Air rushes past you at 120 miles per hour while the California countryside unfolds thousands of feet below. Blue sky and empty space surround you, and the voice of your U.S. Parachute Association–rated instructor is the only sound you can hear above the wind. At 4,500 feet, the instructor pulls the parachute cord, and the two of you gently drift down to land in 32 acres of open, unobstructed grass. This is what divers experience during tandem skydives or jumps as a part of the Accelerated Freefall program at Skydive Sacramento.
Pilots at the helm of a 15-passenger King Air twin turbine, a four-passenger Cessna 182, or a five-passenger Cessna 206 take students to altitudes of up to 13,000 in as few as 15 minutes. Fitted securely with harnesses and chutes, participants can ask their diving instructor questions about the sport before plunging from the plane in a hands-on free fall and canopy flight, during which they learn steering and hot-air-balloon-avoidance tactics. Though the instructors cater to first-time divers, they also coach more experienced students toward their skydiving license. Instructors, many with 2,000 dives under their belt, also teach students to land in a main grass landing area or a high-performance area with swoop pond.
Copses of serene pines, oaks, and redwoods cluster along no fewer than 36 rye-grass fairways at Lincoln Hills Golf Club. Even after creating its first 18-hole Hills course, designed by professional golfer Billy Casper and famed course architect Greg Nash, the club decided it wanted another. Its ambition created a second par 72 layout—the Orchard course—giving golfers a choice between two courses where large greens nestle amid rolling hills and naturally occurring wetlands.
The older Hills course unfurls over 6,876 yards. Its second hole demands a tee shot over a lake and onto a tight fairway before players even begin to aim at a green guarded by a bunker on the left. The newer Orchard course also makes golfers sweat at the second fairway, its hardest, which earns a par 5 by coming in at 598 yards and offering a plethora of sand bunkers as well as a 75-foot slope from the tee box to the green.
Instead of smashing cell phones to make rudimentary compasses, golfers navigate the course in GPS-equipped golf carts. The club also entices players with an 8-acre driving range, a practice area for putting and chipping, and individual or group lessons with professionals Steven Treadway and Patty Snyder—a former LPGA Tour player.
Six-year-old Tammy McDonald fearlessly hops into the saddle for her first horseback lesson, excited to finally follow in her family’s equestrian footsteps with this foray into riding. Fast-forward to 1988, as Tammy––by now an experienced competitive rider and horse trainer–– takes over Willow Lake Ranch from her family and converts it into a horse-training facility of her own. Intent on fully transforming the facility, Tammy has since dappled the rolling ranch’s lush pastures and clusters of evergreens with horse-centric amenities including a covered riding arena, tack rooms, and a wash rack replete with pony-sized shower caps. Over the course of any given week, Tammy and her crew of instructors can be found imparting their sizeable know-how to pupils of all ages and abilities during riding lessons or helping experienced riders hone their skills via intensive clinics held periodically throughout the year. As summer unfurls, full-day riding camps introduce young steed riders to horses via activities such as basic tacking skills and games of MASH with the stallion of their choice.
Clint Robinson's U.S. Air Force duty took him around the world, but it was his time in South Korea that made the biggest mark. There, he learned the art of tae kwon do—and the positive fitness and values associated with it. When he returned to the states and left the Air Force, it didn't take long for him to found his own martial-arts school. More than 40 years and 19 locations later, Robinson's Taekwondo continues to thrive on the same principles on which Clint founded his business: excellence, personal attention, and tradition. He now counts children's, adult, and family programs as part of his curriculum. With continued training, students of all ages not only hone their fitness, but also improve their mental sharpness, self-confidence, and discipline.
Staffed by experienced professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of Golfing Robotics, GolfTec’s syndicate of golf training centers grooms games with a five-pronged approach enhanced by technological refinements. Score-shaving wisdom resonates within the walls of the indoor facilities, where certified personal coaches point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips to permanently improve their game from tee to green. By utilizing video swing analysis and motion-measurement software, instructors can assess pupils’ abilities with objective data and a fact-based tact superior to traditional hearsay-oriented coaching strategies. To further enhance performance, GolfTec offers club-fitting services to match each swing profile with its ideal set of sticks.
Sea Otter Swim Lessons employs a team of first-aid- and CPR-certified instructors who welcome everyone into the water to learn how to swim. People cruise up and over the learning curve inside a 92-degree natural salt-chlorine pool, fully enclosed to allow lessons during the colder months and to keep rain from getting swimmers wet. Class sizes are kept small to allow for focused attention and individual improvement—private sessions are one-on-one, semiprivate sessions are one instructor with two students, and parent/tot classes are one instructor with up to six parents and children. Outside of the water, parents can watch their youngsters from a large observation area and tuckered-out swimmers can make use of the two shower areas and several changing rooms.