Tennis Road Show

#1
I travel a lot for work. About 40 weeks a year I'm on the road for 3-4 days a week. About 2 years ago I decided to try and play while on the road. I'm hoping this thread will serve as a list of places to play around the country that welcome the weary traveller. Please add places you play at locally or have played on the road. I for one could use that knowledge to get some court time in.



for the most part you can google all these places and most have web sites with more info.



these are in no particular order. I guess I'll give ratings via ***. 5 being best



Seattle - The Boeing Employees Tennis Center (private/open to public)- *****

located in Kent, Washington about 15 minutes south of Sea Tac airport this place is one of, if not my favorite place to play anywhere. Despite it being primarily for employees of Boeing this place is open to the average joe.
They have 9 indoor hard courts. Court fees are somewhat reasonable at $22/hr for non-members. They have several, 3-4, high end playmate ball machines. The staff is friendly, they have a fairly new & wide selection of loaner/demo racquets at the front desk/pro shop if you don't travel your own. I have not been able to try any group clinics/lessons here yet but they are open to drop ins based on availability and have a wide range of classes. The courts are in excellent condition, the lighting is great. I wish I could play here regularly. I have not attempted to play anywhere else in the greater Seattle area as this place has been awesome to me.



Dallas - The Four Seasons Las Colinas (private/open to guests)- ****

Located about 15-20 minutes from DFW the Four Seasons Las Colinas has an impressive tennis facility. It used to host a pro level event (Dallas Open??) so the courts are top notch. I was a guest at the hotel so I'm not sure what the cost or availability is for non-guests. During my stay the weather was bad so I had to play on one of their four indoor hard courts. They also have 8 hard outdoor courts. The cost even as a guest for the indoor courts was somewhat steep IMO at $50/hr. They had a ball machine I used for an additional cost. They have a multitude of clinics and group lessons including early bird 6a groups but I did not sign up in enough time to get a spot. They have a odd smattering of demo racquets for use thrown into a back closet. They advertise having a Pro shop but I don't recall seeing one. They actually had a Donnay Pro One 97 which was surprising. Pickings can be slim though when it comes to late model sticks. The hotel fitness staff is friendly and helpful. All in all a great place to play some tennis.



Dallas - L.B. Houston Tennis center (public)- ***

When not staying at the 4 Seasons Las Colinas (most trips unfortunately) I found a place again close to DFW (10-15 minutes). The L.B. Houston Tennis center is a public facility. They have 16 lighted hard outdoor courts. They have a pro shop inside the building with recent demos to loan. They offer stringing as well. Last I checked they have one ball machine that is really old but decent. The courts are in above par shape. The staff, usually one guy during off hours, is not unfriendly. Court fees are about $3.00/hr. I have not been able to try any group clinics/lessons here yet. This is a pretty standard public facility. Nothing over the top great, but better than nothing.



Fort Worth, TX - McLeland Tennis Center - (public)- ****

This place is a hidden gem to me. Its 15 from downtown Ft. Worth and the Stockyards. The rub here is that it is in a non-touristy/working class area. Some may use other non-flattering terms.... They have 2 hard indoor courts and around 10 or so outdoor hard courts. The indoor courts are in great condition. Condition of the outdoor courts vary with the ones closest to the building in great condition while the outer courts are maybe a tick above average. Court fees are cheap for the outdoor courts at $2.50/player. the indoor courts are $24/1.5 hours. I've been to two group classes there and they both consisted of playing king of the court where the instructor feeds approach/volley/overheads to one side of the court for the entire hour/ 1.5hrs. Despite the lack of variety in drills I had fun and got a really good sweat going. They have a pro shop with stringing available given the right staff member is on duty to string. Demo racquets are a mixed bag of oldies but goodies and maybe a semi-new one in the mix. They have an 2 old ball machines lying around which I've used and it works ok nothing fancy with random oscillating modes. They also have a wall which you can hit on for FREE. When I visit during off hours I sometimes can get a teaching pro to hit with outside for $17/hr which is great for me.



