Since sprouting into existence in 2006, Ideal Tennis Academy has fostered future stars by offering training programs throughout the year for all ages and skill levels. The toddler program, for instance, puts rackets in the hands of kids as young as aged two-and-a-half years and strives to develop important motor skills on miniature courts. The academy provides a junior-varsity program for adolescent players, which preps teens and preteens for higher levels of competition. Aside from offering programs at its facility, Ideal Tennis Academy hits the road with Tennis Delivery, a mobile program that teaches tennis by launching coaches from high-powered ball machines to locations across San Antonio.
Three-time Masters Champion Jimmy Demaret states, “I simply followed the natural features of the land” to explain the genesis of his brainchild, the Onion Creek Club. Here 18 holes of championship golf—designed by course architects Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore—sprawl alongside tennis courts and a clubhouse with a fitness center and junior-Olympic-size swimming pool. The par-70 course’s claim to fame is having hosted the inaugural Senior PGA event in 1978, four years after the greens’ bermuda grass first whimpered under cleated feet. Its signature third hole invites golfers to play aggressively with their drivers in order to vault orbs onto a landing strip guarded by trees and a creek, or to grip their irons and aim for a narrow green that has notoriously uncommunicative air-traffic controllers.
In addition to the course and its accompanying driving range with 30 hitting stations, Onion Creek Club invites racket-wielders to take advantage of lighted hard and clay tennis courts. The clubhouse’s fitness center challenges muscles with Cybex strength machines, and its junior-Olympic-size pool allows 9 irons to slip into their bikinis and go for a splash.
At River Place Country Club, a championship golf course designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 U.S. Open, invites golfers to launch balls over sand bunkers and twisting creeks that wend their way through the landscape’s hilly contours. The course’s superintendent draws on experience at Baton Rouge Country Club and Colonial Country Club, as well as a degree in Plant and Soil Systems, as he ensures that the greens and rolling Bermuda grass fairways are more carefully manicured than a prize-winning pet wooly mammoth. The course’s PGA professional instructors are on hand to improve individual games, and a driving range lets players practice at 15 hitting stations.
Adjacent to the course, eight lighted tennis courts abut a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fully equipped fitness center, and locker rooms whose dry saunas and whirlpools melt tension quicker than butter melts on the calves of a sprinter. The Grille invites clubgoers to sup on steak or seafood, and a pair of outdoor decks let guests drink in scenic views.
Course at a Glance:
The thuds of thunderous groundstrokes and the squeaks of shuffling feet resonate across the outdoor court complex at Austin Tennis Center. The hard, deep-blue surface hosts adult and junior tennis clinics and drills on its collection of regulation courts, and the 36-foot Quick-Start courts are scaled down for kids age 10 and under and lethargic ballboys.
Director of Tennis Lincoln Ward shapes the Center's curriculum, drawing from an instructional career that spans more than a decade and includes a stint as head coach of the Concordia University tennis team. Pupils at various levels have won city and state championships thanks to his thoughtful coaching. He's also initiated a free, afterschool tennis program that has caught on at more than 30 elementary and middle schools in the Austin area.
A USPTA Professional 1 Pro, Dave Watts imparts hard-won tennis knowledge to players in private, personalized lessons. The seasoned pro coaches clients of all abilities, covering everything from the serve to the baseline game to attacking the net.
John Newcombe Country Club's veranda looks out upon eight lit tennis courts with a sweeping backdrop of Texas Hill Country. While tennis students aged 3 and up scamper over the courts under the guidance of certified instructors, AFAA-certified personal trainers oversee the fitness program, while making sure to reapply bronzing oil every half-hour. They guide trainees through free-weight exercises, as well as classes in Zumba, Pilates, TRX training, and AquaFit conducted in an outdoor pool. While their parents sweat, children can make art and watch movies in the kids' club, or seek out their dream rackets in the pro shop.