Amelia Island Plantation Blog

Professional Tennis Returns with Amelia Island Futures Championships

An important part of history at Amelia Island Plantation has always been the history of the  Bausch and Lomb tennis tournament held each spring. Guests and local alike love to watch the action played out at Racquet Park and if you're one of those, you're in luck! The Omni Amelia Island Plantation recently released we will once again welcome tennis enthusiasts to Racquet Park as the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced we are hosting the fourth men's $10,000 Futures tennis tournament, the Amelia Island Futures Championships, at Omni Amelia Island Plantation June 14 - 23, 2013.

May 29, 2013 - Leave a comment


Mother’s Day at Omni Amelia Island Plantation

Last year when I wrote a mother's day blog it was about my sister buying my mom the best mother's day gift as a child.  When I went to reflect on mother's day this year I'm looking at it through the eyes of my friends who have recently had children.  Mother's day used to be about recognizing my mother for all she's done throughout my life but now it's also about the respect I have for all mothers. For the love they have for their children before they even see them the first time.  For the instinct at knowing exactly what cry means what. For the quick hands that grab an arm before they topple over. For the life long dedication they make to their children's lives. This year, whether you're saying thank you to your mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, step-mom, wife, or dear friends (Courtney, Melissa, Jill, Carrie and MeLissa), you can find plenty of ways to say the right thing at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

Five Tips for Tennis Doubles

With this beautifully warm and sunny weather we've been having on Amelia Island this week, many people are ready to get outside and get active!  For those looking to improve your tennis game, assistant director of tennis at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Sal Barbaro, has prepared five tips for tennis doubles!  Check out the tips below plus a video on improving your backhand slice!   Five Tips for Tennis  Doubles: 1) Hit down the middle I have heard thousands of pros say this and it is something worth listening to.  Hitting up the middle will reduce errors in the net, confuse your opponents, and stop them from hitting sharp angles.

January 17, 2013 - Leave a comment


Holiday Kids Tennis Camps
at Omni Amelia Island Plantation

Kids ages 4 to 12 years old can enjoy a special holiday kid's tennis camp with Cliff Drysdale Tennis at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation this holiday season!  With three session choices available in December and early January, kids will have the opportunity to work with professional tennis coaches to improve their skills in tennis, team sports and swimming. Our program is the perfect blend of learning and fun, complete with games and special events! And a great way to keep the kid's active and entertained while they are out of school for the holidays! A typical day at the kids tennis camp features orientation, tennis drills, snack breaks, indoor swimming at the Health & Fitness Center and sports games!  Camp will occur regardless of weather as the coaches can provide tennis instruction indoors during rain or cold weather.  Open to children of all ability levels, this Amelia Island tennis camp is a great way for kid's to spend their free time this holiday season! 

November 21, 2012 - Leave a comment

Community, Tennis

Amelia Island Kid’s Tennis Program
with St Michael Academy Students

Since the beginning of October, the teaching pros at Cliff Drysdale  Tennis situated on the beautiful Omni Amelia Island Plantation, have been coaching kid's tennis on Amelia Island to the children of the local St Michael Academy. Every Wednesday afternoon from 3.30 - 5.30, three to four Amelia Island tennis pros are out on the court coaching 15-20 children at a time between ages 3 to 8 years old. The first hour of kid's tennis clinics consisted of hitting lots of balls, learning different shots and playing lots of fun, energetic games. It has been a great opportunity for all the children to engage in a new activity and learn the basics of the game of tennis at such a young age.  With the beautiful weather, overhanging Spanish moss in the live oak trees and Har Tru clay courts, the atmosphere of the Amelia Island tennis complex was electrifying.   We setup 4 mini tennis nets along one full size court and allow all the parents to stand along the sides watching their children, and of course the children themselves running around with big smiles on their faces.  The second hour was a smaller group of slightly older children (10-13 years old), where they developed their tennis skills in a fun and competitive way. Hitting lots of tennis balls and playing a variety of games with, and against their friends, which always finished with a team cheer at the end. The highlight of the kid's tennis program was on Halloween when the children and instructors turned out dressed in their best costumes and spooky outfits. The tennis program with St Michael Academy was a big success, and Cliff Drysdale Tennis has created a great relationship with the local school.  We look forward to coaching the children of St Michael Academy again in the near future and welcome other schools and children's groups to contact us for details on upcoming tennis kid's programs at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation!

