Going with the national trend, Tara Golf & Country Club is adding five pickleball courts and three tennis courts with the hope of having them available in about a year.
Tony Greising, the general manager for Tara Golf & Country Club, said his staff members are working on plans that would see the courts added to a 1.2-acre site at the northeast corner of Tara Boulevard and Stone River Road, adjacent to the Tara Golf & Country Club course.
A rezone request for that lot currently is going through Manatee County permitting.
The area is currently zoned for future residential development, and the proposed rezone would create a new recreational designation.
Greising said the ideal location for the courts would be directly beside the clubhouse, but the community does not have space to accommodate them.
The plans also include a small restroom facility building due to the courts’ distance from the clubhouse, as well as a parking lot. Greising said one purpose of the lot is to accommodate golf cart drivers.
Greising said the surface for pickleball will be asphalt while the tennis court surface will be a softer "Har-Tru" surface.
He said demand prompted the construction of the five pickleball courts, but it might not be enough.
"The consultants will tell you if you build two pickleball courts, you'll probably need four, or six, or eight. In other words, you can't build enough," he said.
Greising said the softer tennis surface will produce less stress on the knees of older players.
According to the Har-Tru’s website, the tennis courts have additional advantages over hard-surface courts. The courts are resistant to heat, at an average of 20% cooler than hard courts; can absorb water quickly; and can reduce ball speeds.
The courts are for club members and their guests.
Chelsea, an automated phone and internet-based reservation system, will handle reservations for the courts. The same system has been used on the golf course for more than 30 years as well as for the community’s bocce courts.
He said demand earlier had led to the club's bocce court, which was added to the neighborhood two years ago.
Greising said the courts are the only sports-related expansion planned for Tara at present, though renovations to the golf course will be occurring in 2023, from May 1 to some time in October. He said the community will be resurfacing fairways, greens and tee boxes.