Pickleball isn’t only a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is a social affair bringing people together on the court and on occasion, reuniting old friends and lost connections.
Just last Spring, two Minnesota men were preparing for a game on the pickleball courts at Palmetto Dunes Pickleball Center and quickly found out that they played at the same local pickleball club and in the same men’s senior golf league back home. They have returned again this year and have shared that they continued their friendship back in Minnesota by gathering for dinner accompanied by their wives.
A similar occurrence has already transpired this year. In one of the round robins in February, two women were paired together as partners. A few screams and shouts later, it was apparent that they knew each other and we later learned that they were sorority sisters reconnecting after 40 years. As it turns out, Mary Beth and Cindy were in the same pledge class in 1979 at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. They quickly exchanged contact information and went on to beat their opponents.
As described by the “regulars”, round robins at Palmetto Dunes are the best two hours of social fun on Hilton Head Island. Palmetto Dunes has 10 round robins each week – every morning from 10:00am to 12:00pm and on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 3:00pm to 4:30pm. Each round robin is pro supervised with the goal to have every player playing at their skill level within the first 20 minutes, so matches are both competitive and social.
Don’t just take it from us. Be sure to review the comments by fellow pickleball players on TripAdvisor, Yelp or Google by searching Palmetto Dunes Tennis and Pickleball Center.
For more information visit PalmettoDunes.com/Activities. To reserve a spot in one of our clinics or round robins call (866) 242-3169.
See you on the court soon!
In 1965, as a way to entertain their children during the summer, a trio of fathers residing on Bainbridge Island, Washington invented the game that has since become known as “pickleball.”
Congressman Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum fashioned handmade equipment, and based the simple rules on the existing sports of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong.
According to the USA Pickleball Association, in 2016-17 the number of active players grew by more than 12 percent, most of the growth coming from the Baby Boomer set. About 75 percent of core pickleball players are 55 and older. At The Villages in Sumpter County, Florida — America’s largest retirement community — there are more than 100 pickleball courts.
Last year, our award-winning Palmetto Dunes Tennis and Pickleball Center doubled in size, expanding from eight pickleball courts to 16. In addition, Palmetto Dunes hired Sarah Ansboury as its Pickleball Touring Professional and Director of Pickleball Instruction. A nationally ranked tennis player, Ansboury has been a pioneer in the pickleball explosion of the last few years.
“Sarah Ansboury’s expertise and hard work conducting 40 PPR (Professional Pickleball Registry) workshops in less six months were integral to the rapid growth of the sport of pickleball,” said PPR CEO Dan Santorum. He added that PPR set a record at the end of 2018 with more than 1,000 members — easily becoming the world’s largest organization of pickleball coaches. PPR now has members in all 50 sates and is set to expand beyond its current 11 countries.
(Sarah Ansboury, Palmetto Dunes' Touring Professional and Director of Pickleball Instruction)
Now, the synergies between golf and pickleball are becoming evident, as many PGA Tour and LPGA Tour stars — as well as premier golf instructors — compete on the pickleball court. Former USGA executive director David Fay calls the bourgeoning sport, “terrific,” and adds: "I took one lesson and feel like I got it."
Among the tour pros who have caught the pickleball bug is Daniel Summerhays. When he built his house in Fruit Heights, Utah, Summerhays put in a half basketball court. Wanting to see what else he could play on the court, he came across pickleball, which he had played in high school.
Pickleball quickly became Summerhays’ non-golf sport of choice. “It's very competitive and fast, so it stimulates your brain, but we won't get hurt playing it,” he told Golf Digest.
Summerhays plays with friends and even competes in some amateur events. He also plays with his wife and kids, and he travels on tour with his paddles.
Fellow PGA Tour pros Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Ricky Barnes and Patton Kizzire have also picked up the sport.
Says Summerhays: “When I'm leaving a tour event, one of the first things I do, besides looking forward to spending time with my family, is to text my pickleball group asking where the game is the next morning.”
Unlike tennis, racquetball and many other sports, pickleball has a short learning curve; you don’t need months of lessons to participate in a fun game. It also is less running compared to tennis. However, at the same time, it can be very competitive and addicting for all ages, as well as an excellent, fun family activity.
Pickleball is a social sport and it is relatively inexpensive to enjoy. Rackets cost about $50.
