Vacation Guides: Sports & Activities

By ericg December 1, 2012

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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 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 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.



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



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. Check your Yellow Pages for more.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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



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. Boards, sportswear and more.

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) 301-6600. The five-time Arena Football League champions play at the St. Pete Times Forum.



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.

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

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

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.

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.

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., Laurel. (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.

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

The 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 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.

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.

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

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

Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club, 8801 Stoneybrook Lane, Englewood. (941) 966-1800. 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. The club has an 18-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.

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Returning champion Tommy Mylkinov


Tampa Bay Lightning, The Tampa Bay Times Forum, 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 Tampa Bay Juniors hockey club and Gulf Coast Flames travel youth hockey program. Ice and figure skating, clinics and adult hockey leagues.



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



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

Bollettieri Tennis Academy, IMG Academies, 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. 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 Long-meadow, Sarasota. (941) 371-6000. Seventeen Har-Tru tennis courts. Membership is open to nonresidents. Private.

Mission Valley Country Club, 1851 Mission Valley Blvd., Laurel. (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, 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.

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

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