Some swim coaches can only tout their credentials and experiences, but director Susie Collins can prove the results of her labor. One of her pupils is working toward swimming in the Olympics, and a thrilled parent recently praised her ease and dedication in teaching their special-needs son how to swim. All the academy's instructors receive training in water safety, stroke curriculum, and child development directly from Collins, who also teaches games and techniques to motivate even the most stubborn inflatable alligator. Students learn at their own pace, following Collins's stage-by-stage method that leads toward individual swimming goals, whether students want to compete professionally or use their butterfly stroke to blend in at the local dolphin tank.
Throughout the year, Choice Tee keeps players in tiptop game shape with a fully automated driving range, golf-simulator room, and miniature-golf course. Ceiling fans rotate high above covered tees, keeping players cool as they practice driving balls further than 350 yards. The robotic tees reload after each drive, allowing players to practice without straining their backs. The facility also hosts surreal short-game practice on a 19-hole miniature-golf course. A misting fountain sits at the circuit’s epicenter, and a series of emerald corridors tests players who tap like a bugler at dawn through the labyrinth of faux-grass turf, harnessing their putt-putt prowess as they attempt to read testy breaks, outfox smooth-putting opponents, and curb cases of the yips.
Golf USA tends a nursery of name-brand golf clubs plus a professional staff trained to accommodate swingers with the proper tee-grazing tools. Certified by Zelocity, Ping, and Piretti, Golf USA fitters begin by measuring the height, arm span, and hand length of each golfer to determine necessary shaft and club sizes. They will then analyze swing speed, ball speed, flight path, launch angle, and ball spin to begin shaping each club. Fitters will also monitor the trajectory, power transfer, and club face angle at impact to select clubs that will help improve swings and reduce squirrel casualties.
The head instructor of Gracie Barra The Woodlands, Alex Gotay, has earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's a milestone that requires talent, of course, and a significant chunk of time—more than ten years, to be exact. Alex and the Gracie Barra team lead students down this path with a four-month fundamentals program, where they learn the principles of effective fighting. Students then enter an eight-month advanced program followed by a capstone black belt program, which draws on elements of MMA and other fighting styles.
The center doesn't just train aspiring black belts, however; many students use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes as a way to keep fit. The center offers 50+ classes per week in this and other fighting and fitness styles. Muay Thai and cardio kickboxing classes, for example, follow no skill sequence—instead, they help students of all levels avoid the classic pitfall of kicking with both legs at once.
The seasoned paranormal investigators at the Spirit Quest Center instruct burgeoning ghostbusters in the art of spectral detection on its spine-tingling Spring Ghost Tour. Before embarking into the ectoplasmic world, Spirit Quest preps spirit walkers ages 10 and older with a Ghost Hunting 101 lesson. Students learn investigation techniques such as detecting magnetic-field disturbances, using dowsing rods to communicate directly with specters, and uncovering electric voice phenomena (EVP) in digital recordings that capture the kelpie vibrato of karaoke phantasms. A professional paranormal investigator then leads the tour past some of Old Town Spring's oldest buildings, regaling the fascinating history of the vexed settlement with frequent stops for ghostly apparitions and interaction. During the 2.5- to three-hour tour, phantom pursuers may get the chance to chat with the poltergeists through the medium’s translation, asking questions about ghostly life and what it’s like to hang out with Elvis.
“In victory, be humble. In defeat, be strong. In all things be fair.” This quote from Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee serves as the philosophy of Family ATA Martial Arts, where students of all ages learn Songahm Taekwondo. The martial arts form focuses on building strength of body and character through personal development based on Lee's teachings. At the center of his teachings: the Songahm star, a symbol of the circle of life and of finding balance in each day. The inclusive, family-friendly classes for youngsters as well as adults blend these teachings with Taekwondo techniques such as kicks and strikes, creating a workout that exercises the mind, body, and spirit more effectively than running a marathon while reading the work of classic philosophers.