The Dataw Summer Splash didn't truly flourish until recently, when the USTA Level 3 tennis event broke off from the Beaufort Water Festival in search of bigger things.
Cathy McGill saw that firsthand.
"It just kind of burned out a little bit, I guess," said the tournament director, who was part of the break when it happened in the mid-2000s. "I don't think they quite had the budget for it that we needed. ... It just didn't really have a sufficient budget to run a good, sanctioned tournament like that."
The event moved to the Beaufort County tennis courts in 2006 before ultimately finding a home at the Dataw Island Club three years ago. The tournament has continued to grow since the latest relocation as it expects another 120-plus players to compete in this year's edition, which gets underway Friday and runs through Sunday.
"I had a lot of people tell me they wanted a tournament," McGill recalled. "I said, 'If we can get our community together and have people gather sponsors ... we can make it happen.' They did. They took the ball and ran with it."
An estimated 123 players will take part this weekend, just slightly fewer than a year ago, McGill said. The event has every division from 3.0 all the way up to the open level, where 10 players will compete in the men's open singles. Singles, doubles and mixed doubles are all part of the action, which will take place on Dataw's eight clay courts.
Play will begin at noon Friday and last until 9 p.m. It will resume on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. with the final round slated to begin at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Winners will receive folding chairs with the tournament logo printed on it while finalists will take home tote bags. All entrants will be given a T-shirt and other items inside a bag that turns into a beach mat.
A cookout for players and their families will be held Friday evening, and lunch will be provided Saturday afternoon. Families can also make use of all the club's amenities over the weekend outside of the golf course.
There is no charge for visitors to come and take in the action. Guests should tell the guards at the Dataw Island Club gate that they are there for the tournament and they will receive a three-day pass.
Dataw Summer Splash
What: USTA, level 3 tennis tournament
Where: Dataw Island Club
When: Friday through Sunday. Action begins at noon Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday