NRA-certified pistol instructor Steve Washington, a veteran of the US Army and National Guard, has taught gun handling and safety techniques to military and law-enforcement personnel for more than 20 years. In 2011, he partnered up with retired Michigan State Trooper Charles Hockey to open Protection Tactics, LLC, bringing their combined firearms expertise to locals. Instead of having students come to them, the duo travels to communities around Michigan to conduct courses such as the Basic Pistol class, which instills pistol and ammunition knowledge and instructs one- and two-handed firing stances. Additionally, Steve and Charles host Bullets, BBQ & Brews events where qualified participants try out various firearm models on paper targets that regret not taking a job as a page in a book.
Short game and putting skills will likely determine golfers' fate at Braeside Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course that bounds over mounds and through 6,638 yards of West Michigan countryside. The pro shop touts the course's par-threes as some of the most difficult in the area, and it's easy to tell why: from the tips, the shortest of the four holes stands at 164 yards, with the other three measure in at 196, 186, and 217 yards. At those distances, even the most accurate golfers can fail to hold the green, leaving a tricky chip and putt in order to get up-and-down for par. Easier scoring opportunities await at the course's par-fives, which long hitters and players with gravity-resistant golf balls can reach in two. With four tee options, the course presents approachable challenges for golfers across the handicap spectrum.
The instructors at Thought Design believe that, in addition to mastering tongue twisters, one of the most important contributors to a healthy brain is constant learning. To embrace this mindset, they offer a variety of holistic and diverse learning experiences that encourage creativity.
Within an industrial-sized kitchen, guests learn to grill korean-style ribs or can veggies in a variety of cooking classes, which end with students reclining in plush armchairs with a glass of wine and their freshly cooked meals. Across the facility, yoga sessions emphasize building endurance and meditation skills with classic Vinyasa classes as well as unconventional Groove sessions set to music.
Brookside Golf & Grill's PGA professional Marty Carmichael takes golfers of all stripes under his wing and helps them improve through guided practice and a little help from video technology. As players unload strokes ranging from full-power pummels off the tee to knockdown wedge shots onto the green, Marty makes real-time adjustments to mechanics and offers his recommendations for strategic thinking. Meanwhile, a video recorder captures all the action, allowing the student to see his own bad-swing habits—something that is difficult to fully grasp during the backswing itself, when eyes are closed tight to keep eyeballs from falling out.
For more than three decades, AAA Canoe has rented canoes, kayaks, and tube floats to explorers bound for the scenic, tranquil Rogue River. The rental center accommodates both individuals and group outings, outfitting each trip with paddles and life jackets or flotation cushions before chauffeuring boaters and their vessels to their trip’s starting point. Each trip ends at the Rockford Dam in downtown Rockford, where passengers can explore the city sights and regain their land legs from unscrupulous alleyway leg merchants.
While working in the medical field for 13 years, Jamie VanDam discovered alternative healing techniques that she found less aggressive than traditional Western methods. Her fascination with balancing chakras and unblocking meridians to soothe both the body and mind led her to pursue level-three status as a reiki master. With a blend of reiki and cranio-sacral therapy, she flushes out bodily toxins and alleviates back pain, headaches, and stress by applying gentle pressure to troubled regions. She also helps clients find inner and outer peace with raindrop therapy, essential oils, and ear candling. When she isn't remedying discomfort, Jamie is teaching classes in the healing arts and donating her time as a Hospice volunteer.