Most of the more than 1,300 courts around the county are in private clubs, but a few are public.
Balboa Tennis Club at Morley Field. Practice your backhand at this historic tennis club with 25 hard courts, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a daily $6-per-person fee. Heaviest use is 9 am and 11 am and after 5 pm; at other times you can usually arrive and begin playing. Pros offer clinics and classes. 2221 Morley Field Dr., Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, 92104. 619/295–9278. www.balboatennis.com.
Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. This tennis complex has 17 hard and clay courts, 7 of them lighted, plus professional instruction, clinics, and workouts. 2100 Costa Del Mar Rd., Carlsbad, CA, 92009. 760/931–7501. www.lacosta.com.
La Jolla Tennis Club. This historic club has 9 public courts near downtown; 5 are lighted; the daily fee is $10. The club is first-come first-serve for non-members. Members are able to call one to three days ahead to reserve a court. 7632 Draper Ave., La Jolla, San Diego, CA, 92037. 858/454–4434. www.ljtc.org.
Several San Diego resorts have top-notch tennis programs staffed by big-name professional instructors.
Rancho Valencia Resort. One of the top resorts in the country has unveiled brand-new tennis facilities, which feature 18 revamped hard-court tennis courts backed by bouganvillia and citrus groves, a new pro shop, and spacious restrooms and lockers with added showers for guests and members. Rancho Valencia's tennis director is two-time U.S. Open Doubles Champion Robin White, and many of the other instructors have played at the professional level. Sign up for private lessons or tennis clinics, or try cardio tennis, where drills are set to music. Tennis shoes and tennis attire (no T-shirts) are required. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, 92067. 858/756–1123. www.ranchovalencia.com.