Vacation Guides: Sports & Activities

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Rising Stars A thousand of the world’s best young tennis players, representing more than 50 countries, descend on IMG Academy’s Bradenton campus each November to compete in the Eddie Herr International Championship. On its ever-growing campus, IMG trains young athletes, pros and amateur adults in myriad programs, from soccer and baseball to golf, performance enhancement […]


Rising Stars

A thousand of the world’s best young tennis players, representing more than 50 countries, descend on IMG Academy’s Bradenton campus each November to compete in the Eddie Herr International Championship. On its ever-growing campus, IMG trains young athletes, pros and amateur adults in myriad programs, from soccer and baseball to golf, performance enhancement and more.

At the Eddie Herr, you can see the stars of tomorrow in action at the world-famed Bradenton sports training center’s Bollettieri tennis facility (named for Nick Bollettieri, of course, the legendary tennis coach who coached Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and eight more No. 1 players in the world). Among the many top tennis stars who played in past Eddie Herr tourneys are Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova. Admission is free and you don’t need a ticket; visit eddieherr.com for match times and locations.

 

The Jack Nicklaus-designed Concession Golf Club, which Golf Digest proclaimed “Best New Private Course of 2006,” gets its name from a historic moment at the 1969 Ryder Cup where Nicklaus conceded a putt to Brit Tony Jacklin, resulting in the first tie in the Cup’s history. Now known as “The Concession,” that moment is considered the pinnacle of sportsmanship.

 

1,800
Number of athletes expected to participate in the Pan-American Masters Swimming Championships, taking place in Sarasota June 5-13.

 

BASEBALL

Baltimore Orioles, Ed Smith Stadium, 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota. (941) 893-6300. The Major League team plays its spring training games in Sarasota. baltimore.orioles.mlb.com

Pittsburgh Pirates, McKechnie Field, 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. (941) 747-3031. Bradenton hosts the Major League’s Pirates during spring training games in March. pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com

Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. (888) FAN-RAYS. Major League baseball April through September in St. Pete’s domed stadium. tampabay.rays.mlb.com

 

BOATING, FISHING

A sampling of the area’s many options. Check your Yellow Pages for more.

Cannons Marina, 6040 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. (941) 383-1311. Boat rentals, sales. cannons.com

Captain Action Charter Service, (941) 809-7424. Gulf and bay fishing. captaction.com

Capt. Bob Smith Sport Fishing Guide, (941) 366-2159. Half-day and full-day fishing trips. sarasota-fla-fishing.com

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, 1249 Stickney Point Road, Siesta Key. (941) 349-4400. Bay, backcountry and coastal Gulf fishing. cbsoutfitters.com

Explorer Fishing Charters, (941) 376-2714. Offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. explorerfishingcharters.com

Flying Fish Fleet, Marina Jack, Sarasota. (941) 366-3373. From four-hour to 18-hour trips. flyingfishfleet.com

Hart’s Landing, 920 John Ringling Causeway, Sarasota. (941) 955-0011. Bait, tackle, fishing equipment rentals. hartslanding.net

LeBarge Tropical Cruises, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota. (941) 366-6116. Daily sightseeing tours, sunset cruises; private charters available. lebargetropicalcruises.com

Midnite Son Charter Fishing, (941) 349-7677. Sport fishing: half-day, full-day, overnight. longboatkeyfishing.com

Siesta Key Marina, 1265 Old Stickney Point Road, Sarasota. (941) 349-1970. Boat rentals. siestakeymarina.com

Snook Haven Fish Camp, 5000 Venice Ave. E., Venice. (941) 485-7221. Motorboats, canoes and tour-boat rides on the Myakka River.

Spindrift Yacht Services, 410 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. (941) 383-7781. Sailboat, fishing and pleasure cruise charters.

