At age 6, when most little boys are obsessed with their toy trucks and plastic dinosaurs, Ken Miller was interested in playthings with steel shafts and the ability to send a ball soaring over the grass. Young Miller?s passion for golf didn?t wane as he grew older: after making a splash on the junior golf scene, he attended Fresno State University on a golf scholarship and toured competitively before retiring to teach. But after 10 years of working for someone else, Miller was ready to realize his own dream: a family-friendly range that satisfied even the pickiest golfer. So, with his kids and wife in tow, Miller spent a year sculpting 19 acres of land into what is now McHenry Golf Center.
Today, the practice facility?which was named one of the Top 100 Ranges in America in 2009 by Golf Range?presents players with an all-grass driving range whose lighting makes it possible to play with balls that are afraid of the dark. After landing shots on the range?s seven target greens, which taunt them from 50 to 250 yards away, golfers can work on their short game at an 11,000-square-foot putting green, then head over to a practice green guarded by five circular and kidney-bean-shaped bunkers. If they want help with their chipping technique or sand play, they can take lessons with Miller and other PGA pros. Golfers can refuel with fare from the center?s snack bar after a lesson or independent practice.
While creating McHenry Golf Center, Ken Miller designed a pro shop to meet the needs of both casual and dedicated golfers, whether they carry a standard coin purse or suitcases filled with golden golf balls. Customers can get an expert fitting before picking their clubs, thanks to the center's TaylorMade SelectFit System and Ping Advanced Fitting System. For putters and woods that need attention, Golfsmith Clubmakers?trained Jim Tocco awaits at the repair center, where he fixes grips and shafts, working quickly enough to offer next-day service.
Since 1978, Brenda Athletic Clubs has stood out from other gyms for its staff?s focus on offering all the amenities of a modern fitness facility while still fostering an inviting atmosphere. Its founder, Al Brenda, believed in fitness programs for all age groups, a mantra that the club continues today with youth fitness programs, including basketball clinics and yoga lessons, as well as a SilverSneakers fitness program for seniors. In addition to tennis, swimming, and standard strength and cardio equipment, the fitness centers supply its members with an ample amount of group classes including cycling, Zumba, and kickboxing.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award?winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
In the tradition of mixed martial arts, experienced fighter Paul Mendoza and his expert instructors fuse boxing, weight lifting, and calisthenics to create whole-body workouts in their signature Fighter Fit Conditioning program. In addition to improving heart and lung function, the aim of the classes is to create leaner, more toned bodies of both men and women in a communal atmosphere. Matted training areas cover the 8,200-square-foot facility, where heavy bags and treadmills await pounding. Locker rooms for men and women store personal items.
Under the guidance of retired Marine Corps officer Master Yee, certified instructors—many of who have won world championships for sparring and weaponry—pass along the ideology that integrity goes hand-in-hand with technique. They honor the school's membership in the American Taekwondo Association by teaching Songahm tae kwon do, a style whose kicks and blocks can be taught to students of all backgrounds. While leading classes for ages 3 and older, they aim to demonstrate the ideal balance between confidence and self-control, displaying maneuvers from brick-breaking strikes to nunchuck spins.
The trainers strive to keep the learning environment friendly and noncompetitive by focusing on each individual's progress. With "positive mental attitude" and "high goal setting" at the top of their teaching priorities, they motivate students to earn advanced belts the honorable way rather than by dipping them into squid ink.
The experienced staff at POWER trains athletes of all ages at three Central Valley locations. Boot camp classes get grown-ups fit with thrice-weekly workouts designed to help them reach fitness goals. Participants bring hand weights to each session, and leave with instructions for at-home workouts for days off. Meanwhile, across padded floors and rows of trampolines, kids and teenagers in cheerleading classes tumble and spring their way to pep-rally mastery. Lead by USASF-certified instructors, each class focuses on team-energizing spirit and nurtures the dedication, commitment, and level of fitness that cheerleading requires. Whether practicing cheers or building human pyramids to astonish archeologists, students learn gymnastics skills that boost both strength and flexibility, readying them for school functions and competitions.