The Courts is anything but an average tennis facility. Nestled between Palm Springs and San Diego, just 70 miles southwest from Indian Wells, is perhaps one of the most scenic places to play tennis.
Art covers the walls of the clubhouse, the courts are perfectly tended and every attention to detail makes for an experience that goes past the baseline.
The four courts are in the middle of the desert, surrounded by mountain ranges and palm trees. (Photo by Leah Goren)
“Tennis has a reputation of being very country club, stuffy and regulated," said Leah Goren, illustrator and co-owner of The Courts. "We wanted to be younger, fresher and less intimidating."
Goren and her boyfriend Adil Dara stumbled across this facility almost two years ago. They were on their way back to Carlsbad from Palm Desert when they got lost in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
"It sounds cliché, but we made a wrong turn," Goren said. "We were trying to drive a different way and ended up re-routing and going through the desert."
Tennis racquets are sprinkled throughout the tiled floor; it's the details that make this place special.
The couple drove into a small town, where they visited a local art center and came across what is now The Courts. Dara was a bit skeptical at stopping to see tennis courts, having the mentality of “seen one seen them all.”
But there was something special about the place. The previous owners somewhat joked about selling the place to a nice couple, but what started as a joke has ended in reality. Goren and Dara have now owned the property for a little over one year.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your morning cup of coffee, served in a cup decorated like street-cart coffee in New York.
At the time, the couple worked from home in New York. Goren was working as a freelance illustrator for top companies, such as, Kate Spade, Nike and Anthropologie, and Dara was a freelance graphic designer.
"This was our opportunity to take everything we do and put it in a real place, and a chance to have people come see what we do rather than working in isolation at home," Goren said.
Whether guests choose to stay for a couple of hours or days, it's the perfect place to relax and take in the scenery.
That may be the reason behind what makes The Courts much more than your average tennis facility. The two creatives, have turned the four-court club into an art exhibit; one where nature, art and tennis come together.
Although the facility has been significantly updated, history is still embedded at the club. Tiles from the previous owner are still sprinkled throughout and trailers are available for out-of-town guests, a tradition that started in the 1970s.
Day passes to use the facilities are just $20. (Photo by Leah Goren)
To top it all off, the facility is located within a "dark-sky community," which means no street or stop lights in the entire city. The stars and moon light up the night, and it's the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway. Hiking, swimming, local shopping, bonfires and much more than tennis can be expected in Anza-Borrego.
The Courts also has a swimming pool, jacuzzi and basketball court on site. (Photo by Leah Goren)
“We want to do everything," Goren said. "We want to do events. We want to have more lodging. We want to keep on the same path we have been, but see how much we can grow it."
Goren and Dara are currently planning a pre-Indian Wells event, where they hope to bring the best of tennis to the middle of the desert, which could include an appearance from a top WTA or ATP player.
Who knew a wrong turn could be so right?