Wolfmouth Charters, (941) 720-4418. Near-shore and offshore charter services, eco-tours. wolfmouthcharters.com

 

CANOE AND KAYAK RENTALS

Economy Tackle/Dolphin Dive & Kayak, 6018 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 922-9671. Canoe and kayak supplies, lessons and guided tours. floridakayak.com

Island Style Wind and Watersports, 2433 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 954-1009. Kayak tours, wind- and kitesurfing lessons. islandstylesports.com

Silent Sports Outfitters, 2301 Tamiami Trail N., Nokomis. (941) 966-5477. Ocean kayak specialists. Tours, sales and rentals. silentsportsoutfitters.com

Walk on the Wild Side. (941) 351-6500. Eco-tours. walkwild.com

 

DIVING, SNORKELING

Dolphin Dive Center, 6018 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 924-2785. Sales and rentals. floridakayak.com

Ocean Pro Dive Shop, 2259 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. (941) 924-3483. Dive charters, instruction, dive trips. PADI five-star training facility. oceanprodive.com

Scuba Quest, 1129 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 366-1530; 2357 Tamiami Trail S., Venice. (941) 497-5985; 3318 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton. (941) 745-2511. Charters, rentals, sales. scubaquestusa.com/locations/sarasota-scuba-quest

 

SURFING

West Coast Surf Shop, 3902 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. (941) 778-1001. Boards, sportswear and more. westcoastsurfshop.com

Windflight Surf Shop, 722 Albee Road W., Nokomis. (941) 484-2794. Surfboards, wet suits, accessories.

 

FOOTBALL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (813) 879-2827. The NFL’s Bucs play at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. buccaneers.com

Tampa Bay Storm, (813) 301-6600. The five-time Arena Football League champions play at the St. Pete Times Forum. tampabaystorm.com

 

GOLF

Call for tee time availability.

Bird Bay Executive Golf Club, 602 Bird Bay Drive W., Venice. (941) 485-9333. Eighteen-hole course, tennis courts. Public.

Bent Tree Country Club, 4700 Bent Tree Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 371-5854. Eighteen-hole championship course. Private. benttreecc.net

Bobby Jones Golf Club, 1000 Circus Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 365-2200. Forty-five-hole complex. Public. bobbyjonesgolfclub.com

Boca Royale Golf and Country Club, 1601 Englewood Road, Englewood. (941) 475-5525. Eighteen-hole course (nine additional holes under construction), tennis courts. Private. bocaroyale.com

Calusa Lakes Golf Club, 1995 Calusa Lakes Blvd., Nokomis. (941) 484-8995. Eighteen holes. Public. golfinvenice.com

The Concession Golf Club, 7700 Lindrick Lane, Bradenton. (941) 322-1465. Exclusive course, opened in 2006. Designed by Jack Nicklaus to commemorate the 1969 Ryder Cup. Private. theconcession.com

The Founders Club, 3800 Golf Hall Drive, Sarasota. (941) 379-3701. Exclusive course opened January 2005. Private. thefoundersgolfclub.com

Gator Creek Golf Course, 9000 Gator Creek Drive, Sarasota. (941) 924-1111. Eighteen-hole course. Private.

Heritage Oaks Golf and Country Club, 4800 Chase Oaks Drive, Sarasota. (941) 926-7602. Eighteen-hole course. Semi-private. heritageoaksgcc.com

IMG Academies Golf and Country Club 4350 El Conquistador Parkway, Bradenton. (941) 758-1466. Technically advanced 18 holes. Private. imgacademygolfclub.com

Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 7650 Legacy Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. (941) 907-4700. Thirty-six holes designed by Palmer Course Design Company. Elegant 44,000-square-foot clubhouse with pro shop, locker rooms, dining area, meeting rooms and ballroom. Members only, but membership is open to non-residents. Private. lakewoodranchgolf.com

Laurel Oak Country Club, 2700 Gary Player Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 378-3608. Two courses designed by Gary Player. Twelve Har-Tru tennis courts. Private. laureloak.com

Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch, 8255 Legacy Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 907-7067. Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole course with a pro shop and restaurant. Public. legacygolfclub.com

Legends Golf Club at Forest Lakes, 2401 Beneva Road, Sarasota. (941) 922-1312. New course opened fall 2007. Putting greens, pro shop, concession stand and two-story clubhouse. Semi-private.

