El Rancho Verde Golf Club has spent half a century basking in the majesty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, testing golfers on a challenging course without disrupting their inner peace. The par 72 course boasts holes to make both advanced stick-swivelers and novice wedge-wielders feel at home. From the longest tees, balls can race down 6,844 yards of fairway, along pools that reflect the towering peaks and lush greenery where native owls wait eagerly to adopt lost golf balls and hatch them as their own.
Fountains whisper to themselves amid low emerald hillocks. Groups of golfers confer over tees at the ninth hole, where the fairway drops off to the left, into the cool mirror of a small lake. Architect Ted Robinson, who has designed more than 170 courses, draws heavily on the many uses of water in his creations. With mountains spearing the horizon in the distance, golfers cut beneath swaying palm trees. The scents of grilling burgers drift down from the clubhouse, and during Sunday-morning brunches, champagne glasses clink occasionally like a shy xylophonist.
Night lasers, black lights, and glow sticks might tempt people to mistake a Chicka Fitness workout for a rave, but make no mistake—the Chicka Fitness crew is serious about exercise. Their unique classes incorporate dozens of props, allowing pupils to have fun while they sweat off pounds and sculpt their bodies. They use sticks for self-defense, hand targets and bats for stress relief, and even drumsticks. More provocative classes also incorporate chair workouts, dance, and belly-chain wraps.
Tall trees scrape the clouds across Colton Golf Club—but they aren't the only structures that reach skyward. They're joined by light poles, which fill the 18-hole, par 57 executive course with light to facilitate after-dark rounds. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the layout ripples over gentle elevation changes pocked with sand traps and a single pond, which comes into play on the fourth hole. Comprised of 15 par-threes and three par-fours, the course provides an ideal venue for novices trying to expand their game and experts looking to shoot par with nothing but an 8-iron.
Course at a Glance:
Black belts dominate the instructors' wardrobes at Kicks Tae Kwon Do. More than 10 of the studio's instructors have one, and several possess belts of even greater distinction, including grand master Kit Mattson, who is an eighth-degree black belt. All of this talent and experience equates to expertly taught martial-arts classes where preschoolers and adults alike can learn how to punch, kick, and deliver zingers like Bruce Lee. The instructors also work their self-defense techniques into calorie-burning mixed-marital-arts, kickboxing, and boot-camp workouts.
When golf architect Cary Bickler designed Shandin Hills Golf Club in 1985, he wasn't about to make it easy for golfers to just waltz onto his greens. Instead, he surrounded almost every green with moats of sand to guard the precious bent and poa annua grass. When not building wooden planks to lay across the bunkers, players at Shandin Hills face several obstacles along the 18-hole course, including a large pond on 15 that splits the tee box and the bermuda-grass fairway.
Course at a Glance: