Designed by famed golf-course architect Joseph L. Lee, Plum Tree National Golf Club delights par pursuers with a picturesque, 18-hole course intertwined with more than 200 acres of unspoiled McHenry County forestland. Host to numerous Illinois PGA events and national qualifying events, the verdant fairways challenge club swingers with 105 sand traps, demanding water obstacles, and distractingly seductive grass. More than 4,000 trees stand perched along the rolling terrain, and players can rely on well-kept fairways and greens thanks to a recently completed maintenance-and-drainage program that required no less than 17 hedge trimmers and one very large wet/dry vacuum cleaner.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts more than 1,800 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
Lead by a crew of experienced professionals, including 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Don Essig III, Hickory Stick Golf Club challenges its visitors with a rippling course of Ireland-inspired greens and rolling fairways. Choose from a trio of instructors to help fine-tune swings with two 30-minute private lessons. The trained club swinger will aid students in modifying underperforming hits while instilling proper techniques to help avoid sand traps and feral golf carts. The TrackMan Pro club analysis is designed to further enhance newfound follow-through with video-capturing radar. This visual data helps golfers see their stance in slow motion, as well as the swing trajectory with 1982 holographic overlays.
The Golf Club at Waters Edge presents golfers of every stripe with a nine-hole layout that puts iron accuracy and short-game touch to the test. The Randy Wirkus design extends to 1,700 yards for a par of 33—an ideal setup for beginners who want to focus on fundamentals and ex-players who want a reason to sport their bygone golf fashions. After the round, golfers can unwind at the onsite restaurant, which offers a full-service bar, a Friday fish fry, and a pool table.
H.G. Wells first imagined a ray gun in his 1898 novel, The War of the Worlds. It took almost a century, though, before Milton Bradley’s first Star Trek-inspired electronic phasers allowed people to zap someone else with a ray of light. Now officially living in the future, these light-wielding marksmen settle their duels in the darkened halls of Lightning Lazer Tag, downing opponents with a mixture of Wild West bravado and whiz-bang space-age weaponry.
If players tire of navigating murky passageways and blasting friends, they can decamp to a nine-hole indoor miniature-golf course, which challenges bodies and minds with devious obstacles cast in the permeating glow of a black light. Competitive shouts and digital chatter drifts from linkable video game systems, which let players choose from more than 40 games.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.