Harry Shaw didn't found a combat-focused gym because he likes to beat people up—though he is a 2nd Dan Black Belt. Rather, he hoped to run a venue where his community could learn to feel both healthy and safe. He and his staff of certified instructors lead self-defense and exercise programs in a judgment-free zone, training students ranging from 7-year-old kids to law-enforcement personnel.
Their krav-maga classes teach the reality-based strikes and escapes of the Israeli Defense Forces' official combat system. In sessions for children and adults, coaches demonstrate how to swiftly and instinctively guard against attacks from offenders both with and without weapons. Combat Fitness courses draw from UFC Heavyweight Champion Bas Rutten's MMA system, which mixes fighting drills with cardio workouts more effectively than biking through a boxing match.
In a time when most people find out about survival skills through reality television, Dave Scott is the exception. The founder and president of Earth Native Wilderness School spent his formative years exploring the Texas wilderness. As a US Army veteran, he is 1 of only 20 people in North America qualified as a Track and Sign Specialist. He has devoted himself to helping society remember the skills that have kept us alive for thousands of years.
Earth Native Wilderness School's instructors come from all walks of life, but they each have a love of nature. With lessons in medicinal plants, basic wilderness survival, and wildlife tracking, the school's classes teach students skills such as fashioning tools for survival, arrow making, fire by friction, and finding an ATM in the desert. The staff also realizes humanity's spiritual connection to nature and can even guide students through a vision quest to strengthen their relationship with nature.
Designed by three-time Masters champion Jimmy Demaret, Point Venture Golf Club's nine-hole course cleaves through thickets of cedar trees along the north shore of Lake Travis. Although narrow fairways and small greens offer a challenge to advanced golfers, novice players can swing freely as the course is free of water hazards, bunkers, and wormholes disguised as divots. A relatively short course, Point Venture’s display of sharp doglegs frequently forces players to take shorter clubs to the tee box, effectively lengthening the course. Conversely, the winding fairways may tempt golfers to go for the high-risk, high-reward play of unsheathing their drivers at the tee, flying the corner, and setting up a short approach to the green.
Golfers stop by Home On The Range for a change of scenery, chipping balls at a surreal-garden’s worth of quirky targets, ranging from animal statues to abandoned school buses. The accommodating range stays open seven says a week. Its covered tees shield from the rain or blistering sun and it even flips on powerful lights to illuminate the grounds after sunset. Players can also work on their short game at the putting green or head down into the practice bunker to build and bludgeon sand castles. Home On The Range's golf shop houses a variety of golf gear by brands including TaylorMade, Adidas, and Nike, as well as a staff expertly trained to repair and fit a broad spectrum of clubs.
The soft jingling of wind chimes rolls across Magic Greens’s 2.5-acre facility, creating a tranquil space as clients lope across a miniature-golf course lined with handcrafted cedar structures, towering oaks, and native wildflowers. Owners Carole and James George added the serene touches to capitalize on the surrounding area's natural landscape, developing a scenic course that eschews the plastic statuettes and gimmicks of typical mini-golf courses in favor of a more authentic, clown-proof space. Alongside the challenging course rest four bocce-ball courts, ample space for casual washers games, vine-covered gazebos, two waterfalls, and a cedar pavilion where guests can enjoy food and nougaty-center golf balls from the concession-stand.
When students sign on for a Rock About climbing class, they don't just learn to rope their way up mountainsides and trade banter with goats. The company's certified guides also educate clients about the cultural history and complex geology of the climbing sites. On climbing treks to Reimers Ranch Park, owner Adam Mitchell and his team teach top-roping and belaying techniques while exploring the notion that climbing allows humankind to commune safely with the earth's natural wonders. For those uneasy about vertical exploration, the guides offer non-climbing adventures such as interpretive hikes.