JOHN GARDINER’S TENNIS RANCH, Carmel, California
John Gardiner’s professionals emphasize that “There’s no learning without effort,” and that “Repetition is the law of learning.” Intimidated? Don’t be. The learning is posh and pleasant; at John Gardiner’s you’ll wear whites by day (while being lavished with personal instruction or drilling with balls fed from the fancy Amten ball machine) and cocktail dresses by night. Summer weekend campers run to the preppy investment-banker type; everyone’s well-heeled and polite, appropriate behavior for the swanky guest houses and white gazebos. Skill level: Beginner to advanced. Competitive spirit: Moderate, but social doubles can get tense. Number of campers: 28 students per session. Coach-camper ratio: 1:3. Sessions: Continuous two- to five-day camps. Digs: Most of the large and lovely rooms have fireplaces. Food: Lunch buffets (boasting “the biggest popovers in the world”), fruit-and-juice bar and formal dinners with vintage California wines. Price: Two days, $875-$925; five days, $1,850-$1,950 (single occupancy). Information: 831-659-2207.
BOLLETTIERI SPORTS ACADEMY, Bradenton, Florida
Nick Bollettieri, legendary molder of young champions, says he’ll train you to be “a better fighter” no matter what your skill level. You’ll have the same instructors who coach at Bollettieri’s famed Junior Academy, which has produced the likes of Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Mary Pierce and Monica Seles (you can watch flocks of 12-year-old future Anna Kournikovas smashing and volleying on the 79 courts). This is not a resort at which you’ll find yourself posing in your whites and whiling away hours in the Jacuzzi; it’s total tennis immersion at Bollettieri–you’ll drill three to four hours a day, and when you get home, you’ll probably whip the players you used to lose to. Skill level: Generally high, but beginners are welcome. Competitive spirit: Frightening. Number of campers: Up to 500; women outnumber men two to one. Coach-camper ratio: 1:4 or better (Bollettieri himself gives private lessons by special arrangement). Sessions: Three-day or week-long programs year-round. Digs: The Club Rooms in the resort villas are plush and have mini-refrigerators. Food: Cafeteria-style. Price: $763 for three days; $1,230 for five days. Information: 941-755-1000; 800-USA-NICK.
NIKE ADULT TENNIS CAMP, Amherst, Massachusetts
Call it back to school. Or just call it a bargain. The Nike Adult Tennis Camp, located on the grounds of scenic Amherst College, offers five hours of coaching a day (instructors are predominantly college coaches), match play and unlimited court time. Campers are urban professionals (ages 25 to 60) and they must enjoy the place because 40 percent come back for more. All of the Amherst facilities are at your disposal, but trust us, this ain’t no cushy spa. Other locations: Ten nationwide including Beaver Dam, WI, Flagstaff, AZ, Lawrenceville, NJ, and Santa Cruz, CA. Skill level: Moderate to high. Amherst attracts the keen and serious recreational player. Competitive spirit: Match play means the opportunity to jostle for position on competitive ladders; there’s an optional round-robin every evening. Number of campers: About 50 per session (roughly 50-50 male-female). Coach–camper ratio: 1:4. Sessions: Week and mini-week sessions are offered throughout the summer. Digs: Student dorm rooms. Food: Cafeteria cuisine. Price: Three- or five-day programs, $410-$635. Information: 800-645-3226.