The USTA today announced that the BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, the Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club in Ormond Beach, and the Star Island Resort in Kissimmee, were 3 of 33 winners in the USTA’s annual Outstanding Facility Awards program, which recognizes excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country.
BallenIsles is a 65,000 sqft Sports Complex that features 21 Tennis & nine Pickleball Courts. They were a host site for the 2022 ITF Senior World Championships, three USTA tournaments, two USTA Junior team tennis events, and in recent years we have hosted the Love Serving Autism charity event. Venus and Serena Williams have also trained and hosted exhibitions for more than a decade at BallenIsles. The facility is home to acclaimed professional staff with playing and teaching experience at the Davis Cup Level, US Open, and Wimbledon. The Director of Racquets, Gary Henderson, reached top 250 ATP highest ranking and the Head Racquet Sports Professional, Andrei Deascu, reached a top 130 ATP high ranking and is also ranked currently 11 in the world in professional pickleball.
Over at Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club, this friendly, tennis community includes players who come five days a week to play and many players who even get together outside of the tennis courts. They have 390 active players in the club that are friends both on and off the court. Plantation Bay’s complete Har-Tru clay resurfacing, new shade structures, and new fencing contribute to their serene setting and beautiful atmosphere. Their new clubhouse will be complete later this year. The club provides play opportunities for every member of the family ages 3+. Although this area has struggled to get kids from playing in clinics to the next level, Plantation Bay has provided local tournaments, a growing junior program open to the public, and junior team tennis teams in Orange, Green, and Yellow. One way they are cultivating new, adult players through an Adult “Learn to Play” program with two tracks: 1-brand new adult players, 2-players who haven’t played in years, but want to get back on the courts. This program then feeds into their league play. Currently, they have 8 teams out of the facility and that number seems to grow each year.
Lastly, Star Island hosts USTA adult, junior, or wheelchair tournaments during three or more weekends of every month. There’s almost always something exciting happening here! Events and programming to help introduce new and novice players to tennis is Star Island’s #1 focus. All of their courts are lined for 60′ and 36′ courts and the Net Gen curriculum is the center of their programming. Their highly trained staff of USPTA and PTR certified coaches are determined to make tennis fun, exciting, and challenging for players of all levels. Their focus on on-court Video Analysis separates their instruction from a typical tennis lesson. Along with their beautiful grass-bleacher center court, the tennis facility is surrounded by trees, pools, bars, and other resort amenities that make Star Island great for spectators and players, alike.
“Great tennis facilities like the BallenIsles Country Club, Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club, and Star Island Resort help us to grow the game at the grassroots level, and we are proud to recognize them for their ongoing impact on the sport of tennis,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive of Community Tennis for USTA. “These facilities have embraced many of our tennis initiatives and kept the sport at the forefront of its community each year.”
To be considered for an award, facilities must be under the jurisdiction of a park and recreation department, an educational institution, a nonprofit corporation or be a private or commercially-owned-and-operated facility that offers both USTA and public programming designed to help grow tennis.
Facilities were judged on the following criteria: overall layout and adaptation to site; excellence of court surface and lights; ease of maintenance; accommodations for players, spectators and press/officials; aesthetics; graphics (including the use of signs and landscaping); amenities such as casual seating for spectators, food services and social areas; and the facilities’ participation in USTA programs.
Nominated facilities were voted on in the following categories: Public Courts that are either small tennis centers with 2-10 courts or large tennis centers with 11 or more courts; Private Facilities that support the USTA and other “growth of the game” programs open to the public; and Educational Institutions such as colleges, universities, public and private grade schools, middle schools, or high schools.
All 2022 award winners will receive a wall plaque and an all-weather sign, which can be mounted at the facility. One of the award winners will earn the prestigious “Featured Facility of the Year” designation and be honored at next year’s USTA Annual Meeting & Conference.