It’s not uncommon to stumble upon fake alligators as you make your way around a mini-golf course. But at Smugglers Cove's locations, live American alligators snap their jaws in exhibits nestled amid the miniature fairways. With an old-fashioned bamboo pole players can dangle a treat above 20–50 of the predatory alligators, which leap from the water to snatch their treat. Between feeding frenzies, games take place on Smugglers Cove’s 18-hole outdoor courses, where balls roll past rushing waterfalls, into caves, over mountainous terrain, and into a hole in a pirate ship.
In golf, it's important to choose the right club for each shot. It's equally important to choose the right educational approach for each student. Coach Marc intuitively understands this, which is why he helps golfers improve their swings with everything from one-on-one instruction to group clinics and on-course playing lessons.
Over the years, Marc has shared his wisdom with more than 1,000 students. Take a look at his playing résumé, and you'll see that he's uniquely qualified to do so. At age 16, when most kids are busy goofing off, he set a course record at the challenging Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Course in Palm Harbor. He's also a two-time PGA Tour qualifier with three holes-in-one to his name. Today, Marc stays sharp by schooling new golfers at locations across Florida. To help him analyze what even his keen eye can't catch, he uses modern technology such as video analysis and balls that explode when you don't hit them correctly.
Snaking alongside the Boca Ciega Bay, The Tides Golf Club's 18-hole course confronts golfers with oceanfront breezes that are both relaxing and a challenge to tee shots on tree-lined fairways. Waterways come into play on 12 holes and figure more prominently on the back nine, where a pond imperils errant golf balls on every single track. Tidwarf grass adorns the course's elevated greens, which provide a true surface for golfers to roll their putts or roll their toy-sized golf carts.
Course at a Glance:
From outposts fashioned inside three different locations, Charlie's Pro Shop at Liberty Lanes upgrades the games of beginner bowlers and seasoned veterans alike. The shops cover their walls with a colorful array of balls, bags, shoes, and accessories–everything necessary to improve scores on the lanes or convince strangers you're a famous bowler named Strikes MacKenzie. Children's equipment readies pint-size pin crushers for battle, and custom drilling ensures digits of all shapes jive comfortably with their finger holes.
Defensive Shooting Instructors' training staff includes Special Forces members, SWAT officials, and intelligence specialists. Drawing from these backgrounds, the highly trained team teaches dozens of public courses that cover everything from pistols to shotguns to hand-to-hand combat. Rather than guiding their students through simple lessons, the instructors run drills that simulate real-world conditions and aim to create safe-yet-intense environments. Depending on the class, they might have groups race through obstacles, run up stairs, or even roll in the dirt. For firearms training, they travel to local ranges and put shooters through repetitive drills focused on speed, accuracy, and consistency. In addition to civilian instruction, Defensive Shooting Instructors designs courses for law enforcement officers, military members, and deploying journalists. Its staff mans a gun shop.