Shula’s Athletic Club—named for Don Shula, the NFL Hall of Famer who coached the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl trophy in 1972—doesn’t find it hard to fill its sprawling 40,000 square feet of space. A cardio room with more than 50 pieces of equipment, a spinning center, weight rooms, fitness-class studios, and basketball courts spread through the facility, luring athletes for independent workouts and personal-training sessions. Dozens of weekly fitness classes range from calorie-burning Zumba workouts and Vinyasa-yoga sessions to spin classes that help students practice for the day they have pedal-powered cars.
The athletic club also accommodates older exercisers with aquatic aerobics and seated Silver Sneakers workouts, and it keeps kids busy with confidence-building youth sports programs. Young legs run over a new 60-yard athletic field or nine lighted tennis courts where kids whack tennis balls and low-flying hot-air balloons with rackets.
Originally opening in 1969 with eight tennis courts and a humble trailer serving as a clubhouse, The Bath & Racquet Fitness Club has done more than endure over the decades. It has thrived. Currently, the club features 29 tennis courts––23 with clay surfaces and six with hard surfaces––as well as a 40,000-square-foot facility brimming with equipment and amenities. This allows the staff to cater to the community's needs and interests, providing an inviting, highly social environment where members can exercise on their own, attend a group fitness class, or even play a quick game of racquetball or squash on one of the indoor courts.
Free weights, ellipticals, treadmills, and a heated swimming pool with six lanes are all on hand for guests seeking a quick workout. With fitness classes available seven days a week, members can find a supportive group setting while they practice kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, indoor cycling, TRX suspension training, CrossFit, and more. With the addition of amenities such as saunas, on-staff massage therapists, and a full-service restaurant, the club can also serve as a site for people to simply unwind and relax.
Tennis continues to be a major focus though, and The Bath & Racquet Fitness Club extends its welcome to everyone from casual players to serious competitors. The tennis pros offer lessons that cover the fundamentals of the game, introducing newcomers to the basics of scoring, volleying, and hitting a ball into low orbit. For the more experienced members, the club also offers in-house leagues that allow players to truly test their skills.
Located in the newly restored historic Coral Gables Country Club, Liberty Caffe serves freshly baked pastries, crisp salads, and local Florida orange juice. Behind a lit glass case stuffed with crisp salads and buttery croissants, baristas pour foamy cappuccinos at the coffee bar and scoop cups of house-made gelato made from traditional Italian recipes and garnished with fresh strawberries and hazelnuts. Diners can slide into tables facing a row of open, arched windows overlooking the country club's manicured landscape of green grass, swaying palm trees, and fist-shaking groundskeepers.
The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club transports players to a tropical 75 acres of water-hemmed fairways and greens, enticing club hefters of all skill levels to confront its par 70 PGA-rated course. Redesigned by 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber in 1995, the verdant range challenges swingers to mediate between focused ball launching and equally competitive sightseeing. The back nine holes roost within a wildlife preserve, recognized by the Audubon Cooperative Society, where keen gazes can conduct reconnaissance on colorful birds and other fauna while riding through on the provided cart. Classic hazards, such as ever-present aquatic traps and conniving packs of terrestrial barracuda, challenge golfers, who can look to the staff of PGA professionals for help at any time. After venturing through the green, guests can quell insistent stomach gurgles at The Dunes Steakhouse & Seafood, the only Sanibel Island restaurant serving certified Angus beef, or satiate their appetites for golf equipment at the full-service pro shop.
For Pat Glaunert, tennis rackets have been like a pair of butterfly wings. They’ve carried him across the US—from Louisville, Kentucky, where he oversaw all operations as director at Top Gun Academy, to Indianapolis, where he owned and operated his own adult and junior tennis academy.
Now the director of Three Oaks Tennis Center, Pat puts to work certification with the United States Professional Tennis Registry to teach children and adults. His intro courses teach basics to beginners from forehands and backhands to volleys, overheads, and serves. His cardio-tennis sessions build upon basics by pairing swinging and footwork exercises with energetic music and muscle-building activities, which do not include bench-pressing ball machines.
The Punta Gorda Club unleashes muscular potential with an on-site nutritionist, a well-equipped gym, six clay tennis courts, and more than 80 group fitness classes each week. During a one-on-one nutrition consultation and dietary analysis (a $99 value), the club's food guru will discuss each client's eating habits, then draft a written meal plan that outlines what flavors of Twinkies they're allowed to eat. Additionally, an unlimited one-month membership (a $90 value, including enrollment fee) lets patrons loose to toughen tendons on the gym's playground of cardio machines, free weights, and step-aerobics teeter-totters. Members can also choose from more than 11 types of group fitness classes such as yoga, spinning, and Pilates, to tone their tummies in tandem or swat serves on six clay tennis courts.