Tennis Camp Review: John Newcombe Tennis Ranch

If you are looking for a way to combine tennis and a great vacation, then an adult tennis camp might be just the ticket.

Hard courts, with condos in the background
Hard courts, with condos in the background, at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch

Back in October 2015, my husband and I signed up for the week-long Adult Tennis Camp at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch, in New Braunfels, Texas. We had a blast, and we’ve decided to go again this October. It’s an ideal time to be in Texas – mid to high 20s during the day, with clear, sunny skies.

Now that I have this blog, I’d like to share what it was like, in case you’ve ever thought about trying one yourself.

What was the tennis like?

Fun. Stimulating. Tiring.

Our tennis camp had 6 hours of instruction from Monday to Thursday, along with an introductory session on Sunday evening and a full morning on Friday. Although they had a set schedule across the week to practice different types of shots (forehands, volleys, serves, etc.), they adapted instruction on the fly. For example, our group wasn’t interested in doubles tactics, so they mixed in some singles tactics instead. Partway through the week, they videotaped us, then provided a private, one-on-one analysis of our shots, with tips on how to improve.

Clay courts at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch
Clay courts at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch

I quickly learned that playing a lot of tennis does help you improve quickly. But it can be tiring: lunchtime naps are recommended! Thankfully, the pros read the situation well, adapting the pace and techniques and so we weren’t overwhelmed or too exhausted to have fun. Every afternoon they brought out music, livening the atmosphere. It’s part of their laid-back “Aussie-style” attitude – welcoming and friendly, eager to make sure that you have a good experience.

We were guaranteed a ratio of 1 pro for every 4 students, but our particular camp exceeded that by far. Most times we had a pro for every 2 students, and for a while, we each had a pro! The pros were friendly and highly experienced at teaching. When I was struggling with the serving lesson, my pro kept adapting his methods until I was able to practice correctly.

A mixture of pros rotated teaching duties through the week, which proved to be a real positive. I connected with the styles of some pros better than others, but I appreciated the perspective each one brought.

How are the facilities?

Cottage at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch
Cottage at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch

The ranch is spread out over a large territory, with many hard and clay courts. I don’t know if this is typical, but we spent half the time on hard and half on clay. The courts are surrounded with different types of condos and cottages, all of which are spacious and comfortable, with strong WiFi. A pool and hot tub are located near the main lodge.

The camp included breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all served buffet style. The food was excellent, with lots of healthy options, and there was a bar on the property for after-tennis refreshments. 🙂

Main lodge at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch
Main lodge at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch

Where is the ranch?

The closest airport is in San Antonio, so if you’re flying in, you can rent a car or take a taxi (about $80 one way). Austin is marginally further, a little under an hour’s drive.

Since we took a taxi, we couldn’t easily leave the ranch, but frankly, we were too tired to do much exploring anyway. On our last night at the ranch, the pros took us out to the neighbouring town for a Texas-style dinner, where my husband had a chicken-fried steak the size of his head. (I kid you not.)

We’re looking forward to going again. Hopefully somebody can help me fix my errant forehand….

7 thoughts on “Tennis Camp Review: John Newcombe Tennis Ranch”

  1. Funny! I had heard of this place via a camp I did in Spain with Costa del Tennis. They said John Newcombe is a great spot in the US. What’s the overall level of play like? Intermediate?
    Glad to hear the food was good!

    1. When we were there, I’d say the level was intermediate, good for club level players. I would guess that our group ranged from 3.0 – 4.0, but on the last day some much stronger players arrived (5.0 or more) yet the pros made sure that everyone was challenged.

  2. Very well-written and piqued my interest. I plan to book a vacation there in the coming years

    Newcombe’s handlebar mustache is legendary and something I strive to imitate as well

  3. David has told me you were going to Texas again this year to play tennis however, have you checked to see if Harvey didn’t do any damaged over there.

  4. Good post. If I played tennis, i would like to try the place. Well explained. The camp should pay you a commission. You make it sound great.

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