Draped over 270 acres of rolling woodland terrain, Branch River Golf & Tennis’s 18-hole course funnels dimpled orbs through a circuit of arching fairways dotted with lush trees. After two generous starting holes, golfers must face Branch River’s daunting “Monster” hole, a 584-yard behemoth where players must tunnel drives though a fairway hemmed by trees, before determining how best to approach a creek-fortified green with a false front and fake ID. High-risk, high-reward shots abound throughout, forcing golfers to exercise sound course management as they drink in views of the picturesque par 72 course.
Along with pristine links, Branch River Golf & Tennis houses three tennis courts, a full-size outdoor pool, and an area for trap shooting. After a long day of spirited sport and swimming, guests can take a load off at dining facilities that overlook the course and graciously supply booster seats so anthropomorphic sand wedges can partake in the meal.
Course at a Glance:
Novice calorie burners and ripped Michelangelo models alike can take advantage of Anytime Fitness’s membership, which equips bodies with enough treadmills, cycles, elliptical machines, and weights to make them fit enough to run a marathon inside of a swimming pool filled with mud. A free personal-fitness orientation, offered to each new member, helps determine an optimal fat-frying program and teaches muscle-pumping principles of safe, effective exercise. This deal also includes a month of unlimited tanning ($20/month) to paint new, ripply physiques a brilliant shade of bronze.
The instructors at De Equus Stables aim to teach their riders more than galloping or stage presence—they also believe in the therapeutic benefits of connecting with a horse. That's why, in addition to teaching saddle seat, hunt seat, and western riding styles, they host camps and clubs to meet the needs of casual equine enthusiasts. As they acquaint patrons with their mounts, they cover aspects of horse care outside of riding, such as grooming and equipment use to impart a long-term equine education. The facility’s horses vary in disposition from gentle steeds recommended for first-timers to highly trained trotters and big rigs in bridles for show competitors.
Channeling their certifications from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, the staffers often plan customized lessons based around specific emotional or physical goals. They also welcome all sorts of equestrians—and visitors who simply feel an affinity with horses—to their American Saddlebred Horse Association Youth Club, which schedules educational outings to farms, horse shows, and clinics.