Salt Lake City - Liberty Tennis Center - (Public)- *****

Located in Liberty Park close to downtown Salt Lake, the Liberty Tennis Center/Coach Mike's Tennis academy is great. The setting in Liberty park is fantastic. Running trail, aviary, fountains, etc... There are 16 hard outdoor lighted courts in great condition. There are 4 indoor hard courts under a bubble which I have not seen. Outdoor courts rent for $7/hr with and additional $10 for the trusty old playmate ball machine. Indoor courts go for $22/hr. I took a group class which was fast paced king of the court for 1.5hrs. Again, ideally when I go to a group lesson/clinic/cardio tennis I like to see more variety but I got to hit a lot of balls and had a good workout so I'm not complaining. There is a fully equipped pro shop with some recent offerings for demo frames to borrow. The staff is super friendly and helpful. Great experience playing there and would love to play there again.



Morgantown, WV - Westview Tennis Center - (private/open to public) -****

This is the place I'd imagine JD Salinger would play tennis. It's a small, 2 indoor courts in what looks like may have been a renovated house or barn or old high school gym field house. I'd call it rustic. There's nothing fancy about this place but I still have a great time playing there. The 2 indoor hard courts are in good but could be called fair to someone with more picky tastes. The building itself is beat up and looks a bit dilapidated but I'd play tennis just about anywhere so I don't care. Court fees are reasonable in my book at $15/hour. The staff (usually one or two college aged guys and or a gal) is really friendly and helpful. On several occasions when they've got nothing else to do they've come out and hit with me. two of them have played in college so its great to be able to hit with a high level player when your a rec hack like me. They have a ball machine, which is an old lobster machine with the long tube that spits outs balls. It may be older than I am. One great feature is that you can call ahead of your visit and ask them to arrange a match for you and they will try their hardest to find someone for you. I've witnessed a lesson their but have yet to take part in a formal class/lesson.



Norman, OK - Westwood Tennis Center - (public)- *****

12 outdoor hard courts in great condition. Nice clean facility close to the OU campus. Staff is cool and laid-back. Not trying to oversell you on anything. Court fees are about $10/hr iirc. They have a pro shop with demos to borrow and stringing service. I got a private lesson with a pro their for $35 for an hour. Very cool dude, had a great time. They offer classes but I have not taken participated yet. They have a pretty good ball machine, the standard playmate with directional settings et al. There are no indoor courts so if there's rain or if the winds are whipping off the plains be prepared to brave the elements or not play at all. Literally, right next door is a public golf course where you can hit the driving range, tee off for 18 holes or sit in the clubhouse and grab a bite to eat.



Daytona Beach, FL - Florida Tennis Center - (public) -*****

This place is massive to me. 24 clay hydro courts. 20 of them lighted. I've played here a number of times and I enjoy playing on the clay as a change of pace for me. the staff is fantastic. They've arranged matches for me. I've hit with one of their "semi" pro (not a certified teaching pro) employees. I've had their full service pro shop string a racquet for me. This place is top notch across the board. Of course with no indoor options and the fact I'm usually their during a rainy season can be a damper on my parade. There is a membership structure where members get priority in classes and reservations but I've never had much trouble finding some open court time. court fee for nonmembers is $10/person. the pro shop has the latest gear for sale and demo. Its a little off the beaten path (20 minutes from the beach area) out by the LPGA course/headquarters but well worth the trip.
 
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#2
Continued....

Portland - Portland tennis Center (public) - ****
I was on my way to Eugene to watch the Ducks beat down some lesser opponent one week and looked for some places to play tennis. In Eugene itself, the Eugene Swim & Tennis club will not let non-members grace their facility, unless you know a member. OK, I'm flying into Portland so I decided to stop and play at the Portland Tennis center before driving down to Track Town USA. The facility is about 20 minutes from the airport depending on traffic. They have 5 (+-1) indoor hard courts and just as many outdoor hard courts. There is no pro shop that i recall seeing but there were a few racquets I'm guessing they would let someone play with lying around behind the desk. The court fee was $22 or bucks/hr and they had a nice playmate ball machine that worked well. note, ball machine use is limited to indoor courts. the courts are in excellent condition and the staff is laid back and cool. My first trip there I just dropped in around 2pm and got right on a court. my 2nd trip there it was raining and there were no courts to be had. next trip I will try to reserve a court in advance because I found out Portlandians love their tennis as I called no less than 4 other indoor facilities and they were all fully booked from 1pm through the rest of the day. lesson learned.

