Harmony Golf Preserve is an award-winning golf destination that prized as a Top 10 Orlando Golf Course in 2011 from Golf Orlando Florida. Course architect and US Open Champion Johnny Miller designed a layout that would work in concert with the local wildlife. The result is a sprawling championship course that melds seamlessly with the natural wetlands and wooded thickets of the 260-acre wildlife preserve that surrounds it, earning the distinction of a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
While acting as a haven for feathered and furred animals, the course challenges golfers with tricky doglegs and undulating terrain, culminating in the course’s signature 9th hole, whose treacherous sand bunkers and water to the left of the green demand precision off the tee or a generous bribe to the mulligan maestro hiding in the thickets.
During course play, players can stop at a beverage cart or at the Grill on the Turn to refuel. After penciling in their final score, golfers can savor artisanal dishes and bask in the elegant, old-Florida atmosphere maintained by Graze, the clubhouse restaurant. Harmony Golf Preserve also helps players of all stripes cultivate their skills and clubbing techniques at The Performance Academy, while budding golfers can equip themselves with brand-name equipment and apparel from the pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
At most courses, golfers are forbidden from feeding the alligators. At Golf N Gator, it's all a part of the fun—at least at designated times. The ancient creatures populate the swamp that lines Golf N Gator's two 18-hole miniature golf courses, where they can be found circling stealthily through the murky waters, sunning themselves on the rocks, or tricking players into trusting the wrong way a putt will break. While most of the reptiles remain at a safe distance, guests can hold some of the smaller specimen for a memorable photo op. Turtles share the swamp with their more predacious friends, and Golf N Gator also houses a 7-foot, 50-pound boa constrictor.
But the scaly denizens are far from Golf N Gator's only attraction. Amidst cascades, rock formations, and tropical vegetation, putters can plumb the shadowy depths of the 18-hole Swamp Cave Course, then take a break before conquering the Gator Mountain course, an ascent that pays homage to the world's first alligators, which famously had fur instead of scales and roamed the peaks of Tibet.
When paintballers feel ready for action but aren't sure where they'd like to do battle, they point their browsers to www.paintballpromos.com. There they'll find packages for nearby paintball fields, so they don't have to litter their own backyards with empty oil barrels and fill tiny water balloons with tempera paint. Packages usually include the rental of a marker and mask; paintballs and air fills are an extra charge at the field.
Dennis Buice, a member of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, unlocks the ocean's depths for students during diving courses that follow the PADI curriculum. Scuba-diver classes start out by introducing students to diving in monitored, shallow water, and advanced sessions span a spectrum from PADI open-water certification to professional training in the rescue-diver course. PADI specialty courses explore focused subjects such as snapping underwater photographs or maximizing underwater time by using enriched air nitrox. Kids’ classes or Discover Scuba lets youngsters and newbies breathe underwater for the first time in the safety of a pool filled with less than 6 feet of water and no starving sharks.
Since 1953, the Coast Guard–certified captains and Merchant Marines of Miss Cape Canaveral Fleet have safely taken guests out to sea in search of trophy-size mackerel, amberjack, snapper, and sharks. As Florida's largest deep-sea-fishing vessel, the 85-foot Lydia yacht hosts up to 100 passengers—just like a large horse carriage pulled by a strongman—and offers comfortable accommodations such as a temperature-controlled lounge and cushioned seats. Fishing adventures provide guests with rods, reels, bait, and tackle big enough for the predators dwelling deep beneath the surface. Guests are invited to snap their own jaws around hot meals, unlimited sodas, coffee, and, for over-21 anglers, a duo of frosty canned beers noodled from the icy depths of the ship's cooler.
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