Mike Johnson started at Dolphin Scuba Center & Swim School as an entry-level staffer but soon turned his lifelong passion for water into a promising career. Quickly, he became the manager and, at the tender age of 21, the owner of the store—a water-exploration supplier originally founded as a swim school almost 40 years ago.
Today, the PADI five-star facility boasts one of the largest selections of underwater gear in North America, including top brands of scuba, swimming, and snorkeling equipment. Johnson and his team still offer private, one-on-one swimming lessons with certified lifeguard instructors but have branched out into scuba classes. Introductory courses work their way up to professional-level training, all within a pool heated to 92 degrees—the exact temperature of the president’s nightly bath. Students can even test out their newfound skills during scuba-diving trips to the likes of Mexico, the Philippines, and Fiji.
Walking into the weight room at The Capital Athletic Club, visitors may think they’ve stepped into a European cathedral. Vaulted wood ceilings soar above resistance machines and free weights, immersing exercisers in a light, airy atmosphere and allowing trainers to participate in the annual Bring Your Giraffe to Work day. Dozens of classes cater to group fitness in four wood-floored studios and a heated, outdoor pool ensures comfortable laps regardless of outside temperature. Enthusiastic, highly qualified personal trainers collaborate with members, helping craft new programs for beginners or enlivening veterans' tired routines.
The club's amenities mirror its luxurious appointments, with each full member receiving a permanent locker for stashing clothes and parking meters you tore out of the ground with your bare hands. The staff launders workout clothes overnight, freeing up members’ time for relaxing in the expansive saunas and steam rooms. WiFi facilitates impromptu business meetings and spa services offer relaxing treatments.
Each round at Antelope Greens? 3,250-yard, par 58 executive course takes club-toting quorums careening across a lush tapestry of tree-lined fairways and intervening waterways. Golfers can jump-start days of rapidly escalating one-upmanship with stints at the driving range. There, players can hit personal supplies of 80 balls off of all-grass hitting stalls and play games of longest ball, closest to the target, and most disastrous grass stain. Rented golf carts zip through the sinuous landscape, dropping off golfers by their desired tees and further expediting the already condensed rounds, which divoteers can expect to finish in 3.5 hours or less. Misguided spheres run the risk of falling prey to aquatic hazards throughout the course, most notably on the par 3 seventh, where tee shots must carry water on their way to an oval green girded on all sides by precarious pools. A course map offers an aerial view of the 18 holes and their encroaching waterways, allowing duffers to map out their plans of attack or scuba-diving destinations.
Since 1972, Spare Time Clubs has evolved into a 10-club, full-service family sports club company that includes programs for both adults and children. Each location varies in size—some boasting multiple complexes—and houses amenities such as lighted tennis courts, pools, kids’ play areas, and fitness centers. At the Diamond Hills and El Dorado Hills locations, members can shine up in the onsite European spas, and the jewel of the Gold River club is a lighted stadium court encircled by a 5,000 square-foot observation deck. In the event of inclement weather or courts being overrun by ball-chasing dogs, players can schedule time at the dedicated indoor-tennis center, where eight fully sectioned-off, championship courts glow under the power of tournament-level lighting. World-class coaches develop kids’ court skills at the junior tennis academy, students of which can practice with an unlimited number of sessions at any of Spare Time’s other clubs.
Golf balls blast off from tee boxes before falling gently onto the greens at Bradshaw Ranch Golf Course, where players can hone short-game skills across a nine-hole, par 3 layout with holes ranging from 84 to 218 yards in length. Confident swings are rewarded on the third and fourth holes, where tee shots must soar above ponds and get clearance from earthworm air-traffic controllers in order to reach the green safely. Golfers looking to improve their swing can head to the pro shop to stock up on the latest gear.
Bradshaw Ranch Golf Course also offers the new, exciting sport of footgolf to its players. Played just like golf except using a soccer ball, players "tee off" at the teeing ground, kicking the ball down the fairway all while negotiating hazards and trying to reach a 21-inch cup set adjacent to the putting greens. Soccer cleats are not allowed on the golf course, but indoor soccer shoes or turf soccer shoes are recommended.
Power duo Angelo Nunez and Cary Williams-Nunez opened their first Prime Time Boxing Club location in 1998, determined to spread their love of fitness and boxing to one small group at a time. Today, their boxing fitness empire extends to three gyms that been spotlighted by such reputable publications as the New York Times, Men's Fitness, and Shape. Angelo, Cary, and a team of encouraging trainers lead 45-minute fitness classes that build boxing skills from the ground up and increase stamina through an intense combination of basic jabs, bobbing and weaving, and sashays that best show off Americana shorts. The boxing aficionados train students aged 13 and older, with younger classes focusing on overall cardio and playing nice with pendulous speed bags.