Las Vegas - Darling Tennis Center (public) - *****
Vegas baby. Ok not near the strip but still technically Vegas i think.
The Darling Tennis center has 23 hard courts with lights, excellent condition. 2 years ago I took a cab from my hotel on the strip out to Darling. I did not know Vegas was that big. I think the cab ride was near $40 each way. I went there for an early clinic on a Saturday and had a blast. I had to borrow a racquet. They had a good selection from a fully stocked pro shop and i grabbed a prince EXO3 Black. The class was fast paced and ran through a lot of different drills. the drop in rate was $12. I don't know if they have ball machine rentals or how much court fees are outside of the lesson as I've only been there that one time. The best part of the visit was that the Pro Shop was liquidating old racquets and I bought 2 KPS 88's for $60 each. I flipped them for triple what I paid....
Most times I'm in Vegas I can barley crawl out of bed before noon let alone attempt to play tennis. that being said I will get back there in the next year 6 months and update this place.

Berkeley, CA - The Claremont Hotel -(private/open to guests/public)-***
This hotel is old world-y upscale. I could see the great gatsby throwing on some Lacoste and playing here a hundred years ago. Its an interesting set up over there. when I arrived I saw a huge complex of maybe 16 or so courts. I checked in and asked the staff and they told me about 8 courts belong to the hotel, the other 10 belong to the Berkeley tennis club. The latter which I was told is private and not open to the public. OK, cool. The Claremont's courts were in good condition. All hard courts if memory serves with lights. there was a wall made of plywood or something hanging on to on one of the back courts. They had the trusty old playmate ball machine which was pretty good. This was a trip where i did not travel my racquet and had to borrow one. they showed me about 6 racquets they pulled out of a cabinet. 2 looked like aluminum walmart specials. there were a few really old standard sized sticks. I chose the two newest offerings, a Pro Staff 6.0 Classic and a Prince CTS Thunderstick. I quickly found out that the pro staff classic punished my laziness unmercifully so I stuck to the Thuderstick which is not far from the POG oversize I hit with as a kid or the Prince Tricomp 110 i had after the POG. Court fees were in the $20/hr range but once i got out there no one cared how long I stayed when the bill came. Non guest can play there for a fee. No idea how much it is.

Berkeley, CA - Rose Garden Tennis Courts (public) - ****
Read about the tennis courts at the Rose Garden Park in Berkeley. On a trip a year ago a cruised over to check them out. What stands out is the view/setting is beautiful. There's no tennis facility. just 4 hard courts. The courts themselves are in pretty good shape. There were only two other guys playing there at the time so I was glad to a hitting wall I used for an hour or so than i practiced serves. The courts have no lights so as the sun went down I wrapped up my practice and watched a fantastic sun set over the hills of Berkeley. If I get back I'll have to reach out to some forum members to set up a match over there. even if i get pasted the serene surrounding would be worth it.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#3
RoseGarden USED to have good 4.0-4.5 pickup doubles, but that was 3 year's ago now. Now, it's only weekend pickup 3.5-4.0 doubles, starting at noon, going till 2. Roger, Larry, Henry, Marty, Charlie, and a few other guys.
Best spot in Berkeley for pickup doubles, 4.0, on weekends is San Pablo Park, if they're not having league matches on 3 of the 6 courts, 3 always open to the public. Times are 9-2 on weekends.
Weekdays, San Pablo is more 3.5 pickup doubles, 10-2, with a sprinkling of 4.0's.
Contact me thru this travel section, "San Pablo Park Monday".
Miquel Loo plays with his bud Peter most Fridays there, me and a few other 4.0 doubles players, and some singles also.
 
#5
RoseGarden USED to have good 4.0-4.5 pickup doubles, but that was 3 year's ago now. Now, it's only weekend pickup 3.5-4.0 doubles, starting at noon, going till 2. Roger, Larry, Henry, Marty, Charlie, and a few other guys.

Best spot in Berkeley for pickup doubles, 4.0, on weekends is San Pablo Park, if they're not having league matches on 3 of the 6 courts, 3 always open to the public. Times are 9-2 on weekends.

