Sleepy Hole Golf Course challenges golfers in an emerald labyrinth defined by tree-lined fairways, wispy aquatic grasses, and views of the mile-wide Nansemond River. Golfers can start off by loosening up drivers on the range and giving short irons a pep talk in the chipping and putting practice areas. After teeing off, players wind through a verdant course inhabited by doglegs, troublesome bunkers, and water hazards that come into play on five holes. The 18th hole tests golfers' mettle with difficult shot selections throughout, as tee shots land in view of the river and prompt players to either lay up for a safe approach or send shots sailing over marshy fescues onto a green sandwiched between a bunker, a drop-off into water, and a patch of carnivorous plants that subsist on divot tools and plaid knickers.
As the annual host of the Eastern Amateur Golf Championship since 1957, Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club's championship course has attracted some of the country's greatest players on their journey to the PGA Tour. As golfers traverse each hole from tee to green, they can imagine themselves tracing the footsteps of Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange, both of whom played in the Eastern Amateur before illustrious PGA careers, during which they won a combined four major victories without ever corking a driver. Today, the 6,642-yard, par-70 course still hugs the Elizabeth River, utilizing the natural landscape with a challenging layout originally envisioned by course designer Dick Wilson in 1948. The course also benefits from more recent refurbishments that made the greens and bermuda-grass fairways more resilient.
A private establishment, Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club complements its golf course with a six-court tennis complex and an Olympic-size, outdoor swimming pool. The club also boasts two restaurants with two patios, where guests can enjoy views of the Elizabeth River and attempt to count the leaves on every tree in the vicinity.
Famed course architect Tom Doak may be the mastermind behind Riverfront Golf Club's 18-hole layout, but Mother Nature should be credited with an assist. Tom took full advantage of the existing topography when shaping each meticulously crafted fairway and green, sculpting a layout that utilizes natural features, including tidal marshes, knee-high native grasses, and ancient pines, oaks, and sycamores. The Nansemond and James Rivers come into play on 14 holes, forcing golfers to face the omnipresent threat of a lost ball and an extra stroke or a ship full of club-stealing pirates. Though the landscape showcases a daunting supply of treacherous hazards, the course offers relatively wide fairways, offering large landing zones for tee shots and aerial caddies flying in mid-round to help read putts on large, undulating greens.
Staffed by a team of nine eye doctors and surgeons, Tidewater Eye Center has racked up recognition in three categories from HamptonRoads.com's Best of Hampton Roads, including Best Health Care Provider and Best Place for Laser Vision Correction. Patients can receive a variety of optometry services at each of the clinic’s three locations, including basic eye exams; treatments for glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration; and even aesthetic procedures, including eyelid surgery. Yet, the center’s most popular treatment is blade-free LASIK eye surgery, which eliminates the need for lenses and soda-bottle monocles in as little as 15 minutes.
It’s fitting that Grand Slam 2’s name suggests a sequel, as the baseball complex’s team of instructors consists of former collegiate coaches and athletes who continue their involvement in the sport even after hanging up their game-day cleats. In classes, camps, and clinics, these instructors impart their appreciation for baseball as they build their students’ hitting and fielding skills from the ground up. Though the facility’s batting cages play an important role in correcting swings, sessions may also include off-field weight training—this is especially true for pitching classes, which aim to bulk up throwing arms in preparation for more serious competition. At winter and summer hitting academies, bats crack against approaching baseballs like the whip of an exceptionally demanding coach.
Players can put their newfound skills to the test in the Tidewater Bombers baseball program, a competitive, age-appropriate league that imparts the principles of teamwork through live-action games. To prepare for league games, check out Grand Slam 2's pro shop, which stocks bats, gloves, and terrifying masks for psyching out opposing pitchers.
While serving oversees in the US military, Tracy Lee Thomas would often dream of opening his own martial-arts training studio. He had been training in martial arts since he was 13 years old, mastering the form and self-defense techniques of a variety of styles and eventually earning his seventh-degree black belt. He was able to realize this dream once he returned to American soil, where he opened up his own studio: Changing Lives Martial Arts.
Today, the official American Taekwondo Association master pulls from his years of expertise to lead karate, tae kwon do, and krav maga classes to students of all ages. Tracy and his team of expert instructors teach self-defense tactics and guide students through dynamic punches and kicks while emphasizing the importance of life skills such as self-discipline and focus. The instructors also take a load off moms and dads by hosting kids’ birthday parties, where martial arts–inspired games provide a fun alternative to messy piñatas and games of pin-the-tale-on-the-grownup. His dedication to his students and martial arts has also gained the attention of the Virginian-Pilot, which has awarded him the Best of Hampton Roads award seven times from 2005 to 2012.