Pickleball can be played as both a singles and doubles game, and can be played inside or outdoors, on a court that uses the dimension of a doubles badminton court, along with a modified tennis net. A pickleball court is 20 feet by 44 feet for both singles and doubles. A non-volley zone called the “Kitchen” extends 7 feet back from the net on each side. Games are usually played to 11, win by two, and only the server can score. Often a total of three games are played, typically taking no more than an hour and a half.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island continues to demonstrate its commitment to the up-and-coming sport of pickleball.
The award-winning Palmetto Dunes Tennis and Pickleball Center has doubled in size recently, expanding from eight pickleball courts to 16. The new courts at the renowned, mid-island Hilton Head resort were unveiled in October.
Along with its 16 pickleball courts (all lighted for night play), the Palmetto Dunes Tennis and Pickleball Center — which has been named the top tennis resort in the Carolinas by Tennis Magazine — boasts 21 clay tennis courts including four lighted for night play and a beautifully well-stocked, 1,800-square-foot tennis pro shop — Hilton Head Island's largest.
The Palmetto Dunes Tennis and Pickleball Center offers year-round dream vacations for racket enthusiasts of all skill levels.
“We added pickleball to our offerings at Palmetto Dunes after seeing how popular the sport had quickly become among all ages,” said Palmetto Dunes Director of Tennis & Pickleball John Kerr. “Now, having seen how popular pickleball is for our resort guests, we wanted to provide them bigger and better facilities.”
In June, Palmetto Dunes hired Sarah Ansboury as its Pickleball Touring Professional and Director of Pickleball Instruction. A nationally ranked tennis player, Ansboury has been a pioneer in the pickleball explosion of the last few years. She discovered pickleball in 2014 and was instantly hooked.
Ansboury entered her first national pickleball tournaments in 2015 and earned Gold and Silver at the September 2015 Tournament of Champions. In late 2017, she medaled four times at the USAPA National Tournament including winning a gold medal in the Women’s Doubles Open with her friend and partner, Gigi LeMaster.
Ansboury and her mixed doubles partner Tyson McGuffin, recently captured a bronze medal at the National Mixed Open.
In September, the first Ansboury Academy was held at Palmetto Dunes followed by an Island Rec Center Pickleball tournament being hosted at Palmetto Dunes.
In addition, Palmetto Dunes has played host to pickleball clinics conducted by some of the world’s top players, and the resort also offers weekly clinics and round robins.
One of America’s fastest growing sports in terms of popularity, pickleball is a fun sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong. Pickleball can by played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net, and can be played as doubles or singles.
All ages and skill levels can play the game. The rules are simple and pickleball is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.
No matter the season, we know you’ll fall in love with tennis at Palmetto Dunes! The Tennis Center at Palmetto Dunes serves up fun for all ages with a wide variety of programs including clinics, events, and lessons so no matter what your skill level is, you’ll love playing at Palmetto Dunes! Don’t believe us? Here are four reasons to fall in love with tennis at Palmetto Dunes.
1: Quality Courts
Our Tennis Center at Palmetto Dunes has 23 clay courts (and that’s not even including our pickleball courts!) for you to choose from. This means that even with our daily clinics, lessons, and round robins, there’s still room for casual one-on-one or doubles play.
2: Award-Winning Pros
Not only are our courts top notch, but our staff is aces! Recently, we were delighted to welcome Eric Wammock as our head tennis pro. Like many of the tennis pros at Palmetto Dunes, Eric brings decades of experience with him, including some time spent playing professionally. Whether you’re attending a group clinic or have signed up for a private lesson and no matter who you work with at Palmetto Dunes, you’ll be in the hands of a friendly, patient, experienced professional who can certainly take your game to the next level.
3: All The Time You Need
Six of the courts at Palmetto Dunes are lit for nighttime play and our tennis center is open seven days a week. So when you’re vacationing at Palmetto Dunes Resort you can play as many games, sets, and matches as you please! If you really want to take advantage of court time on your vacation, check out our tennis vacation packages!
4: Exciting Tournaments
At the Tennis Center at Palmetto Dunes, we like to put the results of your tennis instruction to the test with regular tournaments that welcome players of all levels. Check out our tournament schedule and get your game face on! Although we play to win, we also have a whole lot of fun!