Weekdays, San Pablo is more 3.5 pickup doubles, 10-2, with a sprinkling of 4.0's.

Contact me thru this travel section, "San Pablo Park Monday".

Miquel Loo plays with his bud Peter most Fridays there, me and a few other 4.0 doubles players, and some singles also.

Will do LeeD. No trips planned to that area in the near future but I'm sure I'll be back at some point in 2015.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#6
JackB1 has an open invitation for anyone travelling to Atlanta for some tennis, he's solid 4.0.
About 2 weeks before you travel, hit up a post on this site telling us where you're going and your level of expected tennis.
I"m only a weak 4.0, so might waste your time.
 
#7
I'm a 4.0 too LeeD should be a good matchup. In Tuscon this weekend then I've got Waco, Chicago, Indy and Portland/Corvalis, Phoenix coming up the next few weeks.
 
#10
Tucson, AZ - Reffkin Tennis Center (public) - *****
They hold the nationals for many USTA events at this place. That's all that I really need to say. 25 lighted hard courts in immaculate condition. Full service pro shop and soon to come an actual retail tennis shop, Matchpoint Tennis AZ, will be located on the premises which will help with demos and other equipment needs. Court rentals are $2.50/person for 1.5hrs during the day, $10/person 1.5hrs at night. I had a lesson and got some good instruction. Lesson was standard $60/hr fee. One thing that I was shocked by was that when I called to reserve a court I was told there was no ball machine availability. Not sure I got the correct info on that and I didn't check when I actually showed up over there. No matter, I hope to return to Tucson soon not just for the tennis! What a great town and great nightlife scene. The U of ARZ campus area is what you would expect a college campus to be like..... the downtown Tucson area is bustling as well with a slightly older crowd. Great restaurants, weather is in the mid 70's in november. If this was a TW playtest under dislikes I would put "nothing we could agree on".

Phoenix - Phoenix Tennis Center (public) - ****
Got an unplanned extra day in Phoenix not too long ago so I searched out a place to play. All I had was a pair of sneakers. did a google search and found the Phoenix Tennis center. There was no formal website outside of the city's parks and rec blurb so I called ahead to see what they offered. Its located about 15 minutes north of downtown phoenix, 15 minutes west of Scottsdale, adjacent to Glendale. Not really near the tourist hotel/resort areas around Camelback mountain. I got there and saw there were about 8 hard courts available for use and it looked to be at least another 8 courts under construction being renovated with new surface and possibly lighting going in. The court fee with ball machine was $14 and they let me stay out there for an 1.5hrs. The ball machine was an older Wilson machine but worked just fine. The pro shop had a decent selection of apparel which i needed so I bought a pair of shorts and a shirt which I feel were overpriced. I didn't have a racquet so I was pleased to see they had a good selection of demos so I grabbed a Pure Strike 100 (new release at the time) and a Solinco Protocol 300 and hit the court with a ball machine they set me up with. The court was is good condition. There were benches but no water fountains or jugs set up at the time. Overall, a very good experience and I'd play here again with no hesitation. there are probably better options in the area if you're staying at a resort like the Biltmore or the Phoenician. There may be better options in Scottsdale. For what it was worth, the Phoenix Tennis center gets it done.
 
#11
I'm a 4.0 too LeeD should be a good matchup. In Tuscon this weekend then I've got Waco, Chicago, Indy and Portland/Corvalis, Phoenix coming up the next few weeks.
Hey RTT. Hit me up if u ever pass through Atlanta. If we can't play, I can direct you to some good local places to play.
 
#12
RollTrackTake, thanks for posting these reviews. I travel as well but no where as much as you but I do visit some of the locales you mentioned. If ever in Houston, I recommend checking out Wertheimer Indoor Tennis for clinics. They've allowed me to do walk-in on the weekends and were reasonable (~$30) for 1.5 hrs. Good set of pros there. Don't know about ball machines though.

If you happen to go to Oxnard, CA they have a tennis center there open to public and I also attended a clinic there. Can't remember the cost but hit with some very good players and the instructor was good too.

Seems when I travel for extended periods, I make a point of packing my tennis gear including a racquet. Gotta get my workout and hitting session in! Safe travels and thanks again for the reviews.
 
