As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes by location to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks. UltraStar Play it Again Cinemas also offers a selection of Hollywood hits for patrons to enjoy in high-back reclining chairs alongside snacks from the concession stand.
Local thespians Matt McAuley and Richard Vines banded together with the Dysart Community Education Department to conceptualize Ghostlight Theatre on the tenets of entertaining and educating the community with the dramatic arts. The theatre's live productions give members of the community an opportunity to flex their theatrical muscles through acting, designing costumes, and pursuing careers as prop trees. Meanwhile, Ghostlight Theatre’s summer camps prepare budding thespians aged 10–18 for their moments in the spotlight.
In 1998, after 25 years operating health clubs across Phoenix, Kelly Bruce jumped at the opportunity to open his own club, Fitness 1 Gym. Today, Fitness 1 has expanded to locations across Phoenix, each and every one helmed by Kelly and his sons Chad, Richard, and Bobby. “We don’t just own them,” Chad proudly says, “we run them and we’re in the clubs everyday.” The amenities are certainly attractive, but it seems that what has really made Fitness 1 successful is the Bruce's dedication to their family-run enterprise. “I think that our members feel at home,” says Bobby. “I think [they] realize that it’s not a show… they're coming in here to get to work, to get results.”
Members—who are not forced into long-term contracts—can do just that thanks to an array of cardio and strength-training machines, free weights, and one-on-one personal training. The studio also offers members free fitness classes, such as Power Yoga, Chiseled, and Xplode—an interval-training class.
Sculpted through the desert and framed by distant mountain peaks, Wickenburg Country Club's 18-hole course roams across 6,320 yards of dazzling terrain. Fresh off an October 2011 overseeding, the course's fairways, greens, and tee boxes blanket the arid terrain with a thick carpet of immaculately mown grass stitched by palm trees, intervening waterways, and tumbleweeds that generously lead golfers to wayward balls. The course bounds over naturally undulating terrain that creates numerous uphill and downhill shots, which gives an advantage to players who trust their yardages and can handle sidehill lies. After rounds, players can continue honing their game at the driving range, check out golf apparel at the pro shop, or drink in views of the rolling, sandstone-hued tundra amid the adobe accents of the clubhouse patio, where clubbers can recapitulate memorable shots or interrogate each other's 9-irons about the veracity of their owners' scorecard.
Course at a Glance: