By Cory Sekine-Pettite
If you’re anything like us here at Net News, then you definitely are itching to get back outside and to do normal things such as eating at restaurants and playing in your ALTA leagues. Certainly, part of getting back to normal is taking a summer vacation. There is definite cause for all of us to take a little break from our daily routines of late. Let’s face it, we all need some serious stress relief.
So if you’re able, consider planning a weekend tennis getaway to one of the nearby resorts presented on the following pages. These destinations all are open for business; they could use our support; they’ve implemented new safety protocols as recommended by state and federal authorities; and their staffs are standing by, ready to serve. Are you ready to serve? We absolutely are!
Jekyll Island, Georgia
The Jekyll Island Authority is actively monitoring developments and information surrounding COVID-19’s potential impact on travel to and around Jekyll Island. Officials are continuously monitoring and participating in communications provided by Georgia state health and government officials to ensure any necessary precautions are taken. With an eye toward health and safety, beaches and other public facilities have begun opening, and hotels and resorts are now taking reservations. If you never visited Jekyll, now is a great time.
Nestled under live oaks draped with moss and surrounded by manicured hedges and wild palmettos, the Jekyll Island Tennis Center is a public tennis facility featuring 13 Har-Tru clay courts. The Tennis Center also includes a pro shop with tennis racket stringing, racket rental, ball machine rental, and tennis equipment and apparel. The Tennis Center offers private instructional lessons and hosts many USTA tournaments for adults and juniors.
Beyond visiting the award-winning tennis center, visitors can experience 10 miles of sun-drenched beaches, four award-winning golf courses, and Georgia’s only rehabilitation center for endangered sea turtles. Take a tour through the maritime forest. Watch the dolphins play while on a guided kayak excursion. Take a bike ride through the Historic District. From the early settlers to travelers from around the world, Jekyll Island has fascinated everyone who’s ever crossed its barrier shores.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to ensure the safety of all guests, staff, and vendors. The resort has implemented numerous COVID-19 safety protocols, including enhanced cleaning procedures, occupancy limits, spacing configurations to promote social distancing, employee screening for symptoms, employee training and optional face mask requirements for workers, plexiglass shield in front of counter, and more. Palmetto Dunes representatives say they look forward to exceeding your expectations and delivering an unsurpassed vacation experience in a warm, welcoming, and safe environment.
Just a 4.5-hour drive from Atlanta, Palmetto Dunes is an ideal destination for tennis players at all levels. Guests can enjoy tennis court time, lessons, clinics, and more daily at the award-winning Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center. The resort offers 19 Har-Tru tennis courts, four of which are lighted for night play, and a beautifully well-stocked, 1,800-square-foot tennis pro shop — Hilton Head Island’s largest.
Palmetto Dunes also offers 24 pickleball courts, all of which are lighted for night play. In addition, visitors and guests may play one of the 2,000-acre resort’s three award-winning, championship golf courses, bike along the beach, kayak the 11-mile inland lagoon system or explore Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina for a variety of dining, shops, entertainment, fishing charters, nature tours, water sports and more.
If you’re looking for a getaway special, the Tennis Stay and Play package includes four days and three nights in a two-bedroom resort-view villa. After breakfast at the Palmetto Dunes General Store, enjoy two free hours of court time per day, per vacation rental unit, and a one-hour clinic, covering either the stroke of the day or a daily drill. Additionally, the “Extreme Tennis Vacation” package includes an 8-day/7-night stay in a two-bedroom resort-view villa for four guests with three 1-hour, semi-private tennis lessons per player, two clinics per player, and daily court time.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Miramar Beach, Florida
Sandestin beach is open and ready for visitors! Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort has stringent new health and safety standards focused on all touch points for guests and employees. From new check-in procedures that limit contact to increased disinfecting of all public areas, find out more about the resorts enhanced cleanliness initiatives in every area from the resort’s website.
Located on Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast, you can improve your tennis game and enjoy the many amenities that Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s 2,400 acres has to offer, including more than 7 miles of sugary white sand beaches. Sandestin was named one of the top 25 US Tennis Resorts by Tennis Resorts Online and #1 Rated Tennis Pro Shop. Guests can experience 12 world-class HydroGrid clay and three hard tennis courts. Additionally, Sandestin provides a wide range of experiences, including private lessons with USPTA and USPTR pros, a highly-ranked junior tennis program, and round robin tournaments for all skill levels.
When staying at Sandestin you will have access to bicycles, boogie boards, kayaks, the fitness center, and the resort’s tram service. Then there are all the spectacular activities that have made Sandestin so popular, including four championship golf courses; a luxurious spa; dining options for every occasion; the Village of Baytowne Wharf where you will find shopping, ziplining, an arcade, and weekly events such as outdoor concerts and firework shows; and 7 miles of white sand beaches.
Sea Island, Georgia
Sea Island says the well-being of guests, members, and employees is important to everyone at the resort. While they recognize that no reasonable measures can eliminate the transmission of a virus, Sea Island is proactively taking steps to help protect guests, members, and employees. They have enhanced their already stringent cleaning guidelines. To review those guidelines, visit seaisland.com/health-hygiene.
With its expansive campus, five miles of private beach, and an array of accommodations options that include private cottages as well as hotel rooms and suites, Sea Island offers guests the opportunity to vacation while maintaining standards for safety and security. Its extensive array of off-the-court activities, the availability of private lessons, custom clinics, and 16 Har-Tru courts combine to make Sea Island the perfect spot for a getaway and a place to improve your game.
