The Guide: Sports & Recreation

By ericg December 1, 2010

Sports & Recreation

Good Sports

From baseball to wind-surfing, outdoor fun abounds in Sarasota.


When Southwest Floridians refer to the "active lifestyle," they’re not talking about apple-picking. Try scuba diving, kayaking and reeling in the biggest tarpon you’ve ever seen. Looking for some swinging pursuits? With dozens of golf courses in the area, you can always get in 18 holes before lunch. Or maybe you’d like to sit back on a sailboat and take in the sunset: There are countless opportunities to get on the water and get away from it all. Even elite athletes flock to our shores, be they Major League baseball players reporting for spring training, golf legends staking out their latest course designs or international polo players saddling up and taking the field.


Baltimore Orioles | Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota. (888) 329-3365. Sarasota is the spring training home for Maryland’s Major League Baseball team.

Bradenton Marauders |

McKechnie Field, 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. (941) 747-3031. Single-A minor league team plays a full summer season in Bradenton’s charmingly old-fashioned park.

Pittsburgh Pirates | McKechnie Field, 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. (941) 747-3031. The Major League Baseball team plays its home spring training games here, too.

Tampa Bay Rays | Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. (888) 326-7297. Southwest Florida’s Major League team, which last season captured its division.


There are a number of boat rental and charter services available throughout the area. Check your local listings for additional options.

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters | 1249 Stickney Point Road, Siesta Key. (941) 349-4400. Boat rentals, fishing charters, equipment sales.

Cannon’s Marina | 6040 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. (941) 383-1311. New and used boat dealer, rentals and service.

Flying Fish Fleet | Marina Jack, Sarasota. Party boat and private fishing trips, corporate charters. Online reservations.

Hart’s Landing | 920 John Ringling Causeway, Sarasota. (941) 955-0011. Sarasota’s oldest bait and tackle shop; adjacent to free fishing along the seawall and the Tony Saprito Pier.

Key Sailing | (941) 346-SAIL. Sailing charters and instruction. Based in downtown Sarasota near Marina Jack.

LeBarge Tropical Cruises | (941) 366-6116. A local favorite for relaxed sunset cruises, dolphin watch tours, charters and more. Departs from downtown Sarasota, near Marina Jack.

Top Notch Sportfishing | (941) 809-5793. Guided, light-tackle fishing trips.


Adventure Kayak Outfitters | (941) 779-7426. Kayak tours and rentals.

Island Style Watersports | 2433 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 954-1009. Kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboarding.


Florida Underwater Sports | 6345 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 870-4461. Training, equipment sales.

Scuba Quest | 1129 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 366-1530. Classes, retail, dive trips. Additional locations in Bradenton and Venice.

Sea Trek Divers | 105 Seventh St. N., Bradenton Beach. (941) 779-1506. SCUBA rental, instruction, guided charters.


Bath and Racquet Club | 2170 Robinhood St., Sarasota. (941) 306-4113. Tennis, racquetball, classes, fitness equipment and more.

Curves | 4438 Bee Ridge Road or 7616 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota; four additional locations in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Fitness for women.

Evolution Health and Fitness | Courthouse Centre, 1990 Main St., second floor, Sarasota. (941) 955-9300. Upscale private health club with weights, Pilates, yoga and fitness facilities, as well as amenities like oxygenated air and infrared saunas.

Gold’s Gym | 3762 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. (941) 923-GOLD. Cardio and strength facilities, group classes offered.

Sarasota YMCA | Three local fitness branches offering weight training and fitness equipment, classes, personal training, youth programs, social services and more. Babe Weiller Branch, 1991 Main St., Suite 200, Sarasota. (941) 366-6779. Cardio, weights, group classes in the heart of downtown. Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch, 8301 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota. (941) 922-9622.

Full gym equipment, plus racquetball, indoor track, climbing tower and aquatics center. Frank G. Berlin Sr. Branch, 1075 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota. (941) 955-8194. Full gym equipment, plus gymnasium, indoor racquetball, indoor pool, outdoor track, childcare.

YouFit | 3840 S. Tuttle Ave. or 6198 N. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota. Weight and cardio facilities. Memberships starting at just $10

per month.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 879-BUCS. Southwest Florida’s NFL team.

Tampa Bay Storm | St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6600. Professional football team plays in the Arena Football League.


Bobby Jones Golf Course | 1000 Circus Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 365-GOLF. Municipal courses (45 holes) designed in 1927 by Bobby Jones himself.