Links at Greenfield Plantation, 10325 Greenfield Blvd., Bradenton. (941) 747-9432. Eighteen-hole layout, golf club rentals. Public. linksatgreenfieldplantation.com

Longboat Key Club and Resort, 442 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. (941) 387-1651. Forty-five holes, two pro shops, two driving ranges and a golf academy. Private. longboatkeyclub.com

The Meadows Country Club, 3101 Longmeadow, Sarasota. (941) 371-6000. Two private championship 18-hole golf courses and one public 18-hole par 65 short course, 17 Har-Tru tennis courts, three dining rooms, fitness center. Membership is open to nonresidents. Private. meadowscc.org

Mission Valley Country Club 1851 Mission Valley Blvd., Laurel. (941) 488-9683. Eighteen holes, newly renovated clubhouse. Private. missionvalleycc.com

Misty Creek Country Club, 8954 Misty Creek Drive, Sarasota. (941) 922-2188. Eighteen-hole course, clubhouse. Private. mistycreek.net

Oak Ford Golf Club, 1552 Palm View Road, Sarasota. (941) 371-3680. Twenty-seven-hole championship course, practice range. Semi-private. oakfordgolfclub.com

The Oaks Club, 301 Mac Ewen Drive, Osprey. (941) 966-2161. Two championship courses, 12 Har-Tru tennis courts, junior Olympic-size pool, 34,000-square-foot clubhouse. Private. theoaksclub.com

Palm-Aire Country Club, 5601 Country Club Way, Sarasota. (941) 355-9733. Two championship 18-hole courses, five tee boxes on each hole. Private. palmaire.net

Pelican Pointe Golf & Country Club, 499 Derbyshire Drive, Venice. (941) 496-4653. Twenty-seven-hole, Ted McAnlis-designed championship course with a driving range and pro shop. Semi-private. pelicanpointeclub.com

Peridia Golf & Country Club, 4950 Peridia Blvd. E, Bradenton. (941) 758-2582. Eighteen holes. Semi-private. peridiagcc.net

The Plantation Golf and Country Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice. (941) 497-1494. Two 18-hole courses, tennis courts. Private. plantationgcc.com

The Preserve Golf Club at Tara, 7310 Tara Preserve Lane, Bradenton. (941) 756-2944. Semi-private. golfthepreserve.com

The Resort at Longboat Key Club, 301 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. (941) 383-8821. Forty-five holes of golf (Islandside and Harbourside courses) open to members and guests of The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Private. longboatkeyclub.com

The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club, 15150 70th Terrace E., Bradenton. (941) 309-2600. Tom Fazio-designed, 18-hole championship course with 16 lakes, framed by the Braden River. Private. rcmcsarasota.com

River Club Golf Course, 6600 River Club Blvd., Bradenton. (941) 751-4211. Eighteen-hole course. Public. riverclubgc.com

River Wilderness Country Club, 2250 Wilderness Blvd. W., Parrish. (941) 776-2602. Ted McAnlis-designed 18-hole course. Private. riverwildernesscc.com

Rolling Green Golf Club, 4501 N. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota. (941) 355-7621. Eighteen-hole course. Public. rollinggreengc.com

Rosedale Golf and Country Club, 5100 87th St. E., Bradenton. (941) 756-0004. Eighteen-hole course with Har-Tru tennis courts. Semi-private. rosedalegcc.com

Sara Bay Country Club, 7011 Willow St., Sarasota. (941) 355-6544. Founded in 1926. Private. sarabaycc.org

Sarasota Golf Club, 7280 N. Leewynn Drive, Sarasota. (941) 371-2431. Eighteen-hole course, driving range. Public. sarasotagc.com

Serenoa Golf Course, 6773 Serenoa Drive, Sarasota. (941) 925-2755. Eighteen-hole course, driving range. Public. serenoagc.com

Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club, 8801 Stoneybrook Lane, Englewood. (941) 966-1800. Eighteen-hole course. Semi-private. stoneybrook.net

Tara Golf & Country Club, 6602 Drewry’s Bluff Road, Bradenton. (941) 756-7775. Private. taragcc.com

