Golf courses are designed to compound players’ mistakes. An errant tee shot winds up buried in the rough, on a side-hill lie, or shut out behind a tree—where golfers may not be able to take a full swing, let alone concentrate on how to correct their mechanics. In golf, the driving range is the only safe haven. Saratoga Springs Golf Range’s all-grass hitting bays provide a smooth, flat surface that lets golfers concentrate on improving their swings and grants amnesty for past swing transgressions in the form of range balls and a course notary who expunges all mulligans from players’ official records.
Saratoga Springs Golf Range helps swings enter into a harmonious relationship with their sticks through custom club fitting, loft and lie adjustments, and regripping services. The range’s club technicians also offer various repair services for snapped club shafts and emotionally distraught drivers.
In continuous operation since 1945, Murphy's Golf Range and Mini Golf hosts off-course clubbing with a driving range and mini-golf course set amid fragrant flowerbeds. Windmills whir above the 18-hole putter's circuit, where balls must circumvent whitewashed wagon wheels, squeeze between equestrian starting gates, and power through loopty-loops without succumbing to motion sickness. At the driving range, players can choose to hit off artificial-turf mats or separate grass hitting bays as they send Srixon range balls into the stratosphere, raining down on targets labeled with their yardages from the hitting gallery.
At Harvest Meadow Farm, instructor Laurie Phillips draws on more than 30 years of training experience to guide her students in the ways of equitation, dressage, and jumping. She trains students of all ages and skill levels, and also trains horses according to natural-horsemanship techniques. Holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in equine studies, Laurie is both experienced and certified in training people with mental impairments, sponsoring a handicap program for Living Resources of Albany in 2010.
Surviving in the wilderness can be challenging—especially during the zombie apocalypse. But some of Wilderness Survival's courses prepare students for just this situation, incorporating practical lessons into a simulated battle between zombies and humans, complete with optional paintball warfare. Other courses focus purely on the practical aspects of survival, such as building a shelter, finding wild edible plants, purifying water, and learning how to roundhouse kick the wings off pesky mosquitoes.
Irish eyes smile in Niall Roche’s traditional Gaelic pub, at once cozy and grandiose with iron chandeliers and imported Irish furniture strewn throughout the many rooms of the 6,000-square-foot space. An Emerald Isle native with restaurateuring in his blood, Niall realized his dream of owning and operating a pub of his own in Saratoga. He's poured energy into The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant's tiny details: the hunter-green leather on the second-story furnishings, the serving staff of accented Gaels, and the wall-mounted fiddle painted as green as a three-leaf clover jealous of its four-leafed cousin. The bar and booths on the first floor form a cozy country-pub ambiance, and the castle-like second story takes advantage of the space and spills out over a rooftop terrace overlooking Congress Park.
As much care, if not more, is taken with the menus, which feature an all-day Irish breakfast, chicken with imported Irish curry, and Celtic fusion food that incorporates anything from egg rolls to nachos. Fresh haddock, broiled or fried, offers a taste of the North Atlantic, and a splash of Guinness improves menu items from the beef stew to the chocolate cake. While diners dig into hearty shepherd's pies or rasher-topped burgers, live musicians play anything from Celtic pub songs to contemporary radio jams.
Gusts of steam blasting out of vents, the eerie black eyes of neon-green aliens, and fiery-mouthed craters set the stage at Outer Zone Laser Tag’s 5,000-square-foot arena. Within this extraterrestrial combat zone, players scurry up a 175-foot ramp system and duck behind columns to avoid enemy fire or any existential crises that crop up when aiming the phaser at a best friend. Flickering of strobe lights and swirls of fog hamper vision as players crawl through tunnels and aim their lasers at opponents’ LED-lit vests, hoping for direct hits and big points. Before each session, groups learn the game rules in a briefing room and gear up with the help of a zone commander in the vesting room. Outer Zone Laser Tag also welcomes birthday parties, inviting celebrants to shimmy on a dance floor after taking down enemies in the arena.