2014 Vacation Guide: Sports

Your guide to Sarasota's sports offerings.

By Sarasota Magazine December 1, 2014

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Polo, the sport of kings, is alive and well at the Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch. Every Sunday afternoon from mid-December through April, fans flock to the 130-acre oasis in east Sarasota County to cheer on their favorite players. The chukkers (six timed periods to a match) are fast-paced and full of excitement, and at half-time everyone is invited onto the field for divot stomping. Tailgating is encouraged, and tourney-goers try to top each other in the lavish picnic department.


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.

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.

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.


A sampling of the area’s many options.

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

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

Capt. Tony Blizzard Sport Fishing Guide, (941) 366-2159. Half-day and full-day fishing trips are offered.

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

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

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

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

Lil’ Toot Charters, 4110 127th St. W., Cortez. (941) 761-3300. In-shore, offshore and near-shore charters.

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

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

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.


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

The Happy Paddler, (941) 773-1920. Nature tours, paddle lessons, naturalist courses, kayak and paddleboard rentals.

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

Siesta Key Bike & Kayak, 1224 Old Stickney Point Road, Siesta Key. (941) 346-0891. Tours, kayaks, scooters, scootercars and more.

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


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

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

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.


West Coast Surf Shop, 3902 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. (941) 778-1001.

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


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

Tampa Bay Storm, (813) 301-6500. The five-time Arena Football League champions play at Amalie Arena.


Call for tee time availability.

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

Bent Tree Country Club, 4700 Bent Tree Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 371-8200. Eighteen-hole championship course. Private.

Bobby Jones Golf Club, 1000 Circus Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 365-4653. A 45-hole complex. Public.

Boca Royale Golf and Country Club, 1601 Englewood Road, Englewood. (941) 475-6464. Eighteen-hole course and tennis courts. Private.

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

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.

The Esplanade Golf & Country Club at Lakewood Ranch, 5240 Esplanade Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, (941) 306-3500. Semi-private 18-hole course opened in the fall of 2014.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

The Resort at Longboat Key Club, 220 Sands Point Road, Longboat Key. (941) 383-8821. Forty-five holes, two pro shops, two driving ranges and a golf academy. Private.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club, 8801 Stoneybrook Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 966-2711. Eighteen-hole course. Semi-private.

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

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

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.

University Park Country Club, 7671 The Park Blvd. (941) 359-9999. Twenty-seven-hole championship course. Public.

Waterford Golf Club, 1454 Gleneagles Drive, Venice. (941) 484-6621. Eighteen-hole championship course. Public.

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


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.


Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6600. The NHL’s 2004 Stanley Cup Champions.

Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex, 5309 29th St. E., Ellenton. (941) 723-3663. Home of the Gulf Coast Flames travel youth hockey program. Ice and figure skating, clinics and adult hockey leagues for all experience levels.


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


U.S. Masters Swimming, (800), 550-SWIM. This national organization for adult swimming organizations is headquartered in Sarasota. In addition to overseeing sanctioned events throughout the country, the group provides benefits to more than 60,000 swimmers of all ability levels. (“Masters” simply refers to people who are 18 and over.) There are a number of local USMS workout groups.


Bath & Racquet Fitness Club, 2170 Robinhood St., Sarasota. (941) 921-6675. Twenty-seven tennis courts, several racquetball. Private, but memberships available.

Bollettieri Tennis Academy, IMG Academy, 5500 34th St. W., Bradenton. (941) 755-1000. Tennis instruction available for children and adults.

Evalyn Sadlier Jones YMCA, 8301 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota. (941) 922-9622. This branch offers three racquetball courts.

Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, 590 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key. (941) 316-8367. Ten soft clay courts.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

Tennis Center at The Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 8488 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.

Total Tennis of Siesta Key, 2300 Bee Ridge Road. (941) 349-7742. Instruction for adults and children, racquet stringing.

Training Day

IMG Academy, the mammoth sports training complex in south Manatee County that draws elite amateur and pro athletes from across the world, has a new state-of-the-art 5,000-seat stadium, and lots of upcoming events will be open to the public. Go to for the latest information on times, dates and ticket prices.

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