Beautiful weather, balmy breezes - what better setting for tennis than the islands? Whatever the level of play, players of all ages can enjoy an abundance of tennis opportunities.
The City of Sanibel maintains the four conveniently located tennis courts adjacent to Sanibel Elementary School. The lighted hard courts require no reservations for afternoon and evening play. During season, an extremely popular and inexpensive clinic fills the courts at 9:00 each morning, Monday through Friday (no partner needed). John Kamosa, certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), has been conducting the clinics for 18 years. He invites players of all levels to stop by; no registration or reservations necessary. A water fountain, pay phone, and restrooms are nearby, and the Sanibel bike path goes right past the courts. Sanibel-Captiva Road, between mile markers 2 and 3. Call the city's recreation complex at 472-0345 for more information.
The Dunes Tennis Club on Sanibel has an effective matchmaking service for those without partners. The semi-private club has seven clay courts. Clinics are held for adults and juniors; private lessons can be arranged for individuals or small groups. Head pro Terry See says, "We also have a full-service pro shop, ball machine rental, and racquet rentals." Round robins are held Tuesday and Friday afternoons for men, Saturday mornings for ladies, and mixed round robins are Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. 949 Sandcastle Road, 472-3522.
Sanibel Harbour Resort, just across the Sanibel Causeway at Punta Rassa, sports an outstanding tennis facility, which occasionally hosts USTA-sanctioned events. Nestled among several acres of native vegetation, Sanibel Harbour's 13 courts (including 8 clay) are surrounded by jogging trails, wading birds, and curious raccoons. If you don't feel ready to play the stadium court, visible from Courtside Restaurant, don't worry: Lessons, clinics, and round robins are all available to improve your game. Each day from 10:00-11:00 a.m., a pro helps players work on a chosen "Stroke of the Day."
Sanibel Harbour offers great packages as well. One popular combo, "The Tennis Workout," includes an hour of court time, a stroke clinic, personal tennis evaluation by a pro, and use of the ball machine. Children ages 4-10 are encouraged to attend the Saturday morning Munchkin Clinic. The pros at Sanibel Harbour also offer a great training aid-while videotaping your game, they'll critique your playing; later review gives this instructional tool a twofold advantage.
Courtside lighting makes night games possible if you can't tear yourself away from the beach. Don't have the perfect outfit? The pro shop at Sanibel Harbour has a selection of tennis attire by Ralph Lauren and the innovative Jamie Sadock. 17260 Harbour Pointe Drive, Fort Myers, 466-2159.
A full menu of tennis awaits guests at Casa Ybel Resort, where the courts lie in the shadow of Thistle Lodge restaurant. Pro Barry Waddell serves up clinics, private and semi-private lessons, a kids clinic, round robins twice a week, and a two-week summer tennis camp. Casa Ybel Road, 472-3145, ext. 1319.
Sundial Beach and Tennis Resort is a good option for racquet-toting visitors to Sanibel. Daily clinics for adults and children as young as 4 years of age are held every day. Resort guests as well as the public can take advantage of head pro Tony Halski's know-how.
Of the resort's 12 courts, half are clay. Night play is an option on six lighted courts. Social doubles are played four afternoons a week. Halski and his staff are happy to arrange games for players without partners. Private lessons are available by reservation; ball machines and racquets are available for rental.
Sundial's pro shop is full service, stocked with several lines of tennis apparel and racquets. If you break a string on that one perfect serve, your racquet can be restrung on site. Several tennis events are held throughout the year, including USTA tournaments for adults and children.
Tennis packages are available for guests of the resort. 1451 Middle Gulf Drive, 472-4151 or 800-237-4184.
Sundial's sister property, South Seas Plantation, on the northern tip of Captiva Island, has an extensive tennis program for its guests (only the pro shop is open to the public). Lessons, clinics, and round robins fill the courts. A matchmaking service pairs players of all levels for singles and doubles matches. Courts are lighted. 472-5111 or 800-237-4184.
Historic 'Tween Waters Inn, stretching from beach to bay on Captiva, has two hard courts. Three mornings a week, pro Beary May conducts a complimentary clinic for guests of the resort. The courts are adjacent to 'Tween Waters' beautiful swimming pool and are just steps from the No-See-Um pool bar. Call 472-5161 or 800-223-5865.
You can buy tennis balls at all the pro shops listed here, as well as at Eckerd Drugs, Bailey's Grocery, and Jerry's. The Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce can also refer callers to hotels and condominiums with on-site courts. 472-1080.