The Concession Golf Club and Residences | 18804 Ganton Ave., Bradenton. (941) 322-1922. Eighteen holes designed by Jack Nicklaus to commemorate the historic 1969 Ryder Cup. Private.

The Founders Golf Club | 3800 Golf Hall Drive, Sarasota. (941) 371-7462. Private.

Heron Creek Golf and Country Club | 3401 S. Sumter Blvd., North Port. (941) 240-5100. Innovative 27-hole championship course. Semi-private.

IMG Academies Golf and Country Club | 4350 El Conquistador Parkway, (941) 758-1466. Bradenton.Training facilities and 18 holes along Sarasota Bay. Semi-private.

Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club | 7650 Legacy Blvd., Bradenton. (941) 907-4700. Three championship courses, two designed by Arnold Palmer. Private.

Laurel Oak Country Club | 2700 Gary Player Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 378-3608. Private club; certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch | 8255 Legacy Blvd., Bradenton. (941) 907-7067. An Arnold Palmer signature 18-hole golf course. Public.

Longboat Key Club and Resort | 442 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. (941) 387-1602. Two courses combining for 45 holes of golf, plus two pro shops, two driving ranges and a golf academy. Private.

Mission Valley Country Club | 1851 Mission Valley Blvd., Laurel. (941) 488-9683. Walker-friendly 18-hole course with several scenic lakes. Private.

The Oaks Club | 301 MacEwen Drive, Osprey. (941) 966-2161. Two championship-conditioned golf courses. Private.

Palm-Aire Country Club | 5601 Country Club Way, Sarasota. (941) 556-0782. Recently renovated golf courses. Private.

Plantation Golf and Country Club | 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice. (941) 497-1479. Two championship courses. Private.

The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club | 15140 70th Terrace E., Bradenton. (888) 363-6237. Sarasota’s only course designed by architect Tom Fazio. Private.

Sara Bay Golf and Country Club | 7011 Willow St., Sarasota. (941) 355-7658. Private club established

in 1926; the course was fully renovated in 2006.

Sarasota Golf Club | 7280 N. Leewynn Drive, Sarasota. (941) 371-2431. Public course with good variety, natural Florida setting.

TPC Prestancia | 4409 TPC Drive, Sarasota. (941) 922-2800.

Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, two courses. Private.

University Park Country Club | 7671 The Park Blvd., University Park. (941) 359-9999. Driving range, practice areas, pro shop, golf schools, 27 holes. Semi-private.

Waterlefe Golf and River Club | 1022 Fish Hook Cove, Bradenton. (941) 744-0393. Semi-private championship course designed by Ted McAnlis, located along the upper Manatee River.


Sarasota Kennel Club | 5400 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota. (941) 355-7744. Live greyhound racing, simulcast horse racing and poker.


Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex | 5309 29th St. E., Ellenton. (941) 723-3663. Children’s and adult hockey leagues, figure skating, public skate sessions.

Tampa Bay Lightning | St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6500. NHL team.


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


Bath and Racquet Club | 2170 Robinhood St., Sarasota. (941) 306-4113. Private health club offering 23 clay tennis courts, six hard courts, plus racquetball, pros, leagues and more.

Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club Tennis Center | 8488 Legacy Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. (941) 907-2825. Members enjoy 18 lighted clay courts, pro shop, deli and more.

Longboat Key Club and Resort | 220 Sands Pointe Road, Longboat Key. (941) 383-8821. New tennis complex featuring 20 courts, pro shop, café, clubhouse and more; hosts a pro tournament each spring.

The Oaks Club | 301 MacEwen Drive, Osprey. Members enjoy 12 Har-Tru tennis courts.

Palm-Aire Country Club | 5601 Country Club Way, Sarasota. (941) 556-0782. Eight Har-Tru courts and two all-weather courts.

Payne Park Tennis Center | 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota. Twelve Har-Tru courts, locker rooms. Fees apply.

Plantation Golf and Country Club | 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice. (941) 497-1479. Offers 13 Har-Tru tennis courts.

Serendipity Racquet Club | 3600 Torrey Pines Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 922-1591. Private club featuring 19 Har-Tru courts and a variety of programs.

University Park Country Club | 7671 The Park Blvd., University Park. Members enjoy 11 lighted tennis courts, instruction and more.


SoCo Sports | (941) 266-8578. Adult social leagues in a number of sports, including flag football, bowling, volleyball, softball and ultimate Frisbee.

Filed under
Show Comments