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.
Evolve owner John Cook and each of his trainers make it a personal mission to practice what the gym preaches: honing the fundamentals of physical prowess. Each coach is either a current or former elite athlete in addition to an exercise professional, a fact that enhances their ability to inspire clients. In John's case, a competitive history in wrestling, powerlifting, and mixed martial arts combines with positive mantras to motivate his students.
Since its 1996 founding, Evolve has embraced functional workouts rather than monotonous jogs aboard the treadmill or races with a slinky down the same flight of stairs. Strength and conditioning classes include drills for agility, core work, stability, and endurance, and MMA and wrestling programs showcase tried-and-true grappling techniques. Though sports-performance sessions might focus on specific athletic skills, most other classes remain accessible to anyone hoping to amp up their training. Routines mix up their maneuvers daily to keep muscles on their toes, and a charged atmosphere of support eliminates the need for kettlebells that say "I wuv you!" when squeezed.
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.
Beginner yoga classes introduce fresh flexers to the basic postures, while schooling them in proper alignment of the body and basic breath control. Newly experienced yogis can strengthen their stretchy spines and achieve ultimate relief and relaxation by finally being able to reach elusive back itches. Power yoga is a challenging workout for students looking to become a master of bending brawn that combines strength, flow, and breath work within an 80-degree studio. This Groupon can also be used towards Pilates classes, which concentrate on improving strength and flexibility through mat work and controlled breathing. Classes occasionally incorporate the use of equipment, such as a balance ball and foam bricks resembling chocolate bars that are kept just out of reach. Check out the full schedule here.