PICKLEBALL IS PICKING UP STEAM IN THE LOWCOUNTRY

Pickleball3The funny name might raise an eyebrow, and the analogy to playing ping-pong on a badminton court might be tough to wrap your head around, but more and more Lowcountry residents are falling in love with pickleball.

While some devoted tennis players are reluctant to embrace the game, others find it to be a great alternative thanks to its smaller court and quick pace. Take, for example, Christine McGrath, a top touring pro who discovered pickleball after playing collegiate tennis.

LOCAL PLAYERS HAVE EYES ON VICTORY AT BERKELEY HALL EVENT

Players Am01

The list of golfers who have won the Players Amateur is impressive, but the list of players who have teed it up in the Lowcountry’s premier amateur golf event without hoisting the trophy is even more eye-popping.

NEW TEAM FINDS THAT PUTTING FANS FIRST IS A HOME RUN

For years, Grayson Stadium sat half-empty most nights during the oppressively hot Savannah summer, even as top prospects and future major leaguers took the field for the Savannah Sand Gnats or their South Atlantic League opponent.

The team’s owners insisted they simply couldn’t draw fans to the aging stadium, which didn’t have the bells and whistles of more modern ballparks. The Sand Gnats asked voters to fund a new downtown stadium, and when the taxpayers balked, they moved to Columbia.

POONA FORD TO GO TO SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

When he didn’t hear his name called during the NFL Draft, Poona Ford was mad “for like 30 minutes.” Then it was time to get back to work.

Ford was prepared for the possibility that no one would pick him during the seven-round draft. After all, he’s heard for years all the reasons why he shouldn’t be able to excel.

REALTORS AND MORTGAGE LENDERS CELEBRATE TOURNAMENT’S 25TH YEAR

tournament2A beautiful day set the stage May 7 for area Realtors and mortgage lenders to tee off at their annual golf and tennis tournament, and big money was at stake. But not necessarily for the winners — the top golfers and tennis players earned gift certificates donated by local businesses — but, rather, for local nonprofit groups that work to improve quality of life in the Lowcountry.

High School tennis team

THE HILTON HEAD ISLAND HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ TENNIS TEAM won its second state championship in the past five years when the Seahawks defeated South Aiken 4-3 to claim the Class 4A title on May 12 at Cayce Tennis Center.

Roster: Matt Oliver, Davis Phillips, Cooper Steinour, Michael Oliver, Nate Anderson, Alex Ittenbach, Alex Ruckno, Shane Mason, Mario Magnan, Moses Grant, Nate Anderson, Justin Williams

Coaches: Jennifer Weitekamper, Bobby Tillison 

ANGLERS REEL IN BIG PRIZE MONEY

Only a handful of the 22 boats entered in this year’s Hilton Head Harbor Wahoo Shootout were able to endure the choppy seas April 21 to get far enough offshore to troll for wahoo, and only two stuck it out long enough to dig one out, making for a lot of discouraged anglers confined to the shore.

Pro golferNick Faldo presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the International Junior Golf Academy’s new Performance Training Center in Bluffton. IJGA recently undertook a $2 million building renovation turning a 20,000-square-foot horse barn at Old Carolina into a state-of-the-art indoor training facility for junior golfers.

High school athletes throughout the Lowcountry are solidifying their plans to compete at the next level as the school year comes to a close.

Seven Hilton Head High student-athletes recently signed letters of intent, including a trio of NCAA Division I signees from the Seahawks’ cross country and track & field teams – Josh Williams (Georgia Tech), Mallory Liggett (Kentucky), and Ryan Moosbrugger (College of Charleston). Golfer Charlie Farrell signed with Lander, Boyce Kobleur signed to play baseball at Florence-Darlington Tech, and three-time state champion wrestler Billy Christie signed with Newberry.

JOHN FARRELL TALKS SEA PINES, HERITAGE PREP AND MORE

John FarrellSpend time with John Farrell and you’ll quickly see that more than three decades in the Lowcountry have loosened the soil around this sharp-witted jokester’s Yankee roots.

But if the conversation turns to Sea Pines Resort, where Farrell has been employed as a golf professional since 1989, the tone turns more earnest.