Air rushes past you at 120 miles per hour while the California countryside unfolds thousands of feet below. Blue sky and empty space surround you, and the voice of your U.S. Parachute Association–rated instructor is the only sound you can hear above the wind. At 4,500 feet, the instructor pulls the parachute cord, and the two of you gently drift down to land in 32 acres of open, unobstructed grass. This is what divers experience during tandem skydives or jumps as a part of the Accelerated Freefall program at Skydive Sacramento.
Pilots at the helm of a 15-passenger King Air twin turbine, a four-passenger Cessna 182, or a five-passenger Cessna 206 take students to altitudes of up to 13,000 in as few as 15 minutes. Fitted securely with harnesses and chutes, participants can ask their diving instructor questions about the sport before plunging from the plane in a hands-on free fall and canopy flight, during which they learn steering and hot-air-balloon-avoidance tactics. Though the instructors cater to first-time divers, they also coach more experienced students toward their skydiving license. Instructors, many with 2,000 dives under their belt, also teach students to land in a main grass landing area or a high-performance area with swoop pond.
Copses of serene pines, oaks, and redwoods cluster along no fewer than 36 rye-grass fairways at Lincoln Hills Golf Club. Even after creating its first 18-hole Hills course, designed by professional golfer Billy Casper and famed course architect Greg Nash, the club decided it wanted another. Its ambition created a second par 72 layout—the Orchard course—giving golfers a choice between two courses where large greens nestle amid rolling hills and naturally occurring wetlands.
The older Hills course unfurls over 6,876 yards. Its second hole demands a tee shot over a lake and onto a tight fairway before players even begin to aim at a green guarded by a bunker on the left. The newer Orchard course also makes golfers sweat at the second fairway, its hardest, which earns a par 5 by coming in at 598 yards and offering a plethora of sand bunkers as well as a 75-foot slope from the tee box to the green.
Instead of smashing cell phones to make rudimentary compasses, golfers navigate the course in GPS-equipped golf carts. The club also entices players with an 8-acre driving range, a practice area for putting and chipping, and individual or group lessons with professionals Steven Treadway and Patty Snyder—a former LPGA Tour player.
Six-year-old Tammy McDonald fearlessly hops into the saddle for her first horseback lesson, excited to finally follow in her family’s equestrian footsteps with this foray into riding. Fast-forward to 1988, as Tammy––by now an experienced competitive rider and horse trainer–– takes over Willow Lake Ranch from her family and converts it into a horse-training facility of her own. Intent on fully transforming the facility, Tammy has since dappled the rolling ranch’s lush pastures and clusters of evergreens with horse-centric amenities including a covered riding arena, tack rooms, and a wash rack replete with pony-sized shower caps. Over the course of any given week, Tammy and her crew of instructors can be found imparting their sizeable know-how to pupils of all ages and abilities during riding lessons or helping experienced riders hone their skills via intensive clinics held periodically throughout the year. As summer unfurls, full-day riding camps introduce young steed riders to horses via activities such as basic tacking skills and games of MASH with the stallion of their choice.
The experienced staff at POWER trains athletes of all ages at three Central Valley locations. Boot camp classes get grown-ups fit with thrice-weekly workouts designed to help them reach fitness goals. Participants bring hand weights to each session, and leave with instructions for at-home workouts for days off. Meanwhile, across padded floors and rows of trampolines, kids and teenagers in cheerleading classes tumble and spring their way to pep-rally mastery. Lead by USASF-certified instructors, each class focuses on team-energizing spirit and nurtures the dedication, commitment, and level of fitness that cheerleading requires. Whether practicing cheers or building human pyramids to astonish archeologists, students learn gymnastics skills that boost both strength and flexibility, readying them for school functions and competitions.
Staffed by experienced professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of Golfing Robotics, GolfTec’s syndicate of golf training centers grooms games with a five-pronged approach enhanced by technological refinements. Score-shaving wisdom resonates within the walls of the indoor facilities, where certified personal coaches point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips to permanently improve their game from tee to green. By utilizing video swing analysis and motion-measurement software, instructors can assess pupils’ abilities with objective data and a fact-based tact superior to traditional hearsay-oriented coaching strategies. To further enhance performance, GolfTec offers club-fitting services to match each swing profile with its ideal set of sticks.
Power duo Angelo Nunez and Cary Williams-Nunez opened their first Prime Time Boxing Club location in 1998, determined to spread their love of fitness and boxing to one small group at a time. Today, their boxing fitness empire extends to three gyms that been spotlighted by such reputable publications as the New York Times, Men's Fitness, and Shape. Angelo, Cary, and a team of encouraging trainers lead 45-minute fitness classes that build boxing skills from the ground up and increase stamina through an intense combination of basic jabs, bobbing and weaving, and sashays that best show off Americana shorts. The boxing aficionados train students aged 13 and older, with younger classes focusing on overall cardio and playing nice with pendulous speed bags.
Arena Softball's advanced pitching machines fling curveballs, sliders, and fastballs at players preparing for a big game on their indoor softball field. The same field also hosts birthday-party matches regulated by experienced umpires, and after the game, players can feast on snacks or home-run softballs.
Additionally, experienced coaches lead lessons, teaching kids the ins and outs of fielding, positioning, and batting, as well as camps for kids aged 6–18. Arena Softball also hosts a variety of leagues.