In 1996, a group of golfers formed a membership program that offers deeply discounted greens fees at a network of affiliated golf courses in West Michigan. The program is PGAC, and the result provides two-for-one greens fees at more than 20 courses. After reserving tee times any day of the week, golfers can load up their clubs and spare mannequin legs to test their skills on the challenging designs of renowned regional courses such as The Highlands, Lynx, Macatawa Legends, and Diamond Springs. Along with saving golfers up to $7,500 and helping local courses increase their waterways? diet of golf balls, PGAC hosts fundraisers for local schools and organizations.
Basketball courts in newly built facilities echo with youthful excitement near the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids' on-site sports medicine center. Groups of boys and girls in grades first through seventh, divided based on age, converge one day each week to practice basketball basics such as dribbling, passing, and harmonizing their squeaking sneakers. Pupils gather every Saturday to test their newfound abilities in a friendly match with another team amidst waves of applause and encouragement from families and coaches. Before the season begins, complimentary T-shirts give players a sense of belonging and help bolster wardrobes rendered obsolete by growth spurts. Schedules will vary according to age groups and coaches, and teams welcome basketball novices, intermediate players, and referees hoping to learn how the whistle works.
Slim and full of energy, Kathy Bartnick's present-day physique betrays no hint of her lifelong struggle with weight. Five years ago, she shed her excess pounds through exercise and proper nutrition, and today she works to teach others the same determination. She heads up a team of expert coaches, who lead students at all levels of fitness through energetic group workouts. They also give clients meal plans and nutritional tips, teaching them how to whip up a wholesome snack and differentiate between a healthy vegetable and a fire hydrant dressed in a carrot costume. In lively cycling classes, clients peddle away on advanced Star Trac bikes as upbeat music plays and a glimmering light show takes place before their eyes.
As the name suggests, Anytime Fitness is open all day and all night, seven days a week, 487 days a year. But just because it's open at all hours doesn't mean it surrenders its locker rooms to the dark forces of the night: security is active there around the clock. Besides creating a safe gym atmosphere that fits your life's schedule rather than vice versa, Anytime's hours cuts down on crowds and long lines to use each club's array of cardio equipment, circuit equipment, and free weights.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The accommodating staff at Park Center Lanes—a 24-lane bowling coliseum with freshly sanded approach areas—hosts bouts of pin-punishing fun in a lively, family-friendly environment. Before bowling off steam frame by frame, guests visit the rental desk to retrieve a pair of well-fitting, snazzy bowling shoes. Once donning the appropriate footwear, bowlers can roll their way through three games as the automatic scoring machine does all the math—so players don’t have to scrawl numbers on the back of bowling-pin restraining orders. Bumpers can be deployed for children to keep errant Brunswick balls from encroaching on other lanes. Every Friday and Saturday evening, Rock & Bowl douses the alley in neon lighting and classic rock music. Prevent the overheating associated with gutter-ball rage by sipping a small soft drink and basking in Park Center Lanes’ air conditioning.