#13
Hey RTT. Hit me up if u ever pass through Atlanta. If we can't play, I can direct you to some good local places to play.

I'll be in Atlanta the first week of March 2015. Hope it's not too cold. I'm going to post my only Atlanta tennis experience which was a fail based on my poor decision making...
 
#14
RollTrackTake, thanks for posting these reviews. I travel as well but no where as much as you but I do visit some of the locales you mentioned. If ever in Houston, I recommend checking out Wertheimer Indoor Tennis for clinics. They've allowed me to do walk-in on the weekends and were reasonable (~$30) for 1.5 hrs. Good set of pros there. Don't know about ball machines though.

If you happen to go to Oxnard, CA they have a tennis center there open to public and I also attended a clinic there. Can't remember the cost but hit with some very good players and the instructor was good too.

Seems when I travel for extended periods, I make a point of packing my tennis gear including a racquet. Gotta get my workout and hitting session in! Safe travels and thanks again for the reviews.

Thx for the info D Dog. I haven't been to
H Town in a few years but it's always a possibility. Nice to have a good review to lead me in the right direction. I used to live in LA so I'm familiar with Oxnard. I sporadically visit So Cal & Nor Cal so I'm always on the hunt for good places to play on those fronts.
 
#15
I'll be in Atlanta the first week of March 2015. Hope it's not too cold. I'm going to post my only Atlanta tennis experience which was a fail based on my poor decision making...
Winter is a crapshoot. Could be a balmy 50 degree day or could be below freezing. There is one indoor club but it's pricey. Let's revisit when the time comes.
 

atatu

Hall of Fame
#16
Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.-Rose Park, 26th and O Streets ***
There are three hard courts here, in Georgetown, adjacent to Rock Creek Park. There is a backboard and and Basketball court adjacent to the courts. There is a definite group of "regulars" who play here on weekends and in the evenings and most of them are good players. I suggest hitting on the backboard to let them evaluate your game, then asking if you can get into some doubles, that usually works for me. The courts are nothing special and they are slightly uneven, but it's a great atmosphere to play, with a good mix of city dwellers, students, capitol hill types and court rats. After you play, stroll up P street to Thomas Sweet for some Ice Cream or hit the Booeymonger for a cheap sandwich.
 
#17
San Diego - Balboa Tennis Club (public)

Near downtown SD. You can get a day pass for about $6. Nice facility with about 25 well maintained courts and even a stadium style court. There is a "Challenge Court" going on most of the time that is open to all levels, but usually populated by 3.0 - 4.0 level players. On Saturday mornings there is another Challenge Court that is for 4.5+ which is pretty fun. Its mostly dubs unless there aren't enough players. Lot of people hanging out at the bleachers near the entrance so it's usually not difficult to find someone to hit with. Lots of tournies and clinics here.
 
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#18
My Atlanta tennis trial & error....About 2 years ago I was delayed at the airport in Atlanta for 8 hours. I had just started my traveling tennis experiment so I had a racquet with me in my carry on bag. I did a map search to see what was in close proximity to the airport. Option 1 was the Burdette Tennis center. Called over there and for reasons I can't remember I didn't go there. Option 2 was the Peachtree Tennis center in Piedmont park. After calling, it seemed they were pretty busy over there and there wouldn't be much worth going. Option 3, find some random courts and practice. I didn't want to sit in the airport for 8 hours so I went with option 3. My next step was to find courts relatively near airport and accessible from MARTA, Atlanta's mass transit trains. I found a couple courts via the map search and Fulton county website so I headed out to Butler Park. The MARTA ride was fine. Got off at the right stop, park was a few blocks away. Neighborhood was rough around the edges but not daunting to me. I've lived in sketchy places in NYC, Chicago, Philly, LA & was in the military for 5 years so I don't scare easily. The 2 courts were empty but in poor condition. Debris from trees all over them, ripped nets, cracks bumps, etc... No matter I took out my racquet & a can of used balls and served and hit balls I dropped for an hour. Some neighborhood kids came and played on the court next to mine and asked me for a lesson and I pleasantly declined as it was time to make my way back to the airport. I cabbed it back to Hartsfield and learned that if I want more out of playing tennis in cities I'm unfamiliar with I need to do more research going in. It's not that my experience in Atlanta was bad, it's that I probably could have gotten more out of it had I looked harder at my options.
I would not recommend Butler Park in Atlanta unless you're in a desperate and adventurous mode of thinking.
 
