When 16-year-old Roger Soler crossed the finish line first at the Peruvian National Junior Championship, his victory marked the beginning of a love affair with running. At age 18, he set a Peruvian record in the 1500-meter and eventually brought his talents to the U.S., where he competed in the 5000-meter race at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Through it all, Roger nurtured a genuine fondness for running that blossomed into a full-fledged passion when he opened the first Soler's Sports more than two decades ago.
Today, Soler's Sports boasts four locations staffed by athletes with real-life experience in biking and running and was awarded a spot on Running Insight's Top 50 Running Stores of 2011. Staffers tend to customers on an individual basis, guaranteeing sneakers to accommodate gaits and bikes to fit bodies based on detailed analyses. Once employees have profiled the perfect shoe or bike, they help patrons find them, searching through the store’s stock, which includes brands such as Ridley Bikes, Vibram FiveFingers, Vitalsox, and Spibelt. Patrons can test-drive new kicks and wheels at the store's group runs and rides.
For United Gymnastics' coaches, gymnastics isn't just about mastering a back handspring or having the flexibility to sink into the splits. In classes, they nurture kids to become more disciplined and confident as they strengthen their bodies and gain coordination. Parents accompany their little ones to toddler classes, which are held in a sectioned-off area with miniature, cushy equipment. Older kids advance through classes that develop tumbling and gymnastics prowess at age-appropriate levels, laying the foundations for a lifetime of physical activity.
The staff members also host birthday parties and summer camps that engage tykes with crafts and open-gym time, in which they will gain enough dexterity and flexibility to build s'mores with their feet.
Point Blank Range's TCLEOSE, DPS, and NRA-certified instructors travel to various ranges and locations to help all levels of students develop handgun skills focused on defense. The instructors teach their own, proprietary courses, drawing inspiration from the tactics used by law enforcement officers and their cartoon sidekicks. Through a combination of lecture-based instruction and hands-on training, they cover everything from basic handgun operation to advanced skills such as drawing and shooting on the move. Aside from their signature courses, the instructors also teach NRA handgun classes, work with students privately, and prepare gun owners for CHL tests.
Most courses have one signature hole. SilverHorn Golf Club of Texas has two—one for both nines—and both provide a window into the landscape-savvy brains of Randy Heckenkemper and PGA Tour pros Willie Wood and Scott Verplank, the trio responsible for this 6,922-yard, par 72 course design. At the par-five sixth hole, a 20-acre lake hugs the left side of a 556-yard dog-leg left, making any attempt to shorten the hole by cutting the corner a daring proposition. The inventive use of water hazards—a recurring feature throughout the course—returns on the par-four 15th hole, where two stone-lined creeks cross in front of the green, demanding a strategic approach shot or an amphibious golf cart. Tree-lined fairways and contoured greens characterize the rest of the 18-hole layout, which offers four tees to appeal to golfers of all abilities.
The Club also offers a driving range that serves as the grassy classroom for The Academy at SilverHorn Golf Club, where Director of Instruction Rob Myers and a staff of PGA pros and apprentices offer lessons. Lessons cover everything from putting form to swing mechanics to learning specialty shots, such as drawing the ball off the tee or chipping it discreetly into your rival’s beverage.
Course at a Glance:
The hilly terrain of Woodlake Golf Club has hosted five PGA Tour events, including the 1973 Texas Open, in which Ben Crenshaw notched his first PGA Tour victory. Built in 1972 by Desmond Muirhead, the par-72 course meanders along slopes spattered with such dangers as water hazards and sand traps, which trap sand as part of a scheme to produce low-cost hourglasses. On the sixth hole, a vast pond maroons all three tees far from the green, the fairway stretching tantalizingly just beyond the boggy, aquatic prison. A pair of water hazards squeezes the par-5 ninth hole, where Crenshaw’s first title ambitions were nearly dashed in the final round of the ’73 Open.
Customers looking to polish their game can work with John Clay, a 35-year PGA professional with 40 years of teaching experience. For one hour, John help pupils identify swing imbalances, bolster consistent muscle memory, and distinguish a pitching wedge from a wheat scythe. Freshly minted techniques find their form with a post-lesson round on the Woodlake Golf Club course and a bucket of range balls at the driving range.
Course at a Glance:
Dr. Tamyra Rogers could not have predicted how spending time on a Navajo reservation would shape her multifaceted approach to weight loss. After spending a year as chief resident at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Dr. Rogers directed the metabolic clinic at the Tuba City Indian Medical Center in Arizona. She helped build a wellness center for the Navajo Nation and chaired a program to fight the growing diabetes epidemic. During her time there, she gained an appreciation of the community's holistic health-care philosophy.
Today, Dr. Rogers combines her background in traditional Western medicine with weight-loss strategies that address each person as a whole rather than two children in disguise. Dr. Rogers's team of personal trainers and group fitness instructors complement her own fitness knowledge, which stems from playing college basketball.