Ready to fall in love with tennis at Palmetto
Dunes? Call 855-450-4861 to start planning your Palmetto Dunes vacation.
Sure, at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort we know that when you take a vacation, your main goal is to relax and have fun. We also know that relaxing and having fun does not necessarily translate into staying fit.
However, when you are visiting Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, enjoying your vacation and staying fit do not have to be mutually exclusive. We offer plenty of ways you can relax, enjoy your vacation AND stay fit at the same time! Condé Nast Traveler named Palmetto Dunes one of the country’s top 50 mainland resorts, which is why vacationers never run out of things to do at this beautiful, 2,000-acre locale.
From biking and fishing to surfing and paddleboarding, plus kayaking and canoeing the Palmetto Dunes lagoon, if you want to explore the island while engaging in some fun physical fitness, Hilton Head Outfitters is the place to go. They offer free delivery and pick-up for bikes rented for three days or more and they offer the largest bike fleet on the island. If you’re feeling particularly motivated, Hilton Head Outfitters can also teach you how to surf.
Of course, Palmetto Dunes is probably best known for its world-class golf. A trio of outstanding courses to choose from designed by three legends of the game: Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills and George Fazio. The Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy is a leader in providing quality golf lessons, instruction and support, offering nine distinct programs for golfers of all ages. Fifteen teaching pros, including some former PGA Tour professionals, provide hands-on instruction for all skill levels.
Want to run around and swing the racket, instead? Well, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is also the ultimate tennis vacation destination for anyone who wants to improve his or her court skills. The resort has been ranked among “The 50 Greatest U.S. Tennis Resorts” by Tennis Magazine, ranked No. 4 in the world for instruction and programming, ranked No. 3 in the world for overall children’s programs, ranked No. 2 in the world for best tennis pro shop and ranked in Top 25 in the world overall by Tennis Resorts Online. We also now offer Pickleball and POP Tennis, which are rapidly growing racket sports that can be enjoyed by all ages.
So, when you visit Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, plan on relaxing and having fun… but don’t plan on getting soft while you’re here!
At Palmetto Dunes, we love tennis! With 26 incredible clay courts, top-notch instructors, daily round robins and clinics, and the largest tennis pro shop on Hilton Head Island, can you blame us? Our tennis pros can help you improve your game during your stay, and so can these tips from some of the tennis world’s most famous players.
The key to mastering tennis fundamentals and swinging like the pros not only involves a lot of practice, it involves practice without a racket. Don’t believe us? Check out these tips from tennis’ most famous sisters:
“The key to a serve is your left hand.” – Serena Williams
“Work on your toss.” – Venus Williams
Andre Agassi, who won eight Grand Slams put it bluntly: “If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win.” (Luckily for you, our Tennis Center is open daily, and even has lights so you can play into the evening.)
More than perhaps any other sport, tennis is as mental as it is physical, as any Grand Slam Champion will tell you.
“Emotional strength in the game of tennis is everything.” – Billie Jean King
When asked what advice he’d give to players looking to improve their tennis game, Novac Djokovic said, "Passion, believing in yourself, in your abilities."
“You’ve just got to get over that mental hurdle and those battles in your own head during matches when things aren’t going so well.” – Samantha Stosur
When it comes down to it, it’s just you, your opponent, and the tennis court. Professional tennis players know that focus and attention are essential to coming out with a win.
“The next point? That’s all you must think about.” – Rod Laver
“Previously I always thought it was just tactical and technique, but every match has become almost mental and physical—I try to push myself to move well. I try to push myself not to get upset and stay positive, and that's what my biggest improvement is over all those years. Under pressure I can see things very clear.” – Roger Federer
Do these professional tennis tips have you feeling inspired to hit the courts? Let us help you plan the perfect tennis trip!
It happens every day… kids and grandparents pass by the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center and shout with glee, “They got Pickleball!” while their parents, avid tennis players exclaim, “What is Pickleball!?”
So, what is Pickleball?
Some people think that it is game for “old people,” or for people “that can’t play tennis anymore.” And some avid tennis players feigningly describe it as “not a real sport!” Those that venture out to our pickleball courts to give the game a try, quickly discern that pickleball is easy-to-learn, very social, much more aerobic than they thought, and FUN, FUN, FUN. Pickleball is not a replacement for tennis, nor is it even tennis-like. It is more akin to playing ping-pong standing on the table than anything, and who in their right mind could imagine that such a game could be anything but FUN.
