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Destination Tennis, Horseshoe Bay: Tennis & Pickleball
"Tennis and Wine" intersperses cocktail hours with drills, instructional match play—and an excursion to one the many wineries in Texas Hill Country.
Published Aug 29, 2023
For all the world-class amenities at Horseshoe Bay, one easily tops the list for tennis players: six red-clay courts, a unicorn surface in the United States. It might not be the only place in the country to play the dirtballer’s game, but it may be the finest.
The clay at the Bay is crushed stone, not the brick-dust surface featured at Roland Garros. It’s not as slippery as traditional terre battue, and it plays slower than sandy, green Har-Tru.
It also makes for a splendid sight amid the resort’s lush landscaping.
“The courts feel very beautiful,” says Destination Tennis host Monica Puig. “There’s a peaceful silence around them. It’s nice to go to a place where you feel like you can take a breath.”
The tennis center is part of The Club at Horseshoe Bay Resort, a social hub marrying upscale recreation with equal parts glamor and natural beauty. Surrounded by a tranquil and tropical landscape of palm trees, ponds and boardwalks, the complex supplements the clay courts with eight hard courts replicating the US Open surface, and eight dedicated pickleball courts—with more to come. Horseshoe Bay guests can join area club members in their morning clinics, or be paired with a member for a practice match.
There’s a peaceful silence around them. It’s nice to go to a place where you feel like you can take a breath.
Players who can’t get enough tennis love the structured weekend camps, says tennis director Israel Castillo. Tennis and Wine intersperses cocktail hours with drills, instructional match play—and an excursion to one the many wineries in Texas Hill Country. The Ultimate Doubles Weekend features nine hours of clinics and match play, when pros will provide immediate feedback.
During a private lesson, you might notice a difference playing with a resort pro than a regular instructor.
“We can be more transparent and don’t have to sugar-coat anything, which is a big advantage,” Castillo says. “It takes a lot of tact to be able to tell someone what they’re doing wrong without being rude. And I think that’s what people want—to be a better player.”
But ig you want to try the signature red-clay slide, you’re on your own—Castillo doesn’t teach it.
“Most people don’t run fast enough to slide,” Castillo says. “It takes a while to get the feel of it.”
(But who could possibly resist? Remember to skid into the shot, not out of it, when you should be recovering for the next ball.)
Horseshoe Bay Resort
- 200 Hi Circle North
- Horseshoe Bay, Texas
- $350/weekend night
One Thing You Need to Know: The most popular member of the tennis staff is Schulz, director Israel Castillo’s Tibetan terrier who’s a fixture on the courts.
Tennis at a Glance
Facilities: 8 hard courts, 6 red-clay courts, 12 dedicated pickleball courts.
Rates: Court rental, $25 per hour; clinics, $30 per hour; private instruction, starting at $135 per hour.
Good to know: Ultimate Doubles Weekends feature mid-match coaching to improve technique and strategy in a live situation. Rates start at $525 per person, based on double occupancy.