It's easy to get caught up in the area's relaxing pursuits, but people itching for exercise and competition don't have to go far. With water sports aplenty and golf courses galore, Sarasota invites athletes by land or by sea to find out who can hit the longest drive, catch the biggest fish-or the biggest air.
Sarasota is known as an international golf mecca with plenty of courses for all handicaps, some designed by familiar names like Arnold Palmer and Ted McAnlis. Most of those courses accompany nearby tennis courts, be they Har-Tru or clay.
If being a spectator is more your sport, the area is a spring-training hotspot for Major League baseball, hosting Reds and Pirates home games in March and single-A squads throughout the baseball season. Exercise your lungs by shouting your way to victory during races at the Sarasota Kennel Club and professional baseball, football and hockey games in nearby Tampa/St. Petersburg.
Sure, some folks will say they're just looking for a laid-back day at the ballpark or on the links, but let's face it: Relaxation is so much better when you win.
Cincinnati Reds, Ed Smith Stadium, 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota. 954-4464. The Major League team calls Sarasota home for spring training games in March.
Pittsburgh Pirates, McKechnie Field, 1750 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. 747-3245. Bradenton hosts the Major League's Pirates during spring training games in March.
Sarasota Reds/Florida State League Affiliate, 954-4464. Minor-league ball at Ed Smith Stadium spring through fall.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. (727) 825-3137. Regular-season Major League Baseball in St. Pete's domed stadium.
A sampling of the area's many options. Check your Yellow Pages for more.
Adventure Charters, 923-2605. Sport fishing, half and full day.
Cannons Marina, 6040 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. 383-1311. Boat rentals, sales.
Captain Action Charter Service, 955-4524. Gulf and bay fishing.
Capt. Bob Smith Sport Fishing Guide, 366-2159. Half-day and full-day fishing trips.
CB's Saltwater Outfitters, 1249 Stickney Point Road, Siesta Key. 349-4400. Bay, backcountry and coastal Gulf fishing.
Dockside Marine, 1265 Old Stickney Point Road, Sarasota. 349-8880. Boat rentals.
Flying Fish Deep Sea Fishing, Marina Jack, Sarasota. 366-3373. Half-day, six-hour and all-day trips.
Hart's Landing, 920 John Ringling Causeway, Sarasota. 955-0011. Bait, tackle, fishing equipment rentals.
Le Barge Tropical Cruises, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota. 366-6116. Daily sightseeing tours, private charters available.
Midnite Son Charter Fishing, 349-7677. Sport fishing, half-day, full-day, overnight.
Snook Haven, 5000 Venice Ave. E., Venice. 485-7221. Motorboats, canoes, tour-boat rides on the Myakka River.
Spindrift Yacht Services, 410 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. 383-7781. Party cruises, instruction.
CANOE AND KAYAK RENTALS
Economy Tackle, 6018 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 922-9671. Complete canoe and kayak supplies, lessons and guided tours.
Island Style Wind and Watersports, 2433 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 954-1009. Kayak tours, wind- and kitesurfing lessons.
Silent Sports Outfitters, 2301 Tamiami Trail N., Nokomis. 966-5477. Ocean kayak specialists. Tours, sales and rentals.
Walk on the Wild Side, 351-6500. Tours and rentals.
Dolphin Dive Center, 6018 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 924-2785. Local charters, instruction, rentals.
Florida West Scuba School, 509-B N. Tamiami Trail, Venice. 486-1400. Lessons, rentals, trips.
Ocean Pro Dive Shop, 2259 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. 924-3483. Dive charters, instruction, dive trips. PADI five-star training facility.
Scuba Quest, 1129 S. Tamiami Trail, 366-1530; 5770 S. Tamiami Trail, 925-7055, Sarasota. Charters, rentals, sales.
West Coast Surf Shop, 3902 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. 778-1001. Boards, sportswear and more.
Windflight Surf Shop, 722 Albee Road W., Nokomis. 484-2794. Surfboards, wet suits, accessories.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (813) 879-2827. NFL team plays at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.
Call for tee time availability.