Why has pickleball become so popular?
The answer is simple: it is easy to learn and fun to play. This is a magical combination. Most of the people who venture onto our courts at Palmetto Dunes to take one of our beginner clinics, have only recently learned of the sport. Most have walked by our courts, seen people playing, and quickly decide they have the physical prowess and the raw skill to try the game. Our clinics last an hour and within that time most people conclude that not only can they play the sport but it is a fun, affordable, social activity, where people laugh and have a good time. Most people stay for the hour and a half round robin that follows, and by the time they finish they are well prepared to begin playing in their local community and want to learn more about how to find places to play.
Today, pickleball is being played in 5,000+ locations nationwide, up from on 750 in 2010, with most of these locations only offering pickleball indoors on a drop-in basis.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort has started the island’s first dedicated Pickleball Center on eight outdoor courts. The Palmetto Dunes Pickleball Center has instructional pickleball programs for both the beginner and intermediate player and offers daily opportunities for players to play in round robins or drop-in’s.Come see us and join the revolution!
Hilton Head Island has everything you need for the perfect vacation! Beautiful beaches, warm weather, friendly people, stunning scenery, top-notch golf, there’s no end to all of the things you can experience! But there are some things that you can only experience at Palmetto Dunes. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Palmetto Dunes vacation so you can cross these one-of-a-kind activities off your list.
1. Outdoor Pickleball
Pickleball is one of America’s fastest growing sports. This fast-paced paddle racket sport is often played in gymnasiums but at Palmetto Dunes you can play it outdoors in the South Carolina sunshine! Our tennis center offers 8 outdoor Pickleball courts and a variety of round robins, clinics and lessons for players of all ages and skill levels.
2. Lagoon Fishing
The man-made lagoon at Palmetto Dunes is one of our most unique features. It not only helped create the dunes our beach is famous for, it’s a vibrant ecosystem that weaves its way past our golf courses and through the property. The lagoon is home to a variety of fish and the experts at Palmetto Lagoon Fishing Charters have all of the gear and knowledge you need to land a catch!
3. See a Mermaid
The waters of Hilton Head Island are home to an astounding array of marine life, but, if you head out from Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina at Palmetto Dunes, you just might see the most elusive and mystical marine creature of all: the mermaid! This one-of-a-kind experience is a memorable family excursion and a fun experience for kids of all ages.
4. Fried Chicken at The General Store
If you don’t think the fried chicken at The General Store is an experience then you haven’t tried it! It’s no secret that fried chicken is a staple of Southern cuisine, and the homemade recipe that’s made daily at The General Store is crispy, juicy, and just plain delicious!
5. Fireworks at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina
Summer in Hilton Head isn’t complete without the weekly fireworks display at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina! Join us throughout the summer for HarbourFest, and experience all that Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina has to offer, plus live music, family entertainment, and of course fireworks!
by Alex Archibald, a guest blogger
I started the day on the Robert Trent Jones course. I’d definitely recommend an early tee time! By the time we got to the 10th hole the sun was newly risen, and the golden glow and long shadows it cast over the green was just as glorious as getting a hole in one! If possible, Hurricane Matthew has made this hole even more beautiful, as you can see clear through the greenery and palm trees to the ocean and Palmetto Beach.
A big day full of active adventure calls for a big breakfast, so naturally I headed to The General Store. My meal was hearty, homemade, and delicious. I’ll be dreaming of that biscuit for weeks to come! My only regret was not trying the cheesy grits—a menu item I’ll have to go back and try another time.
I had the chance to sit in on a Golf Exhibition with the resorts Director of Golf Instruction, Doug Weaver upon my arrival at Palmetto Dunes on Monday afternoon. The free clinic is offered every Monday at 4 p.m. and I’d highly recommend it! Doug Weaver’s knowledge of the game is impressive to say the least. But it’s his cheerful demeanor and easy teaching style that truly stand out. He has a way of making the game accessible for players of all skill levels and he takes away any intimidation you may feel about playing the game. I ran into Doug several times throughout my stay (the man is everywhere!), giving private lessons, or leading stroke of the day workshops. One woman I talked to said that Doug Weaver had changed her swing more in three days than the past 10 years of golf! When you finally master the stroke you’ve been working on, it’s hard to tell who is more excited, him, or you! No wonder he’s been inducted into the Hilton Head Island Golf Hall of Fame.
