For many recreational athletes, moving to a new community brings the inevitable question: "How can I continue playing my favorite sport in an area where I don't know anyone?"
Tennis players don't have that problem in Venice. Hecksher Park at the corner of West Venice Avenue and Harbor Drive features six tennis courts, all free to the public. What's more, the courts offer pickup games every morning.
Players begin arriving at 6:30 a.m., some walking, others riding bikes with tennis gear strapped to their backs. Plenty of free parking is available in the adjacent lot.
Everyone is welcome, from lifelong residents to tourists visiting for a few days. Players sign in and matches are set. Longtime participants say the pickup games are as much about making friends as they are feeding competitive juices.
Tennis players also flock to the Courtside Tennis Club at 512 Auburn Road, a full-service club that’s been operating since 1977 and features 11 courts (nine of them knee-saving Har-Tru surfaces), league play and practice facilities and instruction. The Jacaranda West Country Club, 1901 Jacaranda Blvd., features eight Har-Tru courts, league, instruction and other club amenities.
Both Courtside and Jacaranda West are priced well below what members would pay for similar facilities up North. So the ball’s in your court.