Bird Bay Executive Golf Club, 602 Bird Bay Drive W., Venice. 485-9333. Eighteen-hole course, tennis courts. Public.
Bobby Jones Golf Club, 1000 Circus Blvd., Sarasota. 365-4653. Forty-five-hole complex. Public.
Calusa Lakes Golf Club, 1995 Calusa Lakes, Venice. 484-8995. Eighteen holes. Public.
The Concession Country Club, on S.R. 70 three miles east of I-75. (866) 357-3349. Exclusive course set to open early in 2006. Jack Nicklaus design commemorating the 1969 Ryder Cup. Private.
Edwin Watts Golf Shop, 6230 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota. 907-1060. Golf equipment and accessories.
El Conquistador Country Club, 4530 El Conquistador Parkway, Bradenton. 758-1466. Eighteen holes, recently renovated by Gene Bates Golf Design of Palm Beach. Private.
The Founders Club, 9000 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. 378-0900. Exclusive new course opened February 2005. Private.
Forest Lakes Golf Club, 2401 Beneva Road, Sarasota. 922-1312. Eighteen-hole course, driving range, tennis. Public.
Foxfire Golf Club, 7200 Proctor Road, Sarasota. 921-7757. Twenty-seven-hole course, driving range. Public.
Gator Creek Golf Course, 9000 Gator Creek Drive, Sarasota. 924-1111. Eighteen-hole course. Private.
Heritage Oaks Golf and Country Club, 4800 Chase Oaks Drive, Sarasota. 926-7600. Eighteen-hole course. Semi-private.
Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch, 8255 Legacy Blvd., Sarasota. 907-7067. Arnold Palmer-designed, 18-hole course. Also pro shop, restaurant. Public.
Links at Greenfield Plantation, on S.R. 64 two miles east of I-75, Bradenton. 747-9432. Eighteen-hole layout, golf club rentals. Public.
Misty Creek Country Club, 8954 Misty Creek Drive, Sarasota. 921-5258. Eighteen-hole course, clubhouse. Private.
Oak Ford Golf Club, 1552 Palm View Road, Sarasota. 371-3680. Twenty-seven-hole championship course, practice range. Public.
Pelican Pointe Golf & Country Club, 575 Center Road, Venice. 492-9776. Eighteen-hole Ted McAnlis-designed course; driving range; pro shop. Semi-private.
Peridia Golf & Country Club, 4950 Peridia Blvd. E, Bradenton. 753-9097. Eighteen holes. Private.
The Plantation Golf and Country Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice. 493-2000. Two 18-hole courses, tennis courts. Private.
The Private Course at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 7710 Legacy Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. 907-4700. 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. Private.
The Resort at Longboat Key Club, 301 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. 383-8821. Forty-five holes of golf (Islandside and Harbourside courses) open to members and guests of The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Private.
The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club, Lakewood Ranch off Lorraine Road. 309-2000. Tom Fazio-designed, 18-hole championship course with 16 lakes, framed by the Braden River. Scheduled to open December 2005. Private.
River Club Golf Course, 6600 River Club Blvd., Bradenton. Eighteen-hole course. Public.
River Wilderness Country Club, 2250 Wilderness Blvd. W., Parrish. 776-2602. Ted McAnlis-designed, 18-hole course. Private.
Rolling Green Golf Club, 4501 N. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota. 355-7621. Eighteen-hole course. Public.
Rosedale Golf and Country Club, 5100 87th St. E., Bradenton. 756-0004. Eighteen-hole course, Har-Tru tennis courts. Semi-private.
Sarasota Golf Club, 7280 N. Leewynn Drive, Sarasota. 371-2431. Eighteen-hole course, driving range. Public.
Serenoa Golf Course, 6773 Serenoa Drive, Sarasota. 925-2755. Eighteen-hole course, driving range. Public.
Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club, 8801 Stoneybrook Lane, Venice. 966-1800. Eighteen-hole course. Semi-private.
Tara Golf & Country Club, 6602 Drewry's Bluff Road, Bradenton. 758-2203. Private.
