The state-of-the-art equipment, convenient amenities, and variety of exercise classes at Courthouse Racquet & Fitness's six locations earned the club several of Jackson Free Press's Urban Living awards in 2011 and 2012, including Best Fitness Center/Gym and Best Yoga Instructor. Visit the flagship Lakeland location to swim in a pool of professional athletic proportions. Explore the 13,000-square-foot Madison 51 facility's yoga, spin, and boot-camp classes or the Northeast center's indoor and outdoor tennis courts.
The newest location in Brandon boasts more than 100 treadmills, elliptical machines, rowers, and other pieces of cardio equipment. Women can take advantage of the Downtown site's ladies-only cardio area. Three locations offer childcare, and the Byram facility has launched an afterschool program, where kids can do arts and crafts and engage in healthy physical activities in an environment devoid of teddy-bear drill instructors.
Whisper Lake Country Club's verdant course encompasses 4,645 yards of kempt bermuda-grass fairways into a compact-but-challenging par 64 course. Golfers can prepare for rounds with swing-loosening stints at the driving range. There, wise players will focus on mid-length shots and keep drivers securely covered so they don't recognize rounds of golf are being played without them. Various short, drivable par 4s line the course, eschewing the longball in favor of pinpoint long irons or fairway woods, encouraging duffers to direct orbs to hospitable landing areas and set up favorable angles to approach fast, tifdwarf greens. Four sets of tees make the course surmountable for golfers of all abilities, and its compressed yardage—the 18-hole course only features two, relatively short par 5s compared to nine par 3s—allows duffers to complete rounds in about three hours or less, freeing up valuable time to tend to workday obligations or mow basement shag carpets into in-home putting greens. Cart rental is included in all options.
• For $25, you get one month of tumbling-and-cheerleading classes (up to a $60 value). • For $40, you get two months of Mommy and Me classes (an $80 value). • For $75, you get a 1.5-hour girl's or boy’s birthday party for 15–20 kids (a $150 value).
Licensed childcare director Kristal Bailey serves as mayor of The Play Place's toddler metropolis, complete with a bustling rush hour of kiddie commuters and free WiFi for parents (all-day admission $6). The tots' town is equipped with miniature versions of civic institutions, including a bite-size boutique for dress-up, a hardware store for blossoming builders, free toy-truck parking, and state-of-the-art climate-control technology. On Tuesdays and Fridays, Bailey frees harried parents to run their errands or just get a morning off with indoor childcare ($10/hour), where tykes can meet and play with other local little ones. On certain upcoming dates, The Play Place will host a four-hour Parents' Night Out, granting moms and dads with 2-year-olds and older a Friday-night freedom that once seemed more fictitious than a fairy-princess rap battle.
Clint Barr, a former A-advanced-level baseball player in the New York Yankees organization who has a Masters Degree in Exercise Science, leads a team of versatile, firm-but-not-screamy fitness experts into battle against sedentarianism. The boot camps, which are designed for all ages, fitness levels, and blood types, incorporate a hodge-podge of athletic maneuvering to keep muscles as surprised as someone opening a refrigerator to find only a bowl of marbles. After 28 days of stretching, performing push-ups, running, jumping over mini-hurdles, and more, you can expect to see a 3%–8% loss of body fat (results may vary), which dissipates through the pores and enters the atmosphere to form clouds. Check the schedule online.
The USPTA-certified pros at The Club Tennis Center at The Township teach tennis trainees how to wield rackets with the finesse of Wheaties box gracers. Tennis practitioners may bring their own stringed instruments to the lessons, while newbies borrow demo rackets from the pro shop. After opting for a battlefield of clay or another hard surface, students master techniques for defending their territory against incoming neon-yellow projectiles and acing their opponents with baseline attacks.