As the annual host of the Eastern Amateur Golf Championship since 1957, Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club's championship course has attracted some of the country's greatest players on their journey to the PGA Tour. As golfers traverse each hole from tee to green, they can imagine themselves tracing the footsteps of Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange, both of whom played in the Eastern Amateur before illustrious PGA careers, during which they won a combined four major victories without ever corking a driver. Today, the 6,642-yard, par-70 course still hugs the Elizabeth River, utilizing the natural landscape with a challenging layout originally envisioned by course designer Dick Wilson in 1948. The course also benefits from more recent refurbishments that made the greens and bermuda-grass fairways more resilient.
A private establishment, Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club complements its golf course with a six-court tennis complex and an Olympic-size, outdoor swimming pool. The club also boasts two restaurants with two patios, where guests can enjoy views of the Elizabeth River and attempt to count the leaves on every tree in the vicinity.
Anchored by a trio of experienced aces—including PGA-certified director of instruction Ed Collins and owner Dave Williams—Hampton Roads Golf Academy travels to courses throughout the greater Hampton Roads area to spread the pastime of golf. The pros wake each morning to the sound of humming lawnmowers and giggling 9-irons to keep alive their golf enthusiasm, which they impart in private, group, and on-course lessons. The academy’s V1 video analysis software helps instructors shed light on the murky abyss of pupils’ swings, playing back each shot in slow motion to pinpoint the root cause of each unsightly slice and snap hook. Hampton Roads Golf Academy holds lessons at four area courses, two of which boast covered and heated ranges to allow for lessons during chilly winters or divot hailstorms.
At Tidewater Hit and Pitch, a team of professional baseball and softball coaches pass their wisdom onto future generations of pitchers and fielders in one-on-one coaching sessions and group camps. The staff breaks down the sport into three digestible parts—pitching, hitting, and fielding—which helps players hone discipline with drills while imparting universal skills such as balance, body control, and how to dispose of chewing gum besides swallowing it.
Adam and Jennifer Pismeny have always been passionate about fitness. They both became involved with sports at a young age: Jennifer enjoyed swimming, cheerleading, and dance, and Adam focused on activities including soccer and BMX racing, qualifying for state-level meets and competitions along the way. Perhaps as a facet of their team-sports experience, the duo also has a long history of helping others. Jennifer, who has struggled with weight concerns, obtained her undergraduate degree in elementary education, and both of them became certified personal trainers to guide other people toward achieving personal health goals.
Along with trainer Joe Boozer, the Pismenys share their knowledge and experience at Hampton Roads Adventure Bootcamp, which is part of one of the largest boot-camp organizations in the world. Their program was designed by fitness expert John Spencer Ellis to build strength and confidence via a combination of motivating, varied workouts and nutritional guidance. The team hosts sessions five days a week all year long, leading groups of about 30 women through exercises that can be modified for all skill levels or any number of extra biceps.
It’s fitting that Grand Slam 2’s name suggests a sequel, as the baseball complex’s team of instructors consists of former collegiate coaches and athletes who continue their involvement in the sport even after hanging up their game-day cleats. In classes, camps, and clinics, these instructors impart their appreciation for baseball as they build their students’ hitting and fielding skills from the ground up. Though the facility’s batting cages play an important role in correcting swings, sessions may also include off-field weight training—this is especially true for pitching classes, which aim to bulk up throwing arms in preparation for more serious competition. At winter and summer hitting academies, bats crack against approaching baseballs like the whip of an exceptionally demanding coach.
Players can put their newfound skills to the test in the Tidewater Bombers baseball program, a competitive, age-appropriate league that imparts the principles of teamwork through live-action games. To prepare for league games, check out Grand Slam 2's pro shop, which stocks bats, gloves, and terrifying masks for psyching out opposing pitchers.
Running alongside the Chickamauga Battlefield and National Park, Battlefield Golf Club's scenic fairways meander through forests and ponds for a fun, relaxing day of driving. The third hole tests golfers with an early challenge, skirting a pond that consumes misaimed balls and provides a convenient spying spot for FBI-employed swamp things. Hole seven's sunken green amps up putting difficulty while the 14th hole delves into shady woodland. After rounds, a newly renovated clubhouse ensconces guests in postgame comfort, with lounges, a restaurant, and fully stocked pro shop. Guests are asked to wear golf attire when on the course, maintaining decorum and preventing awkward encounters between golfers dressed as golf carts.