Game Plans

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Water, water everywhere, and what a playground it makes for visitors and residents in Southwest Florida. From windsurfing to boating, kayaks and canoes, our bays, rivers and inlets are impossible to resist. Keep your eyes on that deep-green surface; you’ll see dolphins, manatees and exotic birds skimming and surfacing there. If you need a closer […]


Water, water everywhere, and what a playground it makes for visitors and residents in Southwest Florida. From windsurfing to boating, kayaks and canoes, our bays, rivers and inlets are impossible to resist. Keep your eyes on that deep-green surface; you’ll see dolphins, manatees and exotic birds skimming and surfacing there. If you need a closer look, the marinas are filled with charters; or rent a boat yourself for a relaxing afternoon.

Inland, our golf courses-many designed by such legends as Ted McAnlis, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player-offer challenging play and spectacular locations. It’s not unusual to spy deer or American bald eagles on your "eagles." And don’t be surprised if our coastal vistas make it hard to concentrate on your putting.

If you’re looking for a birdie of the hard court type, try one of the area’s many public and private tennis courts. IMG Academies in Bradenton is training the next generation of tennis stars and has honed the talents of such greats as Andre Agassi, the Williams sisters, and Sarasota resident Monica Seles.

We also host Major League baseball spring training, minor league AAA baseball, and are a short drive from major league teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, this year’s Stanley Cup Champions, and former Super Bowl winners, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

BASEBALL

Cincinnati Reds, Ed Smith Stadium, 12th Street and Tuttle, Sarasota. Spring training games with Sarasota’s hometown Major League team are scheduled here all during March. 953-3388.

Pittsburgh Pirates, McKechnie Field, 1750 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. Spring training games during March. 747-3245.

Cincinatti Reds/Florida State League Affiliate, minor league ball, at Ed Smith Stadium spring through fall. 365-4460.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. Major League baseball in St. Pete’s domed stadium. (727) 825-3137.

BOATING, FISHING

A sampling of the area’s diverse opportunities. Check your Yellow Pages for more.

Adventure Charters. Sport fishing, half and full day. 923-2605.

Cannons Marina, 6040 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. Boat rental, sales. 383-1311.

Captain Action Charter Service. Gulf and bay fishing. 955-4524.

Capt. Bob Smith Sport Fishing Guide. Half-day and full-day fishing trips. 366-2159.

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, 1249 Stickney Point Road, Siesta Key. Bay, backcountry and coastal Gulf fishing. 349-4400.

Dockside Marine, 1265 Old Stickney Point Road, Sarasota. Boat rentals. 349-8880.

Flying Fish Deep Sea Fishing, Marina Jack, Sarasota. Party-boat fishing. 366-3373.

Hart’s Landing, 920 John Ringling Causeway. Bait, tackle, fishing equipment rentals. 955-0011.

Le Barge Tropical Cruises, 2 Marina Plaza. Daily sightseeing tours, private charters available. 366-6116.

Midnite Son Charter Fishing. Sport fishing, half-day, full-day, overnight. 349-7677.

Snook Haven, 5000 Venice Ave. E., Venice. Motor boats, canoes, tour boat ride. 485-7221.

Spindrift Yacht Services, 410 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. Party cruises, instruction. 383-7781.

CANOE AND KAYAK RENTALS

Economy Tackle, 6018 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Complete canoe and kayak supplies, guided tours throughout the Tampa Bay area. 922-9671.

Silent Sports Outfitters, 2301 Tamiami Trail N., Nokomis. Ocean kayak specialists. Tours, sales and rentals. 966-5477.

Walk on the Wild Side. Tours and rentals. (941) 351-6500

DIVING, SNORKELING

Dolphin Dive Center, 6018 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Local charters, instruction, rentals. 924-2785.

Florida West Scuba School, Inc., 509-B N. Tamiami Trail, Venice. Lessons, rentals, trips. 486-1400.

Ocean Pro Dive Shop, 2259 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Dive charters, instruction, dive trips. PADI 5-star training facility. 924-3483.

Scuba Quest, 1129 S. Tamiami Trail, 366-1530; 5770 S. Tamiami Trail, 925-7055, Sarasota. Charters, rentals, sales.

SURFING

West Coast Surf Shop, 3902 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Boards, sportswear and more. 778-1001.

Wind Flight Surf Shop, 722 Albee Road W., Nokomis. Surfboards, wet suits, accessories. 484-2794.

