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Boca Raton News - Boca Resort listed in nation’s Top 10

Published Sunday, October 3, 2004 1:00 am
by Kelly Landy

Two years ago, Tennis Magazine ranked the Boca Raton Resort and Club at No. 5. The “50 Best U.S. Tennis Resorts” was updated in the October issue of Tennis Magazine, and Boca Resort is still in the top 10 at No. 7.
“We’ve been naming the 50 greatest resorts for almost 30 years,” said Mark Woodruff, editor-in-chief of Tennis Magazine. “We do it every other year and the distinction lasts for two years.”
Topping the list this year is Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina. Ponte Vedra Inn and Club and The Colony Beach and Tennis Resort in Florida round out the top three. The rest in the top 10 besides Boca Raton are in California, Colorado and Vermont. Nos. 11 through 50 are placed in alphabetical order.
The criteria used to judge the resorts first and foremost is the “quality of the tennis program,” Woodruff said.
“The tennis program includes the teaching staff, the game matching that the resort has, you know, how committed they are of providing people who stay at the resort with people to play with whether that’s other guests or ... people from outside from the community,” Woodruff said.
The cuisine and spa facilities are considered as well as reader responses from the previous year.
“Over the course of two years, the editors visit every resort,” Woodruff said. “Then it’s all looked at and put together and analyzed. For example, if it was a great resort that had great tennis courts, but their emphasis was really much more on golf or something else it might rank very highly but it probably wouldn’t get into the top 10 like Boca is.
“We consider anyone that’s in the top 10 to be one of the very best resorts. Boca’s No. 7, that means it’s obviously one of the very best places our readers could go to take a vacation.”
The resort spent a great deal of money upgrading their tennis facility in recent years.
“They spent $10 million [nine] years ago on their tennis facility and they have a real commitment to tennis,” Woodruff said. “So, I would expect it to be in the top 10 for quite some time.”

The tennis center facilities include a two-story Mizner-style tennis clubhouse in the traditional pink decor of the resort with 18 Har-Tru clay courts, 12 additional courts minutes away at the Boca Raton Country Club and valet-only parking service. The courts utilize HydroGrid technology, which keeps the moisture on the courts’ surface at a consistent level.
“I think part of the glamour of the Boca Resort is that besides having aesthetically a beautiful place to play tennis, we also offer a world-class spa, world-class dining, world-class golf, boating, the beach, fitness center, the whole thing,” said Erik Silver, who’s been the resort’s tennis director for nine years. “We like being in the top 10. It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work. We put together a great staff with great ideas.”
The staff of eight professionals includes head tennis pro Larry Gottfried, and Scott Williams, who joined the staff two years ago as the director of the junior and adult development programs.
The facilities are only open to members to play and take private lessons, but the resort’s first-ever adult tennis school starting Oct. 14 will be open to the public. With a resume filled with experience from playing professionally overseas to helping run the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Williams brings the experience necessary to make the school successful.
“We’re very excited with the launching of the tennis school,” Williams said. “We think that’s going to be a huge factor here in helping us to move up the ranks.”
A junior program for ages 4 to 18 is available four afternoons per week, and the resort is home to the Chris Evert Pro Am Celebrity tennis tournament in December.
“The next goal is to continue to become the most active tennis center in the country,” Silver said. “Grow the membership, grow the programs, grow our camp and try to get the No. 1 out of 10.”
Alice Baren, of Boca Raton, has played tennis at the resort about 16 years.
“They have wonderful tennis courts, the people are great and the instructors are very cooperative,” Baren said. “Of all the tennis clubs in the world I think that No. 7 is a lucky number. Seven is lucky and they deserve it.”
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