November 8, 2012 - Leave a comment


Florida Tennis Resort Welcomes
Sal Barbaro as Assistant Director of Tennis

Sal Barbaro is the latest addition to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation tennis program with Cliff Drysdale Tennis as the Assistant Director of Tennis.  Barbaro joined Cliff Drysdale Tennis from the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas, where he has resided the past 13 years both as a player and coach. As a junior, Barbaro trained at the renowned Tennis Ranch, which then led to his collegiate playing career at University of Texas, San Antonio. Following graduation, Sal returned to the Ranch as the Adult Tennis Director, and worked alongside legendary players and coaches such as John Newcombe, Cliff Drysdale, Roy Emerson and Rod Laver. During the summers in Texas, he also coached for the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch junior program, which has produced some of the top current players such as Li Na and Ryan Harrison. Barbaro is certified the highest possible rating, P1, by the USPTA and brings a wealth of experience to the new Cliff Drysdale Tennis program. Get to know Sal off the court with this interview, but then schedule some court time to really get to know his tennis game.

November 5, 2012 - Leave a comment


Amelia Island Women’s Tennis Championship

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation will welcome tennis enthusiasts once again to our world-renowned tennis complex, Racquet Park, for the Amelia Island Women’s Tennis Championship, presented by Emanon Records, on September 23 – 30, 2012. Rising women’s competitors will contend head to head on the tennis resort's 23 Har-Tru courts in the annual U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Pro-Circuit event.  Open to the public, the tennis tournament will feature a full calendar of events including a free Wilson Kid's Day, Pro-Am tournament, local pro tournament, and exciting tennis play in qualifying, main draw, semi-finals and final matches.  Qualifying and main draw events are complimentary while the semi-finals and finals events are a $10 donation benefitting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Tennis Matches • Qualifying rounds Sunday, Sept. 23 – Monday, Sept. 24 at 10am – Complimentary • Main draw matches Tuesday, Sept. 25 – Friday, Sept. 28 at 10am – Complimentary • Semi-finals and Finals Saturday, Sept. 29 – Sunday, Sept. 30 – $10 donation per ticket to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Special Events • Wilson Kids’ Day Sunday, Sept. 23 – 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Complimentary Wilson Kids Day supported by the USTA and your local tennis pros. Bring your child for a free clinic with the pro players from 3-4pm, afterwards they’ll enjoy a boxed dinner and watch the matches on stadium court. First 100 to register in advance will receive free t-shirt and gift. • Pro-Am Tournament & Dinner Monday, Sept. 24 – 4:00 – 7:30 p.m. – $75 per person Play with the pros, followed by a private meet & greet and dinner presented by Ciao Italian Bistro. Advanced registration required and spaces are very limited. • Live Music Friday, Sept. 28 – 4:00-6:00 p.m. – Complimentary Kick off your weekend with world-class tennis and music from local musicians Sean McCarthy, Hugh Williams and friends. Bring the whole family and relax under the live oaks. Refreshments available. • Local Pro Tournament Saturday, Sept. 29 – 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – $10 donation Support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and cheer on your local pros as they compete against each other for glory and bragging rights! Main draw semi-finals will be played at the conclusion of the pro tournament. For more information and tickets, please email Scott Colebourne or call (904) 277-5145.