FOOTBALL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. NFL team plays at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. (813) 879-2827.

GOLF

Some of the courses listed are public; some are semi-private. Call for tee time availability.

Bird Bay Executive Golf Club, 602 Bird Bay Drive W., Venice. 18-hole course, tennis courts. 485-9333. Public.

Bobby Jones Golf Club, 1000 Circus Blvd., Sarasota. 45-hole complex. 365-4653. Public.

Calusa Lakes Golf Club, 1995 Calusa Lakes, Venice. 18-hole. 484-8995. Public.

Edwin Watts Golf Shop, 6230 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota. Golf equipment and accessories. 907-1060.

El Conquistador Country Club, 4530 El Conquistador Parkway, Bradenton. 18 holes, recently renovated by Gene Bates Golf Design of Palm Beach. 758-1466. Private.

The Founders Club, 9000 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Exclusive new course scheduled for completion late 2004 to early 2005. Only 275 equity memberships available. 386-0908. Private.

Forest Lakes Golf Club, 2401 Beneva Road, Sarasota. 18-hole course, driving range, tennis. 922-1312. Public.

Foxfire Golf Club, 7200 Proctor Road, Sarasota. 27-hole course, driving range. 921-7757. Public.

Gator Creek Golf Course, 9000 Gator Creek Drive, Sarasota. 18-hole course. 924-1111. Private.

Heritage Oaks Golf and Country Club, 4800 Chase Oaks Drive, Sarasota. 18-hole course. 926-7600. Semi-private.

Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch, 8255 Legacy Blvd., Sarasota. Arnold Palmer-designed, 18-hole course. Also pro shop, restaurant. Tee times: 907-7067. Public.

Links at Greenfield Plantation, on S.R. 64 two miles east of I-75, Bradenton. 18-hole layout, golf club rentals. 747-9432. Public.

Misty Creek Country Club, 8954 Misty Creek Drive, Sarasota. 18-hole course, clubhouse. 921-5258. Private.

Oak Ford Golf Club, 1552 Palm View Road, Sarasota. 27-hole championship course, practice range. 371-3680. Public.

Pelican Pointe Golf & Country Club, 575 Center Road, Venice. 18-hole Ted McAnlis-designed course; driving range; pro shop. 492-9776. Semi-private.

Peridia Golf & Country Club. 4950 Peridia Blvd. E, Bradenton. 18-holes. 753-9097. Private.

The Plantation Golf and Country Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice. Two 18-hole courses, tennis courts. 493-2000. Private.

The Private Course at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 7710 Legacy Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. Twenty-seven holes designed by Palmer Course Design Company. Elegant 42,000-square-foot clubhouse with pro shop, locker rooms, dining area, meeting rooms, ballroom. Members only, but membership open to residents outside Lakewood Ranch. 907-4700. Private.

The Resort at Longboat Key Club, 301 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. 45 holes of golf (Islandside and Harbourside courses) open to members and guests of The Resort at Longboat Key Club. 383-8821. Private.

River Club Golf Course, 6600 River Club Blvd., Bradenton. 18-hole course. 751-4211. Public.

River Wilderness Country Club, 2250 Wilderness Blvd. W., Parrish. Private, Ted McAnlis-designed, 18-hole course. 776-2602. Private.

Rolling Green Golf Club, 4501 N. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota. 18-hole course. 355-7621. Public.

Rosedale Golf and Country Club, 5100 87th St. E., Bradenton. 18-hole course, Har-Tru tennis courts. 756-0004. Semi-private.

Sarasota Golf Club, 7280 N. Leewynn Drive, Sarasota. 18-hole course, driving range. 371-2431. Public.

Serenoa Golf Course, 6773 Serenoa Drive, Sarasota. 18-hole course, driving range. 925-2755. Public.

Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club, 8801 Stoneybrook Lane, Venice. 18-hole course. 966-1800. Semi-private.

Tara Golf & Country Club, 6602 Drewry’s Bluff Road, Bradenton. Tee times: 758-2203. Private.

TPC at Prestancia, 4409 TPC Drive, Sarasota. Two of the area’s most prestigious courses for a total of 36 holes. Practice area and driving range. 924-1331. Private.

Tatum Ridge Golf Links, 421 N. Tatum Road, Sarasota. Par-72 course, practice range. 378-4211. Public.

University Park Country Club, 1.8 miles west of I-75 on University Parkway. 27-hole championship course. 359-9999 (tee times). Semi-private.

