“We believe that every child is a champion.” This mission statement informs the approach that Cal Elite Kids takes with the participants of its programs. Youngsters may learn self-reliance in gymnastics lessons, which take place on an in-ground tumble-track trampoline, on an array of beams and bars, or in the air above an in-ground foam pit. They also develop discipline in dance class; at the Rancho Santa Margarita facility, the five dance studios inspire with views of the surrounding mountains.
Cal Elite Kids’ charges can even learn how to express themselves through athletic theatrical performances or simply improve their 2 a.m. Friday-night karaoke warblings during Glee Elite sessions.
Established in 1970, Coto Valley Country Club enriches the lush landscape of the Coto De Caza Valley with acres of family-friendly facilities dedicated to sports, fitness, and relaxation. Atop the blue-and-green plane of 10 tennis courts, players can hug the baseline, return heated serves, or weave yellow ball fuzz into the net during friendly matches or lessons from one of the resident aces. Idyllic trees and rustic riding trails surround the equestrian center, where horses bound over hurdles at the show-jumping course or dart across the polo field. The club also offers a variety of fitness activities and amenities, from boot-camp and karate classes for keeping bodies in shape to massage therapists for assuaging the lingering pain from napping on the elliptical machine. As a more tranquil alternative, guests can always simply laze by the poolside or stroll the fragrant gardens before unwinding with a drink at the bar or an alfresco meal on the outdoor patio.
Meaning “contact combat” in Hebrew, krav maga is the official self-defense system for the various branches of Israeli military. The martial art focuses on instinctive movements rather than ritual, and it aims to impart a sense of awareness and confidence on students. Since its creation in the 1940s, the popularity of the physically demanding practice has spread, like a viscous goo, all over the world. Twenty years ago, the chief instructor of Krav Maga Worldwide requested that Mitch Markowitz and Mike Leifer start a program in California. They soon established Krav Maga of Orange County. In Irvine, their seven black-belt level instructors have taught scores of students through the five krav levels. They have also adapted the program for youth and boot-camp-style workouts.
The bulk of TruHold's indoor facility pops with colorful holds peppering a looming rock wall. Arranged by levels clearly marked "0" through "5," the grips skirt along the face of a specially designed, angular climbing wall that shifts from a steep 50 degrees to a beginner-friendly 10 degrees. Built for the bouldering style—ascending diverse terrain quickly without ropes or harnesses while dodging boulders hurled by an angry cyclops—the wall juts out over a lushly padded crash mat that cushions climbers. Experienced and professional bouldering climbers offer clinics, classes, gear rental, and open-climb times at their 4,200-square-foot indoor facility, all in the pursuit of welcoming uninitiated climbers into the fold.
Golf balls blast skyward from the 60-stall, two-tiered driving range at Lake Forest Golf and Practice Center, which doubles as the training ground for The Golf Guys’ regimen of lessons. Kehli Bowen, the head golf pro, develops swings with corrective advice culled from nearly a decade of coaching experience; some of his pupils have earned college scholarships and national recognition on the junior circuit without selling their souls for a mystical Chi Chi Rodriguez golf hat.
Lessons encompass everything from the technical aspects of the game to course-management strategies to golf-based nutrition programs. In addition, The Golf Guys streamlines its lessons with technological resources, including iPad-enabled video swing analysis and online swing evaluations, which allow golfers to receive feedback on their mechanics or the flame decal they added to their driver by sending a video of their swing to the pros.