Originally Posted by vinouspleasure
my wife and I have been to all three of these. She is trying to get to be good enough to get her teaching certificate. I'm not really looking for improvement, just an active vacation where I hit a ton of tennis balls. Here are my thoughts:
The tt experience is very dependent on your pro because IMO, they have the widest range of ability with their pros. This is especially true in the summer where they bring pros from colleges and other areas. The setting for the outdoor courts is beautiful and peaceful, especially in the fall. Lodging is somewhere between rustic and spartan but the rooms are clean. I believe the chef may be CIA trained and the food is very, very good. I've always been in the strongest group there and I've never seen anyone stronger than a strong 4.0 though I'm sure they get 4.5s from time to time. I should add that TT, with the right pro, is a great value.
Newks is all about fun. The pros are fun, they have a great attitude and they make sure everyone has a good time on and off the courts. The food is solid, instruction is solid and the after-tennis is is the best of the three resorts. The rooms are very nice, the rates very reasonable, particularly when they have 2-1 for deals. I played with strong 4.5s when I was there. We had a fabulous time at newks.
We recently spent our anniversary at Saddlebrook. It was very expensive compared to the other two. We paid a little extra for a suite and it was beautiful, by far the nicest of the three resorts. The resort itself is beautiful, with lush palms, a beautiful pool, spa and outdoor hot tubs.
I had heard that the tennis is very demanding, meant to get some aerobics in before we went but just didn't have time. The first day was pretty easy, I was a little sore getting to the court for day 2. The 2nd day our pro really worked me. One of the things I noticed here were the lack of breaks...its non-stop tennis, two people picking up balls while the others hit. My wife and I were really hurting starting day 3 and the pace quickened right off the bat. For some reason, after lunch that day I started feeling better and I was good to go for the rest of the stay. However, the pro did get me to a point on the last day where in the middle of a drill I was so tired I could no longer hit a backhand over the net. I think they look for that moment and work with you once in you're in that state.
From what I could see, Saddlebrook has the best pros and they really care about your experience. They took the three other players on my court for privates with the tennis director. He worked with my wife on her backhand slice. At the end of the day, I had 3 balls and I was trying to help my wife with the stroke, he saw us working on it and he spent another 20 minutes with us, working with three balls. This was after everybody had left the courts. Then he offered to hit with me but I was too tired. This was above and beyond anything we expected or could imagine.
You have to pay for the food at saddlebrook but our package included breakfasts and two dinners. The breakfast were absolutely great, better than most nyc restaurants. We ate at the on-property steak house. The food was very good, again as good as some nyc steakhouses. Without the package, the steak house would have been as expensive as a nyc steak house. We ate in the sports bar one night, the food was very good and reasonably priced.
We went to saddlebrook for our anniversary, thinking it was a splash-out, expensive luxury vacation but given the level of instruction, commitment to excellence and the beauty of the resort, we're going back. btw, this was the only resort where I saw 5.0/5.5 level players. Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough to play with them and ended up on the next strongest court, a 3.5 court. Our pro made up for it by working me very hard and he also played in against me, so in the end, it didn't really matter.