Waterford Golf Club, 1454 Gleneagles Drive, Venice. 18-hole championship course. 484-6621. Public.

Waterlefe Golf & River Club, 10705 Waterlefe Blvd., Bradenton. 18-hole course. 744-9771. Public.

GREYHOUND RACING

Sarasota Kennel Club, 5400 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota. Greyhound season here is January through April; simulcast horse and dog racing the rest of the year. 355-7744.

HEALTH CLUBS

Bath & Racquet Club, 2170 Robinhood St., Sarasota. Renowned for its tennis facility, Bath & Racquet also has free weights, group exercise classes, personal trainers, a cardiovascular center and junior Olympic swimming pool. 921-6675.

Curves for Women, Ten locations from Bradenton to Venice. Female-only weight and cardiovascular training. Call 379-3385 for center details.

Gold’s Gym, 3762 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Along with the weight training that’s defined its reputation, Gold’s has a ladies-only second level, full nutritional counseling, full cardio area and child care. 923-GOLD.

Lakewood Ranch YMCA, 5100 Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton. The facility includes an indoor gymnasium, fitness center, locker rooms with saunas, family locker rooms, babysitting and an outdoor heated swimming pool. 782-0220

Manatee YMCA. The Bradenton Branch at 3805 59th St., Bradenton (792-7484) provides fitness programs, aquatic classes, youth and preschool programs, adult and youth sports, aerobic classes, child care and camp for elementary school children. The facility includes an indoor gymnasium, indoor heated pool, fitness center, and aerobic and aqua-aerobic classes. The South Branch at 3675 53rd Ave., East Bradenton (753-0954) includes an indoor gymnasium, fitness center, babysitting room for parents while they work out, outdoor pool, two tennis courts and a park for outdoor events.

Sarasota Family YMCA. The Sarasota Family YMCA has three branches. The Evalyn Sadlier Jones branch at 8301 Potter Park Drive, in south Sarasota, offers three racquetball courts, elevated track, aerobics, fitness center and pool, 922-9622. At 1075 S. Euclid, the Berlin Center has several racquetball courts, aerobics, fitness center, pool and state-of-the-art indoor spinning room, 955-8194. The downtown branch on Main Street offers indoor weight training and aerobic equipment and classes, 366-6778.

Shapes/Southside Athletic Club. Three locations: 935 N. Beneva Road in Sarasota, 953-5250; 4105 Cortez Road W. in Bradenton, 739-9799; 4825 Cortez Road W. in Bradenton, 794-2090. Popular for its women-only facilities at Shapes. Members can enjoy a heated lap pool, whirlpool and sauna, personal fitness trainers. Southside is co-ed.

Venice YMCA, 701 Center Road, Venice. In addition to aquatics and child care, the South County YMCA has a gymnastics program, cardio and strength training and pre- and afterschool programs for kids. 493-6130.

HOCKEY

Tampa Bay Lightning. NHL team plays in Tampa’s Ice Palace, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 223-6100.

TENNIS & RACQUETBALL

Bath & Racquet Club, 2170 Robinhood, Sarasota. 27 tennis courts, several racquetball. Private, but memberships available. 921-6675.

Bollettieri Tennis Academy, 5500 34th St. W., Bradenton. Tennis instruction available, children and adults. 755-1000.

The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. Tennis, pool, health club. 383-4322.

Evalyn Sadlier Jones YMCA, 8301 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota. This branch offers three racquetball courts. 922-9622.

Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, 590 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key. Six courts available. 316-8367.

Payne Park Tennis Center, 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota. 954-4884.

Plantation Racquet Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice. Thirteen lighted Har-tru courts, tennis shop. Private, but memberships available. 493-0047.

The Resort at Longboat Key Club, 301 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. Thirty-eight Har-Tru tennis courts, six lighted. Open to members and guests of The Resort at Longboat Key Club. 383-8821.

Serendipity Racquet and Tennis Club, 3600 Torrey Pines Blvd. At the Country Club of Sarasota; recently renovated to include new tennis courts, new fitness and locker room and new pro shop. 922-1591.

Tennis Center at The Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 8488 Legacy Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. Eighteen lighted courts, 16 Har-Tru, two red clay. Lessons, leagues, pro shop, locker rooms, deli. Members only, but open to residents outside Lakewood Ranch. 907-4700.

Total Tennis, 240 Avenida Madera, Siesta Key. Teaching facility located at Forest Lakes Country Club. 349-7742 for pro shop and teaching.

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