Martial Arts and Fitness Center condition and arm students with self-defense skills that may come in handy in real-life situations. Students can focus solely on self-defense techniques with krav maga, an intuitive street-fighting style developed by a decorated Slovakian athlete in the 1930s, or tae kwon do, which builds a sense of confidence as well as snappy reflexes and a collection of stylish belts. Participants in one-hour kickboxing classes can burn up to 1,000 calories, and yoga classes build inner strength and balance. Field-day classes take fitness training outdoors for sunshine and fresh air. Athletes who attend a monthly weapon-disarming seminar learn to strip assailants of knives, guns, or wooden marshmallow spears.
Designed by renowned course architect Pete Dye in 1995, Black Bear Golf Club's 18-hole, par 72 layout showcases all the calling cards of a masterfully crafted golf course. With mounded fairways, tight landing zones, and more than 120 natural sand traps, the course—which stretches more than 7,000 yards from the tips—presents a traditional links-style layout with the favorable climate and alligator forecaddies native to Central Florida. Dye's affinity for dramatic finishing holes comes into play throughout the course. A well-bunkered, tree-lined par 4, the 9th hole is the course's second-hardest, and the 18th hole is the course's most difficult, demanding that golfers finish strong by overcoming an obscured tee shot on their way to a green guarded by a pond. A challenge for golfers of all skill levels, Black Bear has hosted multiple U.S. Amateur and Canadian Tour events.
Fostering practice as well as on-course play, Black Bear boasts a grass tee, a double-ended driving range, and a 40,000-square-foot short-game-practice area. With a menu of casual grill fare, The Bear's Den invites golfers to unwind after their days at the links and test out their divot tools' utility as fill-ins for forks.
Defensive Shooting Instructors' training staff includes Special Forces members, SWAT officials, and intelligence specialists. Drawing from these backgrounds, the highly trained team teaches dozens of public courses that cover everything from pistols to shotguns to hand-to-hand combat. Rather than guiding their students through simple lessons, the instructors run drills that simulate real-world conditions and aim to create safe-yet-intense environments. Depending on the class, they might have groups race through obstacles, run up stairs, or even roll in the dirt. For firearms training, they travel to local ranges and put shooters through repetitive drills focused on speed, accuracy, and consistency. In addition to civilian instruction, Defensive Shooting Instructors designs courses for law enforcement officers, military members, and deploying journalists. Its staff mans a gun shop.