Did you know the United States Tennis Association requires that all outdoor tennis courts line up parallel with the north-south axis? The design mitigates (somewhat) the impact of the rising and setting sun. At Shaw Park the influence of Earth's nearest star is further diminished by the office towers lining Brentwood Boulevard. The skyline shrouds the courts in shade in the early-morning hours and provides the tennis center with an urban backdrop unlike any other tennis center in St. Louis. Squint and you just might think you're playing in New York's Central Park. Even better than the scenery, though, is the upkeep Clayton provides. Gone are the broken nets and Grand Canyon-size surface cracks that are the hallmark of many municipal tennis centers. In their place Clayton offers nine great hard-surface courts equipped with lights, shaded benches and nearby restrooms and drinking fountains (that actually function!). The courts are open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. year-round, with a $4 fee ($3 for Clayton residents) charged May though September. Play from October through April is free.
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