Tucked in the breezy shadows of towering douglas firs, golfers hunt birdies and pars across Lake Spanaway's 7,083-yard course. Fairways tunnel through communities of trees that convince errant golf balls that they are pinecones. Three of the course's holes earned honorable mention in the Seattle Times' Puget Sound area's Dream 18 Holes, including the par 4 12th, where tee shots must trace the fairway as it curves left through a narrow tree line and toward a green shielded by an oasis of vast bunkers.
A covered, lighted driving range sits beside the course, where golfers smooth out swings undisturbed by waning daylight, rain, or hail caused by skydivers eating sunflower seeds. The course's staff of golf pros also helps manage on-course techniques with a variety of instructional options, including complimentary 10-minute lessons.
Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par 71 course
* Length of 7,083 yards from the farthest tees
* Course rating of 73.5 from the farthest tees
* Slope rating of 124 from the farthest tees
* Four tee options
* See the scorecard
New York-native John Cassese's motto is, "If you can walk, you can dance." The celebrity dance instructor and choreographer's own quick-stepping career began at the tender age of 10, jumpstarting a passion that would eventually take him careening across the stages of off-Broadway productions, nightclubs, dance competitions, and the occasional monster-truck rally. It wasn't until he relocated to Los Angeles that an agent dubbed him "The Dance Doctor," and soon after, he found his fleet-footed prowess and teaching abilities in high demand amongst production studios such as Sony, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox.
Between choreographing a Charleston dance sequence on AMC's Mad Men and singing at the 50th birthday parties of Billy Crystal and Wolfgang Puck, John leads a team of instructors as they teach celebs and everyday Tinseltowners the finer points of styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop. Despite all the fanfare, his biggest praise comes from his work with soon-to-be-married couples, who seek his advice on everything from basic steps and song selection, to the length of the post-cake-cutting conga line.
Instructors and real-life couple Paul and Pollie are the dynamic duo behind Mousai Studios, forging both their business and romantic partnership around Paul’s lifelong love of dance. The couple specializes in several types of ballroom dancing—which Paul considers his niche—and they impart their toe-tapping skills to the public through private and group classes that focus on social, rather than competitive, dancing.
The studio, which encloses floor-to-ceiling windows and lush potted plants, also hosts weekly belly dancing, burlesque, and guitar classes taught by passionate instructors. The inviting space doubles as an art gallery, featuring works by local artists and professionally trained Etch A Sketches and contains a boutique consignment shop that features vintage and gently used fashions for the whole family.
You and your golf pal will receive a wealth of feedback from Tacoma Firs' PGA- and LPGA-certified instructors over the course of each of your hour-long lessons. They tailor instruction to individual needs, so novices can learn the fundamentals of the game, and expert ball-swatters will season their swing, perfect golf posture, and hone alignment. The staff's careful instruction, observation, and friendly demeanor make it easy to make balls to soar more gracefully than an ultralight made of dreams.
A 27-hole facility overseen by the Metro Parks Department of Tacoma, Meadow Park Golf Course offers club-toters both an 18-hole Championship Course and a 9-hole Williams course.
Big hitters can be rewarded handsomely on the Championship Course, where a preponderance of straightaway holes places a premium on distance. Several of these, particularly holes No. 2, 12, and 15, are drivable if golfers make a good swing or quickly down a can of spinach before playing.
The Williams Nine, meanwhile, is ideally suited to beginning golfers. Its collection of three par 4s and six par 3s?none longer than 277 yards from the back tees?won't intimidate players who are just getting the hang of the swing or scared stiff about breaking golf etiquette. The course's ease helps them build confidence in preparation for a jump to the full-length loop.
In 2004, a group of skilled climbers and experienced route setters married their expansive knowledge of the sport to create Edgeworks Climbing. The gym is an indoor paradise that expertly match the dynamic challenges that athletes face outdoors, boasting 10,000 square feet of climbing area with 25-foot top-rope routes, 35-foot lead routes, and 3,500 square feet of bouldering. The team of setters draws on years of experience outdoors to create hundreds of challenging, satisfying routes for climbers of all skill levels. Most of the setters are teachers as well, leading classes for beginners or advanced climbers, as well as heading outdoors to help the class appreciate the adrenaline rush of an outdoor climb ending in a fistfight with a bear.
Additionally, the passionate staff realized that alternative workouts are needed to push through plateaus in climbs, so they created a fitness area to complement the climbing gym. Classes such as yoga, Pilates, and cycling further exercise muscle groups that are useful when trying to finally ride a bike up your favorite route.