I ran into a few golfers on their golf bikes while out on the Arthur Hills course. What a great way to get around and add an added active element to your golf game! One player I talked to joked that he liked the golf bike more than the game itself.
These courses truly are beautiful. I didn’t get a chance to see George Fazio, as it was being readied for its reopening this spring, but I’ll be eager to return to check it out. I think you’ll have a hard time choosing just one course to play should you head down to Palmetto Dunes for our Sports Itinerary!
As part of our Sports Itinerary we’re offering court time at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center, so I had to go check it out. Palmetto Dunes has over two dozen clay tennis courts, as well as junior-sized and pickleball courts, and the friendliest staff and tennis instructor’s you’ll ever meet! Hank’s Stroke of the Day clinic was great, and Mark’s Pickleball Clinic was a ton of fun. (If you’ve never played Pickleball before, you’ve got to try it! It’s a fun, fast-paced leisure sport that also happens to be one of the fastest-growing in America. Click here to learn more about the game.)
After lunch on the patio at Big Jim’s—feasting on shrimp n’ grits, a must-try meal when you’re in South Carolina—it was time to head to Shelter Cove Marina to try our hand at fishing. A chartered offshore fishing excursion is included in our Sports Itinerary and whether you’re an avid angler or a first-time fisherman you’ll enjoy being out on the water and enjoying the beauty of the bay at Palmetto Dunes. And, with the expert help from you’re guide, and a little luck, you might just catch a fish, too!
We headed out with Miles and John on The Phantom. We spent a delightful few hours exploring, trying different “fishing holes”, learning a ton about baiting and casting, and finally reeling in our whiting, we headed back to the marina for dinner. On our way we saw two dolphins! A mother and her baby. What a precious moment. A glimpse of dorsal fin and flick of tail were just about enough to make my day. John tells me that in the summer months when the water is warmer and the bait fish are plentiful, you can’t help but see dolphins on your excursion as there are so many in the area!
Once back on dry land, we headed to Bucci’s for dinner. Sitting on their patio during happy hour is the perfect place to regale with tales of your fishing adventures. (We won’t say a word if you add a few extra inches to the length of your catch!). I tried one of the chef’s favorites, veal marsala, and it was delicious! If you’re still stuck on seafood, try the calamari, catch of the day, or lobster ravioli. As I watched the sunset at the marina, and listen to the ocean breeze rustle the palm trees, I realized Palmetto Dunes has everything you need for an incredible active vacation.
Are you dreaming of a sports getaway to Palmetto Dunes? Enter our Palmetto Dunes Your Way contest and you could win our Sports Itinerary!
What does your Palmetto Dunes vacation look like? Maybe you’re a sports buff drawn to our golf courses on Hilton Head Island, our tennis courts, or our outstanding outdoor activities. Maybe you’re looking for a secluded escape for two, filled with hazy Southern days and romantic Lowcountry nights. Maybe you’re looking for a vacation destination that the whole family will enjoy.
This February we’re showcasing all that Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort offers by showing off three ways to make the most of your Hilton Head Island vacation. Starting February 6, Alex from our social media team will be sharing three incredible itineraries at Palmetto Dunes. She’ll be live updating our social media profiles with all of her adventures so make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Of course, we’re always offering vacation ideas and travel tips on our blog so be sure to check back to hear all about Alex’s experiences on Hilton Head Island. Stay tuned and enter to win your favorite itinerary to see Palmetto Dunes your way. That’s right! We’re giving away a jam-packed Palmetto Dunes vacation based on one of our itineraries. There’s no shortage of things to do on Hilton Head Island and when you combine our vacation expertise with our laid back Lowcountry lifestyle, planning the perfect vacation is easy as can be.
Hi, I’m Alex and I can’t wait to share some of Palmetto Dunes’ most memorable vacation experiences with you! Do you have any favorite activities, restaurants or Hilton Head Island views that you think should be included on the ultimate Palmetto Dunes itinerary? Share them in the comments or on our Facebook page.