Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, Jan. 28

Howard: A jant to Indian Wells and other legendary tennis sites Over spring break
My Point

I’ve been making the trek over spring break to cover the Indian Wells ATP Masters & WTA Premier combined tennis tournament since 2000, and each year it seems to get better and better. Where else can you get to see most every current professional male and female tennis player compete, practice and workout upfront and personal?

This tournament is a short 4 ½ hours from our doorstep, and will be held this year from Monday, March 4th (qualifying 4th/5th & 6th) through Sunday March 17th.

The cost ranges from free to view the qualifying rounds to $50.00 for a grounds pass on-up depending on if you’re there for the day or purchase a ticket tennis package.

This tournament is one of the best in the world, known to many as the “5th Slam”, the owner Larry Ellison has not left many stones unturned in making every tennis player and enthusiasts dream come true upon arrival.

You can enjoy every conjured aspect that tennis has to offer on the 54 acre perfectly landscaped and built tennis complex, known as the Indian Gardens. Watch the players practice, compete, workout, give autographs and pictures; sit back and enjoy the crowd, drink a beer, be entertained, enjoy a sandwich or be fine-dined; book a tour to visit one of the Grand Slams, tryout and buy a racquet, clothes, tennis memorabilia; hit the sites throughout the Coachella Valley or venture further into California with a day in LA or kicked-back on their southern beaches.

Maybe it’s time to do an interesting tennis journey to the finest and most historic tennis facilities throughout southern California, hitting some balls at each and getting a feel for why they have the iconic reputations they’ve acquired.

While in the desert area check out the La Quinta Resort where former professional Tom Gorman is the director of tennis. Mission Hills Country Club has more history than just about any club in the Palm Springs area and every court surface to play on as well.

Places like the “Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates that Jack and partner Vic Braden built and opened in 1962. The Los Angeles Tennis Club (1920) that produced an enormous group of our early American tennis greats at 5851 Clinton Street. And don’t forget the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club that is still family owned and that opened in the 1930’s on 2000 Spindrift Drive.

A night at or in the area of each of these clubs with a visit will be an enlightenment in your thoughts of the past and present in how tennis has evolved and will continue to hopefully grow.

If you go further south see the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club and Museum in Encinitas, the Newport Beach Tennis Club established in 1966, the prestigious Barnes Tennis Center near “Sea World” in San Diego and you could spend most of a week playing an early game of tennis at the Balboa Tennis Club and then visiting a different museum at the (Balboa) Park, hitting the zoo, and then a different food establishment each evening.

Yea, you might have a person or two with you that isn’t as crazy about tennis as they should be, so give them the car to use when you’re out enjoying a good hit with some of your new friends and acquaintances.

Spring break only comes once a year and it’s thick into tennis season, so “Come On” let’s make the best of it.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 45 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or

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