An Unexpected Tennis Destination in South Napa
PHOTOS COURTESY OF NAPA VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB
One of Napa Valley’s “hidden gems” is the golf course at Napa Valley Country Club (NVCC). But the golf course is not the only NVCC amenity worth raving about. Perched on a hill above the clubhouse, with views to Mt. George and the surrounding Valley, are five Tennis Courts surrounded by serenity and tranquility. “The courts sit on the ideal part of the property,” said Ari Kreisler, General Manager of NVCC. “It is one the most picturesque settings I have ever seen for tennis.”
Sitting at the helm of the NVCC tennis program is Christopher Kubicka, the clubs’ Director of Tennis. Kubicka has been with the club for 13 years and, throughout his tenure, has helped grow the tennis program to be well-renowned throughout the North Bay.
“You can’t just rely on nice tennis courts and hope people get together and play,” said Kreisler. “Chris is a master at creating programming, resulting in the courts sometimes being more active than the golf course.”
Weekly, NVCC offers organized Tennis activities, from beginner Bootcamp to 4.0+ Advanced Clinics. NVCC also hosts monthly mixers, weekly drop in doubles clinics, USTA Adult and Mixed Doubles, and a women’s SNMWTL Day League team.
The Junior programs are typically booked far in advance throughout the year. But when it comes to Summer Junior Camps, the courts become the most active place on the property. “I have seen Junior camps at many clubs,” said Kreisler. “But they are nothing like what Chris offers at NVCC. Chris not only gives the kids a solid workout, but they also get valuable tennis training and life lessons. The difference is apparent when we do junior exchanges with other programs in the area.”
During his tenure at NVCC, Kubicka has had the pleasure of instructing juniors from their early stages through tournament play. Two of his star students, Lucas Bollinger and Jamie Pope, recently received scholarships to play for UC Davis and St. Marys. “Chris’ talent at connecting with kids is off the charts. He gets so much satisfaction from watching them improve, and they adore him back.” So much so they often return to work for Chris, teaching juniors during their college Summer breaks.
Last year, the NVCC “slip-sheeted” all five of their hard-surface courts, essentially making the surface like new. “They look great, and it’s been a huge attraction for our newer members. That and the lighting that provides for play up until 10 pm,” said Heather Vigil, Sales and Marketing Director at NVCC. The club also provides complimentary use of their new Playmate Ball machine for practice.
Although tennis is a major draw, Pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing sports over the past few years. NVCC had the foresight into the Pickle boom and installed four permanent pickleball courts five years ago. One of the NVCC Tennis Professionals, Drew Collin, is a Certified Pickleball Instructor and offers lessons and clinics throughout the year. In addition to the instructional play, drop-in Pickleball play is organized for members looking to meet other Picklers on Thursday evenings. The club is also planning to form a Pickleball league in 2023 to meet the demand.
If interested in membership at Napa Valley Country Club, contact Heather Vigil at HVigil@napavalleycc.com.