Tatum Ridge Golf Links, 421 N. Tatum Road, Sarasota. (941) 378-4211. Par-72 Ted McAnlis-designed course; practice range. Public. tatumridgegolflinks.com

Tournament Players Club at Prestancia, 4409 TPC Drive, Sarasota. (941) 922-2800. Two of the area’s most prestigious courses, with a total of 36 holes. Practice area and driving range. Private. tpcprestancia.com

University Park Country Club, 7671 The Park Blvd. (941) 359-9999. Twenty-seven-hole championship course. Public. universitypark-fl.com/country-club

Waterford Golf Club, 1454 Gleneagles Drive, Venice. (941) 484-6621. The club has an 18-hole championship course. Public. golfinvenice.com

Waterlefe Golf & River Club, 1022 Fish Hook Cove, Bradenton. (941) 744-0393. Eighteen-hole course. Public. waterlefegolfandriverclub.com

 

GREYHOUND RACING

Sarasota Kennel Club, 5400 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota. (941) 355-7744. In addition to the greyhound season, November through April, the club also offers a card room; plus simulcast horse and dog racing the rest of the year. sarasotakennelclub.com

Returning champion Tommy Mylkinov

Returning champion Tommy Mylkinov

HOCKEY

Tampa Bay Lightning, The Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6600. The NHL’s 2004 Stanley Cup Champions. lightning.nhl.com

Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex, 5309 29th St. E., Ellenton. (941) 723-3663. Home of the Tampa Bay Juniors hockey club and Gulf Coast Flames travel youth hockey program. Ice and figure skating, clinics and adult hockey leagues. ellentonice.com

 

POLO

Sarasota Polo Club, 8201 Polo Club Lane, Sarasota. (941) 907-0000. Sunday afternoon matches December through April. sarasotapolo.com

 

TENNIS & RACQUETBALL

Bath & Racquet Fitness Club, 2170 Robinhood St., Sarasota. (941) 306-4113. Twenty-seven tennis courts, several racquetball. Private, but memberships available. sarasota-health-club.com

Bollettieri Tennis Academy, IMG Academies, 5500 34th St. W., Bradenton. (941) 755-1000. Tennis instruction available for children and adults. imgacademies.com/nick-bollettieri-tennis-academy

Evalyn Sadlier Jones YMCA, 8301 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota. (941) 922-9622. Branch offers three racquetball courts. thesarasotay.org/FindaY/EvalynSadlierJonesBranch.aspx

Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, 590 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key. (941) 316-8367. Ten soft clay courts. longboatkey.org/departments/tennis/tennis.htm

Longboat Key Club and Resort, 220 Sands Point Road, Longboat Key. (941) 383-8821. Thirty-eight Har-Tru tennis courts, six lighted. Open to members and guests. longboatkeyclub.com

The Meadows Country Club, 3101 Long-meadow, Sarasota. (941) 371-6000. Seventeen Har-Tru tennis courts. Membership is open to nonresidents. Private. meadowscc.org

Mission Valley Country Club, 1851 Mission Valley Blvd., Laurel. (941) 488-9683. Three Har-Tru tennis courts. Private. missionvalleycc.com

Payne Park Tennis Center, 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota. (941) 861-8193. County recreation center in downtown Sarasota features nine tennis courts.

Plantation Racquet Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice. (941) 497-1494. Thirteen lighted Har-Tru courts, tennis shop. Private, memberships available. plantationgcc.com

Serendipity Racquet Club, 3600 Torrey Pines Blvd, Sarasota. (941) 922-1591. Located at the Country Club of Sarasota; 19 Har-Tru tennis courts, fitness center, pool and pro shop. serendipityracquetclub.com

Tennis Center at The Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 7650 Legacy Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. (941) 907-4700. Eighteen lighted courts, 16 Har-Tru, two red clay. Lessons, leagues, pro shop, locker rooms, deli. Members only, but open to non-residents. lakewoodranchgolf.com

Total Tennis of Siesta Key, 240 Avenida Madera, Siesta Key. (941) 349-7742. Instruction for adults and children, racquet stringing.