An exceptional resort appealing to those who appreciate gracious service and heartfelt hospitality, Sea Island is home to four Forbes Five-Star experiences — The Cloister at Sea Island, The Lodge at Sea Island, The Spa at Sea Island, and the Georgian Room restaurant — and an extensive array of engaging nature adventures and recreational experiences, including five miles of private beach and accommodations that vary from hotel to private cottages. Sea Island is a true paradise for active adults and families. The resort plays host to a 65,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, seven pools (one indoor), three championship golf courses, horseback riding on the beach, squash, six-lane bowling alley and pub, salt marsh nature tours, fishing, boating, water sports, shooting school, casual to Five-Star dining and, of course, tennis.
Tennis clinics and private lessons are available daily for youth and adult players of all skill levels. Check with your resort’s tennis center for more details.
The Racquet Club at Big Canoe
Big Canoe, Georgia
Just one hour north of Atlanta, The Racquet Club at Big Canoe is set against a backdrop of the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Club management says they have implemented enhanced health and safety measures to keep members and guests safe while adhering to federal government protocol. Rest assured that they are concerned for everyone’s well-being.
With 10 tennis courts (eight outdoor and two indoor) and four Pickleball courts, Big Canoe is the perfect location for your tennis getaway. Take part in one of the many clinic offerings or let the professional staff, led by Matt Motil, USPTA, set up a custom schedule for your group or team.
From the first-time player to the tennis enthusiast, Big Canoe has a program to fit all skill levels. Weekly round robins for both men and women are offered, as well as clinics, and both private and group lessons. Special tennis events are held throughout the year, including holiday socials, Flex Leagues, tournaments, and charity events.
Off-court activities include boating and fishing on Lake Sconti, 20 miles of hiking trails, the swim club, and a 27-hole golf club. With such amenities, it is no wonder Big Canoe was honored in 2012 by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association as having the Best Amenities Package for a large community, and it received the 2017 Bliss Award for Tennis Community of the year.
The Sea Pines Resort
Hilton Head, South Carolina
To ensure the health of guests and staff, and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, The Sea Pines Resort has developed a detailed and multifaceted reopening plan with all the protective measures recommended by the CDC and other health authorities. “The detail of our plan speaks for itself,” says Mirna Tomic, Hotel General Manager. “The thorough steps we’ve taken and rigorous sanitization measures that are in place have been created with our guests’ safety and well-being in mind. Additionally, Hilton Head offers ample green space, beaches, and outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy a multitude of activities that allow for safe social distancing.”
As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease, The Sea Pines Resort is incrementally reopening its amenities and facilities to provide guests with an outstanding vacation experience while protecting their health. To learn more about what to expect during a visit, please review the current schedule of resort services here: seapines.com/covid-19-updates.
Spanning the southern third of Hilton Head Island, and located along 5,000 oceanfront acres, The Sea Pines Resort has been a quiet retreat for more than 60 years. In this era of social distancing, this oceanfront paradise encourages secluded exploration, as visitors refresh their spirit in a relaxed, luxury resort environment.
For tennis fanatics, Sea Pines includes 20 clay courts, four of which are lit; a full-service pro shop; as well as clinics and lessons. Several tennis weekend tennis packages are available, including the Stan Smith Super Series. Join American tennis legend Stan Smith and his staff for a fun-filled weekend of tennis instruction. The nine-hour class will feature video analysis of your serve and stroke, strategy instruction, footwork, and many practice drills. With a maximum student-to-pro ratio of 4:1, you are guaranteed to garner plenty of personal tips.
In addition to tennis, the resort offers an array of outdoor activities, including five miles of sandy beach shoreline and a 15-mile network of manicured paths. All are within a short distance of a variety of accommodations and Hilton Head Island’s premier hotel, The Inn & Club at Harbour Town.
TOPS’L Beach and Racquet Resort
Since TOPS’L Beach and Racquet Resort (Vacasa homes) opened in 2009, it has been serviced and cleaned in line with a set of consistent, high standards. The resort’s professional team is committed to providing clean and safe homes for guests and owners each and every stay.
Now, on top of these standard cleaning guidelines, TOPS’L has launched an enhanced protocol for vacation rental cleanliness: Vacasa Premium Clean. This new cleaning program meets or exceeds CDC recommendations and aligns with guidance from hospitality industry experts, such as the Vacation Rental Management Association’s SafeHome guidelines. As markets across the U.S. reopen and we start welcoming guests more widely, TOPS’L’s goal is to provide even more support and protection to everyone in the Vacasa community.
Bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and a serene nature preserve just west of the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, a stay at TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort offers opportunities for relaxing at the beach, playing tennis or racquetball, or hiking, kayaking, and paddle boarding. A free resort shuttle ensures you can get to it all with ease. The gulf-front pool deck at The Blue Dunes Grille hosts family-friendly activities daily during the summer months. Moms, dads, and kids all enjoy dive-in movies, and arts and crafts activities like building personalized stuffed animals, making shark tooth and pearl necklaces, and tie-dying t-shirts.
For tennis fans, TOPS’L amenities include USPTA Certified Elite Tennis Professionals; private and group lessons; weekly events, including round robins for social play; 12 rubico clay courts/10 are lighted for night play; ball machine rental, and more.
TOPS’L offers one-hour weekly clinics every day, and tournaments throughout the year. Its most well-attended tournament is the Helen Drake Invitational tennis tournament sanctioned by the USTA every year in April. This past year, TOPS’L also hosted two collegiate team tennis events, the first being in the TOPS’L Battle at the Beach, featuring the men’s teams of LSU, Tulane, Oklahoma, and FSU! The second event was the TOPS’L Bayou to the Beach, hosting both the men’s and women’s teams from the University of New Orleans, Nicholls State, Louisiana Tech, and Xavier! Both events were great for our members and guests of TOPS’L, watching some of the highest level tennis our area has ever seen in the Panhandle.