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These are the best clubs in the area for starting off youngsters right through to nurturing teen talent. Clear the mantlepiece… the trophies will soon be pouring in.
Good for nurturing talent: Halton, mid Bucks
Halton is both a friendly local club and a performance centre, and combines a quaint clubhouse and welcoming feel with top notch facilities. There are a stonking 16 courts in total – 3 indoor acrylic, 3 indoor clay, 6 artificial grass and 4 artificial clay, all floodlit.
It’s close to Aylesbury, Chesham, Tring and High Wycombe and offers a range of adult and kid courses as well as coaching for disabled tennis players. Plus there’s a gym and physio on site.
Good for talent spotting: Bisham Abbey, mid Bucks
Bisham, near Marlow, is one of Sport England’s National Sports Centres, which means your youngster will be brushing shoulders not just with the next Emma Raducanu, but the hopeful Johnny Wilkinsons, Marcus Rashfords and Maddie Hinch’s (that’s rugby, football and hockey for the unsporty amongst you). In fact there are 20 sports organisations based there with all the associated gyms, physios, nutritionists and kit you’d expect.
The tennis courts include four American clay courts, four floodlit acrylic courts and four indoor hard courts. The junior academy is invitational but there are kids holiday courses available for anyone to book alongside private adult and kid coaching.
Good for getting competition miles on the clock: North Oxford
NOLTC is the largest club in Oxon, with over 400 members. It boasts 9 hard courts with floodlights and 10 well maintained grass courts from May to September (not a mole hill or dandelion to be had!).
The club has 17 teams playing in the Oxfordshire summer leagues so there’s plenty of opportunity to compete in tournaments as well as winter and summer leagues.
Good for choice of courts: Gerrards Cross, South Bucks
For sheer numbers, it’s hard to beat Gerrards Cross. There are a whopping 18 courts to choose from – 7 grass, 5 artificial clay, 3 artificial grass and 2 hard courts and a mini-court. There are junior development coaching programmes and performance invitationals.
The centre hosts loads of tournaments, social tennis and just plain socials, so every level is catered for whether you’re just starting out, aiming for Wimbledon, or in it to rally and natter.
Best for littlies: Bucks Indoor
Winter isn’t the greatest time to get little ones started with a combo of slippery courts, wind and cold fingers. So why not ease them in with some indoor play (bonus – you can sit in the cafe or watch from the viewing platform IN COMFORT!). Bucks Indoor Tennis has four courts and offers coaching from the age of three!
There are various courses by age/skill that work around school and holidays, and they offer tennis holiday camps, and even parties. There’s also High Wycombe Tennis Club nearby with six outdoor courts, for when they’re ready to play outside.
Good for getting the whole family started: Thame
Thame Tennis Club has 4 synthetic clay courts and 2 new Tiger Turf courts, the latter of which can be booked by non-members. It won Oxfordshire Club of the Year 2020 following an epic investment that saw it add the two new courts, a rebuilt Clubhouse, and improve inclusion through its coaching programme and pay and play policy.
There are a range of courses and sessions for all ages, some of which are free. Plus there’s junior performance and invitational squads with narrow age ranges, so your 16 year-old won’t find themselves serving to a 12-year-old. Coaching start from 3 years old.
Best for keeping the rest of the family happy: David Lloyd Oxford
The snazzy health club on the edge of Oxford has invested in its tennis and boasts 3 indoor and 3 outdoor tennis courts. It also has free 4-week beginner and refresher courses so you can try a taster without committing. Competition wise there’s box leagues, ladders, tournaments, LTA events and team tennis.
The centre also has a spa, pool, gym, creche, fitness classes, cafe and kids club (praise be!) so the non-tennis playing members of the family are more than catered for.
Good for players on the Berks border: Braywick
This Berks club is brand spanking new, having opened last summer. Its gym, pool, cafe, nursery (!) and meeting rooms are all available to members and non-members and there are six tennis courts on site.
The Paul Delgado tennis academy is geared to both adults and children with beginner through to performance training and holiday camps. Starting age is four, up to 11+, after which promising players move onto performance training.