The Club at Mediterra within the 1,697-acre gated Mediterra community two-miles north of Immokalee Road on Livingston Parkway in North Naples is home to a tennis program that is acknowledged as one of the best in the country.
Award-winning facilities, a staff that includes certified instructors and teaching professionals, and the nearly 200 Club members who play tennis on a regular basis make tennis one of the highlights of Mediterra’s amenity-rich lifestyle. The program’s facilities include a dedicated tennis pro shop and eight Har-Tru tennis courts, including a stadium court and a coliseum court. The coliseum court was recognized by the U.S. Court and Track Builders Association for its outstanding design and construction. The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) has acknowledged the overall program for its outstanding facilities. A regular schedule of events, including daily complimentary round robins, clinics, cardio tennis, traveling teams, and a Club Championship that attracts more than 80 unique members, offers tennis enthusiasts numerous ways to stay actively engaged in the program.
“One reason our program is recognized among the best is the caliber of our facilities,” said Michael Baldwin, Mediterra’s Director of Tennis and Pickle Ball and a USTA Certified Tennis Professional and ITPA Certified Pickle Ball Instructor. “They’re absolutely beautiful with hedges around the fences, the lavish stadium and coliseum courts, the pergola viewing area between the two courts, and the pride our team takes in maintaining the facilities – it’s just a beautiful setting. What is more important is how our members and staff make everyone feel welcomed no matter their skill level. There are 14 league teams this season. The teams cover all levels, from beginners to our very competitive club championship. There are teams for everybody, male and female.”
The tennis program provides avenues for players of all skill levels, including beginners, to become engaged with the game and with the social opportunities participation affords. Male and female teaching professionals work with those who are new to tennis and with those intent on refining their games. A reach-out effort ensures new Club members are given an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the tennis program and to become involved at a level that suits their individual preferences.
“Every new Club member will get a call from our staff offering them a complimentary evaluation/lesson,” said Baldwin. “We’re going to get you out there and give you that as our treat. Other members will walk by and we’ll introduce you to them. We’re going to assess your level, and we’re going to see if you want to get on a team right away, or if you’re a little apprehensive about that and you just want to do lessons. After a few lessons, most people get comfortable with jumping into our lower level round robins and lower level clinics. Our teaching professionals have fantastic resumes, as well as an uncanny ability to make even the rawest beginner feel welcomed and at ease. That approach starts with our Head Professional, Tim Keegan. He won the National USTA Clay Court Tournament last year. He’s an amazing coach who’s very patient and encouraging.”
Many beginners find cardio tennis an ideal way to become increasingly adept at the game and make new friendships at the same time. Cardio tennis sessions are held three mornings per week and are open to all skill levels. Participants run and hit tennis balls while listening to upbeat music. While it is designed more as a cardio workout than a tennis activity, the repetitive ball striking allows beginners to become more comfortable with the game while improving their overall fitness.
“It’s a workout more than it is about how good of a tennis player you are,” said Baldwin. “It’s also a wonderful social setting. These cardio tennis groups become like family and can be a built-in group of new friends. As they hit more balls, or take a few more private lessons, group lessons, or jump into a few round robins, most folks get onto a league team, not just for the competition, but for the social side, too. We try to steer people towards league teams unless we see they’re just not into that. Some people just want to take lessons, or to just have us help them find a game. Game matching to me is one of the most important things a tennis program needs to do. People want that convenience, they want that push. They want us to help set up games and activities, and we do that very well.”
More competitive tennis players participate in the annual Club Championship that attracts more than 80 players and up to 180 entries in various categories and divisions. Entrants schedule matches at their convenience over a two-month period. The season ends with a celebration that includes presentations of awards to the champions, recognition of the achievements of Mediterra’s league teams, and acknowledgements of the efforts of the team captains.
For those who enjoy racquet sports, but feel tennis is too strenuous, Mediterra has created a pickleball program that is also overseen by Michael Baldwin. Three new pickleball courts with a highly forgiving, Laykold masters’ gel surface that reduces the force of impact by 17%, have oversized perimeter areas that allow each court to stand alone without interfering with play on adjacent courts.
“Some people felt tennis was too much area to cover and had too much impact on the body, so they’re loving pickle ball,” said Baldwin. “It’s taken off big time. We’ve got about 200 people on our pickle ball interest list and about 100 actively playing. We did our first Pickle Ball Championship this year, and we had 47 unique members sign up for that. Next year, we’ll have league teams just like we do with tennis. It’s getting people out there who weren’t really doing anything active. But now they’re playing all the time. We’re looking at possibly putting in four more courts. We have our pickle ball 101 for people who have never played before, then there’s pickle ball 201, and skills and drills. We have round robins practically every day. Some are playing pickle ball and deciding to give tennis a try, so it’s adding to the tennis program. Lots of tennis players are doing both now, too.”
London Bay Homes, an award-winning homebuilder and developer in the Southwest Florida luxury home market for more than three decades, manages all new home construction sales and marketing for Mediterra. Purchasers of homes by London Bay are eligible to secure a full golf membership immediately rather than being placed on the membership waiting list as a Limited Golf Member. More than 60 purchase opportunities remain available in Mediterra. Available choices include London Bay’s new collection of furnished model homes, as well as home sites showcasing water and preserve views. London Bay has introduced new neighborhoods featuring single-family villa and estate model homes with Coastal-influenced exterior architectural styles and flowing open-concept interiors designed by Romanza Interior Design. Custom pools and outdoor living areas by London Bay’s Acquatico pool and outdoor living design company overlook Mediterra’s spectacular tableau.
Visit the Mediterra Sales Center at 15836 Savona Way off Livingston Road two miles north of Immokalee Road. The Sales Center and award-winning model residences by London Bay Homes are open daily. Visit Mediterra online at MediterraNaples.com.