The 10 Best Private Lessons

Publication: Worth Magazine

H. L . Mencken famously wrote, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” We’re guessing Mencken just never had the right private lesson. The following experiences give participants unparalleled access to the skills (and tracks, vineyards, courts and closets) of the top professionals in their fields.

1. Wilander on Wheels ┃Tennis

Work on your ground strokes with one of the best tennis players ever.

Wilander on Wheels began two years ago, after seven-time Grand Slam champion and U.S. Open winner Mats Wilander agreed to give a tennis lesson to friends in Vegas and decided that, rather than fly from his home in Idaho, he’d drive down in his Winnebago. Now Wilander and Naval Academy Hall of Famer Cameron Lickle travel to clubs and private courts all over the country, granting tennis lovers the chance to return one of Wilander’s legendary backhands. A typical session lasts an hour and a half and consists of up to eight people, though the client determines duration, location and lesson size. The high-intensity drills focus on running—though Wilander knows that not many weekend warriors can match his physical condition—and emphasize simple, specific ways to improve your game. Lunch or dinner with Wilander and Lickle follows the lesson. “We’re in the business of making people happy,” says Wilander, and it’s hard to imagine a tennis buff who wouldn’t be happy after a lesson from this pro.

  • Price: starts at $250 per person for a group of eight
  • Location: anywhere the Winnebago can reach
  • Duration: minimum 1.5 hours
  • Contact: wilanderonwheels@gmail.com, 787.438.4263, wilanderonwheels.com

2. Karen MacNeil ┃Wine

Learn about wine from the expert who wrote the book on it.

Karen MacNeil conducts educational wine tours designed for those “who don’t want to stand in tasting rooms and drink common wine.” Rather, The Wine Bible author accompanies oenophiles to some of the world’s best (and often private) estates for tastings with the winemakers. In transit between vineyards, MacNeil, perhaps the country’s foremost wine educator, teaches clients about the business of winemaking—from viticulture to production to pricing, along with the history and culture of wine in the visited region. “Wine is not obvious,” MacNeil says, but after a day with her, “you’ll know why a bottle costs $250 instead of $25.”

  • Price:starts at $2,500/day for one to six people
  • Location: MacNeil lives in Napa Valley but will conduct tours in any of the world’s top wine regions
  • Duration: normally one to two days, but can be extended
  • Contact: karen@karenmacneil.com, 707.963.1146, karenmacneil.com

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