September 7, 2012 - Leave a comment


Tennis summer or fall programs for kids & adults

With 10 weekly sessions available through August 17, kids ages 4-12 years old, have had the opportunity to work with professional coaches to improve their tennis skills, team sports and swimming this summer during the Cliff Drysdale Tennis Summer Kids Camp held at Omni Amelia Island Plantation.  Hosted by director of tennis Scott Colebourne, the Summer Kids Camp program is the perfect blend of learning and fun, complete with games and special events!  Kids have been perfecting the tennis back swing, testing their fitness levels and cooling off with a swim during the great tennis summer kids camp! Watch the video below to see our director of tennis and future tennis all stars in action!  Sign-ups are still available for the Cliff Drysdale Tennis Summer Kids Camp through August 17th as well as pre-registration for the Kid's After School Tennis Program, Adult Tennis 101, and our other clinics and activities.  Call the Omni Amelia Island Plantation tennis pro shop at 904-277-5151. Fall Programs Omni Amelia Island Plantation tennis and Cliff Drysdale Tennis is also offering several upcoming tennis clinics and programs for kids, juniors and adults this fall!  Two 5 week Kid's After School Tennis Programs offer lessons and skill development by age group and tennis ability.  Tennis 101, an adult beginner clinic, will introduce new or inexperienced players to tennis and includes a free Wilson racket.  The tennis resort is also offering ladies tennis retreats, cardio tennis group classes set to music, round robins, and team packages tailored for your group instruction.  After School Tennis Program With two 5 week sessions available, kids will have the opportunity to work with professional coaches to improve their skills.  Our junior tennis programs are founded on the belief that being fit for life starts with positive experiences in a welcoming environment. Classes are designed to instill a passion for tennis, athletic activity and develop skills that will serve them well for a lifetime of activity. With our focus on safety, fun and skill development, children will work harder, have more fun and learn faster than ever before. The After School Tennis Program is divided by ages and within each age group we also separate into ability groups. This allows children to learn with age and size appropriate equipment and develop their technique to ensure long-term success. ABC’s - (Athletic Balance and Coordination) An introduction to athletic activity and exercise that builds self-esteem, this program focuses on hand-eye coordination, cooperative play, body awareness, basic athletic movement, and most importantly FUN! Red Ball The class teaches tennis fundamentals and presents the proper grips, strokes and footwork patterns that are necessary to ensure future development. Each class has a weekly theme reinforced through drills, games and competitions that will promote fun and learning. Orange Ball This class introduces and improves upon proper grips, stroke production and footwork patterns through repetition and fun tennis drills. The emphasis is on fun, live ball tennis, and point play. Green Ball This class develops existing abilities and provides necessary skills for new players to succeed. A game based approach ensures that each player develops an all court game so they can enjoy the sport for a lifetime. Session 1 September 10 - 14 September 17 - 21 September 24 - 28 October 1 - 5 October 8 - 12 Session 2 October 15 - 19 October 22 - 26 October 29 - November 2 November 5 - 9 November 12 - 16 Adult Tennis 101 This adult beginner clinic introduces new or inexperienced players to the game in a format that encourages activity, fun and learning. Also includes a free Wilson racket to help you get started. Adults can learn technique, skills and tennis theory at the tennis resort's Racquet Park.  Pre-registration is required. Sessions September 10 - October 12 October 15 - November 16 Monday - Thursday, 4 - 5pm $119/session including Wilson racket To register or for more information on Cliff Drysdale Tennis Summer Kids Camp,  Kid's After School Tennis Program, Adult Tennis 101, and our other clinics and activities, call the Omni Amelia Island Plantation tennis pro shop at 904-277-5151 or email

August 1, 2012 - Leave a comment


Northern Florida Regional Tennis Championship Host

Anytime over 350 tennis players converge on one tennis facility it makes for a special event and this was certainly  the case this past weekend at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Racquet Park. As a director of tennis you always want your facility to be busy and when the United States Tennis Association (USTA) asked us to bid on hosting the Northern Florida Regional Championship, we jumped on the idea. This event bought together teams from Duval, Lean, Escambia, Okaloosa, and Walton counties in Northern Florida that had won their local league, and now they were competing to be northern regional champions earning the right to play in Daytona for a state title. One of the unique aspects of tennis is that the USTA has developed a player rating system, the National Tennis Rating Program, that allows  players of all skill levels to compete as a team in a fun, and fair league situation and have the opportunity to win a state or national title.  There's almost no other sport for adults that have this option. Case in point, some of these teams comprised of players that had been playing less than a year while other matches saw young men  fresh out of college battling with wily veterans with many years experience. Over the three days of play there was over 350 matches played and many hard fought victories and close losses, the highlight for me was seeing the intensity on these players faces in the middle of their matches. During the week they were mothers, fathers, executives, teachers, cleaners, but come this weekend they were all fighting for their piece of the action, their own little Wimbledon and it showed in their determination and pride on the court, regardless of the ability level. For Cliff Drysdale Tennis and the Omni Amelia Island Plantation this was a great event to host and have so many tennis players converge on Amelia Island.  It has been a few years since this has happened and we aim to host more of these events in the future. For information on playing in a local USTA team or league please contact myself (904) 277 5151, or visit

July 24, 2012 - Leave a comment


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