With more than 350 courts on the 12-mile-long island, tennis is never more than a volley away. And it doesn’t matter what season you visit. You can always find a clinic, drill session, round robin or amateur tournament taking place somewhere on the island.
You’ll have your choice of playing surfaces, too. The six major tennis centers in Hilton Head feature all three Grand Slam surfaces, even grass — the game’s original surface.
Hilton Head first gained national recognition for its tennis amenities in 1971 when Stan Smith, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, joined The Sea Pines Resort as its touring pro. The U.S. Open and Wimbledon champ continues to offer instructional programs several times a year at The Sea Pines Racquet Club. In 2002, he opened the Smith Sterns Tennis Academy in the resort with renowned tennis coach and partner Billy Stearns.
Hilton Head also boasts another tennis icon. Legendary coach Dennis Van der Meer launched his world-renowned tennis center on the island in the 1970s, training players of all ages and abilities, as well as instructors. Over the years, Van der Meer Tennis expanded its two facilities to include the only covered and indoor courts in the area.
Today, virtually every oceanfront resort on Hilton Head Island features a top-tiered tennis program with stay-and-play packages, offering guests the opportunity to have fun on and off the courts. Whatever your pleasure, the choice is yours — golf, fishing, biking, kayaking, dining, shopping or just relaxing on the beach.
The island’s subtropical climate also makes it a favorite tournament venue for both serious and casual players. The Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center, ranked No. 2 in the world for instruction and events, hosts eight tournaments each year. Among the well-attended events are the Banana Open and Banana Open Challenge, featuring the winners of competitions held in cities throughout the Southeast.