#19
RTT...Atlanta is much like any urban city, meaning there are good areas and bad...some really bad. The area near the airport is horrible. You should have opted for Piedmont Park. Would have been like night and day from where you were. Believe me, what you experienced is in no way representative of the tennis scene in the Atlanta area.
 
#20
RTT...Atlanta is much like any urban city, meaning there are good areas and bad...some really bad. The area near the airport is horrible. You should have opted for Piedmont Park. Would have been like night and day from where you were. Believe me, what you experienced is in no way representative of the tennis scene in the Atlanta area.

Yeah, that story was more of a cautionary tale about not doing enough legwork ahead of time and striking out. I know how awesome the ATL tennis scene is. I can't wait to get back there and play at a better venue. IIRC most of the tennis centers and clubs are north of the downtown area right? Which is way north of the airport. I would def go to Piedmont park if stuck at the airport that long again!
 
#21
Texas Swing

A couple more spots down in good old Texas.....

Waco - Waco Regional Tennis Center (public) - *****
aahhhhhh Waco. Not a whole lot going on in Waco so I tried to find some place to play tennis. Found the Waco Regional Tennis Center on-line. Called over there and the young lady answering the phone did not know much about the tennis offerings. The facility is not only a tennis facility but also a gym and i think they have space for fitness/yoga classes and the like. So I just went over there to check it out. It's located close to the regional airport. Not really close to what I guess would be considered downtown Waco. It's a fairly large facility. I counted 12 lighted outdoor hard courts and 1 stadium court with seating for a few hundred. The director of tennis, Danny, played at Baylor not long ago and was very helpful and engaging. They had a ball machine and they let me take it out and hit for as long as I wanted. When I finished up and came in to pay they waived the fee which was super cool. There were no other pros or tennis staff there but Danny offered to hit with me if the ball machine didn't work out. The courts are in great condition. I was told they have some high level junior tournaments there. I was going to come back to play in a clinic the next day but got rained out. If I'm ever back in Waco, I know where to go get some tennis in.

Austin - South Austin Tennis Center (public) - *****
there's a lot more going on in Austin than Waco. Nonetheless, I like to get out on the tennis court in any situation. There are multiple places to play in Austin. On this occasion I chose the South Austin Tennis Center because of it's proximity to where I was staying downtown. From my hotel near the main drag on 6th street the tennis center was about 10 minutes by car. I made a reservation to use the ball machine but do to my flight being delayed I got in late and when I got there the ball machine was being used. No problem, not their fault. The two guys at the front desk didn't really seem to care to inform me of any other options. Ok, i got in my car went back to my hotel to relax. Next day I make another reservation to use the ball machine. Drive over there, I check in at the desk and it's the same "bro", who i believe is a pro, with his feet up behind the desk and a teenager stringing a racquet. The kid checks me in, I pay $20 to use the machine (the court was $5/hr, machine additional $15). The kid points at the machine and goes back to stringing the racquet. I'm pretty self sufficient but it struck me as a little odd that neither of them asked me if I knew how to set up that machine or if I needed any help. So I throw my bag on top and roll the machine (older playmate) out to the court. On my way out to the court I see their are at least 10 hard courts with lights in excellent condition and I also see a really nice hitting wall area that is fenced off! I immediately get ****ed because if I had known there was a hitting wall i would have used it the day before when I the ball machine was in use. I wish the dudes at the desk would have told me. Anyway, the power outlets were in the center of the courts and the extension cord didn't reach unless I set the machine up a few feet below the service line. I get the thing set up, turn it on and notice it's not really calibrated well as it is spraying balls everywhere. I figure that out and proceed to have a good hour of hitting. On my way out I ran into the owner/head pro/director of tennis and she could not have been nicer. My only thought was that her staff should take note in how she offers help to patrons. Great place overall. Next trip to Austin I may try another place, but I would not hesitate to go back to the South Austin Tennis Center.
 
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