The staff at The Golf Improvement Center knows that shaving strokes is all about getting the little things right. This precision is evident in the center’s facilities, from the 7,500 square-foot putting green modeled after the famous Himalayas putting course at St. Andrews to the seven target greens scattered around the 320-by-300-yard driving range and laser measured to every hitting station. Instead of the oversize range balls at the great majority of driving ranges, which get tired of flying after 100 yards, players hit real regulation golf balls that get recycled every year, which provides the invaluable feel and results of actual strokes. The center also recognizes that golfers committed to improvement can’t sacrifice practice time just because the course is full of rain, snow, or carnivorous fog. Thus, when the 24,000 square feet of grass tees aren’t available due to these or other concerns, players can continue to practicing their drives and chips on the 38 covered Fiberbuilt mats, some of which are also heated. At dusk, stadium-level lights flicker on to ensure the continuous bombardment of golf balls into the night sky.
The instructors at Tumble Athletics—all of whom were former college cheerleaders at Division 1 schools—emphasize precision and teamwork over somersaulting for the spotlight. During classes for 3- to 18-year-olds, they demonstrate acrobatic skills that build both strength and a sense of sportsmanship. Students rehearse maneuvers from front tumbles to back handsprings, looking to their coaches and recorded videos for feedback on their form. An 8 to 1 ratio of tumblers to teachers ensures that they each receive personalized, positive attention.
Skyland Golf Course, in Hinckley was built in the Twenties, when a man's suit could be bought with a double sawbuck and it included two pairs of pants. It's a snug little country course with idiosyncrasies and delights not found at courses built recently. --John Tidyman
Hearing a cacophony of three-shots burst into the air but unable to see where it's coming from, a player decides to force his foes to reveal their positions by waiting patiently in the roots of an uprooted tree. Such natural cover lies throughout the backwoods field at Valley City Paintball, where combatants traverse terrain from wooded hills to a creek bed to stacks of fallen timber. The referees maintain safe conditions for all levels of players, showing guests a safety video and leading a field briefing before supervising games such as Defend the Tree and two-team Card Collector with re-spawn. Overseen by veteran Brian Gunkelman––who served four years in the 82nd Airborne and currently continues service through the Ohio Air National Guard––Valley City's team members allow up to 28 players on the field at a time. They also encourage visitors to take advantage of the natural cover, whether by wearing ghillie suits or painting a watercolor still life during the thick of battle.
In the spirit of Miami's increasingly high profile in the art world, the Spectrum Miami art fair returns to Midtown for five days of fine art during Art Week. Fifty galleries and 50 juried studio artists display their latest pieces in Spectrum's gallery-style exhibition space, which showcases everything from the map-like geometries of Marcio Decker to the surreal, art-pop-flavored self-portraits of Nicole Furman. On a more subdued note come the Zhou Brothers, whose evocative and understated landscapes tread the line between abstract and down-to-earth.
It's not all contemporary works, either. Miniature bronze sculptures by Michelangelo will be on display, including a preliminary model of David and a sculpture of rival Leonardo Da Vinci wearing a dress. And those with a hunger for the very newest of the new in the art world can feast their eyes upon the Jackson Pollock-esque paintings of 6-year-old abstract-art prodigy Shorya Mahanot.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.