12 Great Places to Play on Red Clay
Playing on clay isn't just easy on the joints, it's a lesson in the history of tennis in the U.S. Here are twelve destinations--some historic, some lavishly modern--that are keeping this unique tennis experience alive and kicking up dirt.
The Saddlebrook has a tradition of offering intense tennis boot camps for adult and junior players alike. With courts in every Grand Slam surface, including two immaculate red clay courts, don't be surprised if you find yourself a court away from touring pros John Isner or the Bryan brothers gearing up for their next Major event.
New York, NY
Just north of Manhattan's Central Park you'll find 10 pristine clay courts that are a model for civic stewardship. Rescued in the early 80's by the RCTA, today these public clay courts offer a unique tennis experience in the heart of the urban jungle.
Since 1969, Oliver's has been offering Cape Cod hospitality to tennis fans from around the world. Their seven meticulously maintained red clay courts are open to the public from early spring to mid-autumn--and they'll even provide flat-soled shoes in case you forgot your's.
Situated in the affluent River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, Texas, the country club features six red clay courts installed in 2007 in order to host the Men's Clay Court Championship -- the only ATP clay event in the U.S.
Five miles west of River Oaks, you'll find eight more red clay courts at the Houston Country Club, if you're lucky enough to access them. Houston's oldest country club is also its most exclusive.
The non-profit club was founded in 2007 to restore the historic red clay tennis courts in Pittsburgh's Frick Park. With clinics, workshops and various tournaments throughout the spring and summer, all are welcome to watch and play tennis on these historic courts.
Drive 50 miles west of Boston and you'll find seven pristine courts at the Worcester Tennis Club. Offering a clay tennis experience since 1907, Worcester eschews fancy amenities and extras in favor of a humble nod to the early days of clay in the U.S. Historians welcome.
Mountain Lake Park, MD
While the remote setting in the Allegheny Highlands is worthy of a visit, the real draw for Mountain Lake is their Tennis Week celebration and the Western Maryland Championships, when the oldest sanctioned tournament in the tri-state area takes place. Bring your tent or stay in one of the local bed and breakfasts.
Keeping the clay tradition alive for nearly 100 years, the Oakmont offers seven professionally maintained red clay courts, member's club house, locker room and showers, hitting wall, junior programs and adult leagues--all nestled in a cozy neighborhood in the historic Lehigh Valley.
The Armonk is part tennis club, part outdoor adventure. The club consists of 14 courts in all--five of which are outdoor red clay--a 25-yard swimming pool, club house and locker room, picnic areas and playing fields, all situated on 12 picturesque wooded acres 40 miles north of New York.
Originally the Powelton Lawn Tennis Club when chartered by the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association in 1882, today the club is private with a strict "white's only" policy, but once a year plays host to the USTA Red Clay Classic.
Coral Springs, FL
The Tennis Center of Coral Springs is a clay-court oasis in South Florida. Featuring 11 green har-tru courts and one red clay, the municipal center offers group and private lessons, round robin tournaments, tennis ladders, mixed doubles, social events and league play.