By Roger Cox, Editor
Cape Cod evokes images of pristine beaches, sailboats and architecturally rich, century-old towns. In places it's like that. In others, regulatory indifference has spawned ugly commercial strips of concrete, neon and fast food. Not so in New Seabury. Almost since development began in 1962, this country-club community has garnered praise for its planning and design. It occupies a secluded, 1,500-acre peninsula on Nantucket Sound between Hyannis and Falmouth. Though geared to residents and home owners, it does offer overnight accommodations to vacationers, and booking a villa near, say, its Nantucket-inspired Maushop Village puts you within a hundred yards of a private beach in a one- or two-bedroom cottage with fully equipped kitchen. You also get access to two challenging golf courses, tennis, an abundance of watersports, along with a few shops and restaurants—and a sense of Cape Cod at its best.
Pro Shop: 508-539-8322, ext 7519
With 16 courts—12 of them Har-Tru, the remaining 4 hard—this is one of the largest resort tennis complexes on Cape Cod. But a facility is nothing without solid staff and New Seabury hired Christophe Delavaut in the summer of 2011. A highly experienced pro, he has carpentered together a diverse weekly calendar consisting of cardio tennis, drill and play clinics, advanced clinics, and a boot camp for adults as well as drills, challenge matches, and team matches for juniors.
I first met Christophe Delavaut at Sugarbush,VT, in the late 1980s after he and Joe Santisi launched the Sugarbush Tennis School there. A ranked junior in Morocco, he went on to play futures events in Europe but quickly concluded he wasn't going to make a living at it. He came to the U.S., got certified at the Van Der Meer Tennis University in Sweetbrier, VA, and landed a scholarship at Franklin Pierce University (it was still a college then). After getting his degree he was recruited by All American Sports, then at Topnotch Resort, before Santisi hired him for the Sugarbush Tennis School, which I attended in 1989.
In the interim, Delavaut has made a name for himself, both as the director at the private Grand Harbor Golf and Beach Club in Vero Beach, FL, but also as the founder of a video-centric online instruction site.
"I've always been passionate about teaching," he told me over dinner at the Popponesset Inn. "And I'm so big on the visual." On the next day, he took a look at my forehand and backhand and like all great technicians kept his instruction simple, honing in on just one element at first, then refining it, once I'd had a chance to experiment with his suggestion, with a refinement. But what sets his instruction apart is his dedication to video. He always has an iPad mini on court, which he uses not only to video your strokes and show them to you immediately, but also to compare in split screen what you're doing with video of a pro—in my case Roger Federer—hitting the same shot.
Though I'm nowhere near the athlete that Federer is, Delavaut wanted me to imitate his strokes. He disagrees with pros who insist that club players can't do what the pros can. Instead, he argues that the pros find the easiest way of hitting a ball for maximum effect and so it makes sense for club players to mimic them. In my case, at least, everything he told me made perfect sense.
Tennis Programs. Private lessons aside, Delavaut and his two pros also run a variety of adult clinics, Cardio tennis session, and drills and clinics for juniors after 5 to 18 in appropriate age groups.
Courts & Fees. There are 16 courts in all, 12 clay, and 4 hard. Court fees: $10/day for resort guests. Tennis whites preferred and 50% tennis whites required.
For comparison's sake, also take a look at:
New Seabury Cape Cod
20 Red Brook Road
Mashpee, MA 02649
Seasons. The main tennis season runs from mid May to Labor Day.
Travel Instructions. By Air: New Seabury is roughly 75 miles from both Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) in Massachusetts and T.F. Green Airport (PVD) in Warwick, RI.
General Tourist Information. For information about vacationing in Massachusetts, visit the Visit Massachusetts website.