Tennis

Palmetto Dunes to host two high-profile USTA championships in 2013

Resort new home for USTA S.C. 40 & Over Championships in May and USTA S.C. Combo Adult Championships in October

ccox@islandpacket.comJanuary 28, 2013 

Jackie Reynecke remembers when the vision began to change for Palmetto Dunes.

The resort was looking to become more active in hosting tennis championships, much like some of its Hilton Head Island counterparts. But they needed someone like Reynecke, who also works with the U.S. Tennis Association in addition to her duties with Palmetto Dunes, to help them take the leap from merely a facility site to the primary host.

"I think when Palmetto Dunes went into the accommodations business a couple years ago," Reynecke recalled, " ... and with my affiliation with (USTA), there became more of an interest in it from the resort standpoint. Why weren't we looking at this a little differently?"

The interest blossomed when Reynecke added yet another job title to her impressive resume last year, as she took over as the president of the Tennis Association of Hilton Head Island. TAHHI, as it is referred to, held the current contract for a pair of high-profile USTA championships in 2013.

Reynecke sought to place them at Palmetto Dunes.

"USTA South Carolina asked me to bid on it because of me being with TAHHI," Reynecke said. "I went to the resort for sponsorship, because why (not)? I obviously work here. (USTA) has worked here many, many times and they love the resort and love working at our tennis facilities. The fit was right and the resort came on board with me."

Fast forward a few months and Palmetto Dunes has the tennis championships it so coveted. The resort will host the USTA S.C. 40 & Over Championships from May 18 to 20 before bringing down the USTA S.C. Combo Adult Championships -- the state's largest championship -- from Oct. 17 to 21.

"We're excited," Reynecke said. "It's going to be a very, very busy year at Palmetto Dunes this year. Two good state championships are awesome for us."

Palmetto Dunes, named the top resort in the Carolinas by Tennis Magazine last year, will host both events for the first time. The resort has served as a facility site for the 40 & Over event in the past.

The resort features 23 clay courts and two Nove ProBounce courts with six of of them lighted for night play. Those facilities will come in handy this year, as Palmetto Dunes is set to host 13 tournaments in all this year, starting with the No Snow Winter Classic Feb. 8 to 10.

The two big USTA championships are in the final year of a three-year contract that TAHHI successfully bid on. The events spent the last two seasons at Sea Pines thanks to the help of former TAHHI president Jim Purcell.

Reynecke anticipates the association bidding on them once again next year. And should they successfully win, she doesn't envision a scenario where Palmetto Dunes sits out on the quest to host them.

"Once they happen and after they're done," Reynecke said, "I think with any success at all, they're going to want me to pursue them in the future, to try and bid to keep them."

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