Time seems to move at a more leisurely pace in the southern part of Brevard County, where the locals are friendly and the ocean's never more than a few miles away. Even so, the area's premier golf facility, Aquarina Country Club in Melbourne Beach, takes pride in the swiftness of its rounds. It won't take an entire day to work your way around the course's 18 holes?unless, of course, you come back for a second or third helping. In any case, golfers of all skill levels will find plenty to love on fairways that curl around live oaks, mangrove marshes, and nearly a dozen glistening lakes. The course actually sits within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, meaning there's a high chance of spotting exotic flora or stumbling across a herd of wild golf carts.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 62 course * Total of 4,313 yards from the tips * Four tees per hole * Course rating of 62.0 * Course slope of 107 * Scorecard
In Renato Tavares's storied career, which spans more than three decades if you count the 90s, he's won more than 200 grappling and Brazilian jiujitsu championships around the world. With all this experience tucked under his black belt, Renato decided to open up American Top Team. In this spacious 6,000-square-foot facility, he joins forces with a staff of four other black belts to teach students the discipline and artistry of mixed martial arts. Each week they churn through more than 30 classes targeted to men, women, and kids of all skill levels. These classes focus on the aforementioned Brazilian jiujitsu and grappling, as well as self-defense, kickboxing, and combat striking.
The colorful specks flying above Indian River Lagoon are not rainbows, they’re giant kites. Whereas in the past if you wanted something to pull you through water you had to have a boat or a willingness to touch any kind of dorsal fin, kiteboards take out the middleman by uniting a board, thin lines, and a long, billowing kite soaring high above to keep riders buoyant as they soak up sun. Endless Windz’s certified PASA kiteboarding instructors teach their students the ropes of these whimsical devices during private and group lessons. The staff doesn’t make students go straight to the water, however, instead offering introductory on-land instruction in a safe and easy to learn environment. Once students are confident enough to go out on their own, the staff can provide jetski assistants called "downwinders" for extended rides, or help them purchase the best Naish, F-One, or Ocean Rodeo kites and boards to suit their needs.
At Master Lowell's Mixed Martial Arts, experienced martial artists help clients increase flexibility, develop self-defense skills, and relieve stress through classes in disciplines such as MMA, Brazilian jujitsu, and muay thai kickboxing. In his earlier days, Master Jonathan Lowell competed internationally in martial-arts tournaments, winning medals in California and Florida state competitions and training in Japan and Israel. Today, he imparts the wisdom he has gained over the decades through his gym's varied curriculum.
Bows, mounted game heads, and military memorabilia decorate the walls at Action Gun & Archery, but this instructional facility's archery equipment isn't just for show. Staff instructors teach one-on-one, hands-on lessons that cover the basics of hunting and target-shooting. Practice is held on the facility's 20-yard indoor archery and crossbow range, which offers a chance to shoot at real targets. On the other hand, customers can aim for digital targets—a Techno HUNT simulator lets users practice their bow technique on virtual, moving prey without the danger of touching a weird forest bug. Action Gun & Archery also houses a shop filled with Victory arrows and bows by brands such as Bowtech, Hoyt, and Mathews. Not all of the wares are pre-made and name-brand though: the shop's technicians craft custom arrows and bow-strings upon request, and also repair compound and traditional bows.
Even tour pros would think twice about some of the shots at The Majors Golf Club. Take the tee shot at the 456-yard first hole, for example: the beefy yardage leaves no choice but to hit driver into a stiff cross-wind, and any miss to the left will likely stray out of bounds. The same tee shot anxiety returns at the 15th hole, a par-three with a genuine island green that requires a rock-solid 180-yard approach. The stylish course design should be no surprise, as it's the grassy brainchild of golf legend Arnold Palmer. Palmer also had a great collaborator in Mother Nature, as the grounds boast Carolina-style pine trees, sugary white sands, and natural contours that contribute to its visual drama. Before rounds, golfers can fine tune their swings at a natural-grass driving range or lick the greenside rough at a short-game area.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,850 yards from the tips * Five tee options * Scorecard