Tatum Ridge Golf Links, 421 N. Tatum Road, Sarasota. 378-4211. Par-72 course, practice range. Public.
TPC at Prestancia, 4409 TPC Drive, Sarasota. 924-1331. Two of the area's most prestigious courses for a total of 36 holes. Practice area and driving range. Private.
University Park Country Club, 1.8 miles west of I-75 on University Parkway. 359-9999. Twenty-seven-hole championship course. Semi-private.
Waterford Golf Club, 1454 Gleneagles Drive, Venice. 484-6621. Eighteen-hole championship course. Public.
Waterlefe Golf & River Club, 10705 Waterlefe Blvd., Bradenton. 744-9771. Eighteen-hole course. Public.
Sarasota Kennel Club, 5400 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota. 355-7744. Greyhound season runs November through April; simulcast horse and dog racing the rest of the year.
Bath & Racquet Club, 2170 Robinhood St., Sarasota. 921-6675. Renowned for its tennis facility, Bath & Racquet also has free weights, group exercise classes, personal trainers, a cardiovascular center and junior Olympic swimming pool.
Curves for Women, 10 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. 923-GOLD. Along with the weight training that has defined its reputation, Gold's has a ladies-only second level, full nutritional counseling, full cardio area and childcare.
Lakewood Ranch YMCA, 5100 Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton. 782-0220. The facility includes an indoor gymnasium, fitness center, locker rooms with saunas, family locker rooms, babysitting and an outdoor heated swimming pool.
Manatee YMCA, two locations: Bradenton Branch, 3805 59th St., Bradenton. 792-7484. Provides fitness programs, aquatic classes, youth and preschool programs, adult and youth sports, aerobics and aqua-aerobics classes, childcare and camp for elementary school children. Includes an indoor gymnasium, indoor heated pool and fitness center. South Branch, 3675 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton. 753-0954. Includes an indoor gymnasium, fitness center, babysitting room for kids, outdoor pool, two tennis courts and a park for outdoor events.
Sarasota Family YMCA, three branches: The Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch, 8301 Potter Park Drive, in south Sarasota. 922-9622. Offers three racquetball courts, elevated track, aerobics, fitness center and pool. The Berlin Center, 1075 S. Euclid Ave. 955-8194. Several racquetball courts, aerobics, fitness center, pool and state-of-the-art indoor spinning room. The Main Plaza Branch, 1819 Main St., Sarasota. 366-6778. Offers weight training, aerobic equipment and fitness classes.
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.
South County YMCA, 701 Center Road, Venice. 493-6130. In addition to aquatics and childcare, the South County YMCA has a gymnastics program, cardio and strength training and pre- and after-school programs for kids.
Tampa Bay Lightning, The St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 223-6100. The NHL's reigning Stanley Cup Champions.
TENNIS & RACQUETBALL
Bath & Racquet Club, 2170 Robinhood, Sarasota. 921-6675. Twenty-seven tennis courts, several racquetball. Private, but memberships available.
Bollettieri Tennis Academy, IMG Academies, 5500 34th St. W., Bradenton. 755-1000. Tennis instruction available, children and adults.
The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. 383-4322. Tennis, pool, health club.
Evalyn Sadlier Jones YMCA, 8301 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota. 922-9622. This branch offers three racquetball courts.
Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, 590 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key. 316-8367. Six courts available.
Payne Park Tennis Center, 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota. 954-4884.
Plantation Racquet Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice. 493-0047. Thirteen lighted Har-tru courts, tennis shop. Private, memberships available.
The Resort at Longboat Key Club, 301 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. 383-8821. Thirty-eight Har-Tru tennis courts, six lighted. Open to members and guests of The Resort at Longboat Key Club.
Serendipity Racquet and Tennis Club, 3600 Torrey Pines Blvd, Sarasota. 922-1591. At the Country Club of Sarasota; recently renovated to include new tennis courts, new fitness and locker room and new pro shop.
Tennis Center at The Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 8488 Legacy Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. 907-4700. 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.
Total Tennis, 240 Avenida Madera, Siesta Key. 349-7742. Teaching facility located at Forest Lakes Country Club.