In light of the April 8 grand reopening of the reimagined Racquet Club, Head Racquets Professional Geoff Hedges can’t help but get reflective.
Geoff’s career has been marked by various shifts and turns, from being a tennis coach at age 15; to joining the team that trained a U.S. Open girls singles champ; to working at various clubs as the director of tennis or the head professional; to moving from his native Georgia to Texas and back again. Change has been a constant.
The seasoned coach-turned-tennis pro is facing another shift of sorts with the reopening of the Racquet Club, which will introduce a reimagined facility not limited to pickleball, tennis and bocce. While those amenities will remain a priority, the 107-year-old building in the geographic center of Big Canoe will serve as a diversified retail space offering athleisure wear, hiking gear and pet provisions – along with all things tennis, bocce and pickleball. The Racquet Club’s patio will become a designated gathering place where anyone can enjoy a beverage available for purchase in the Racquet Club.
In parallel to that, the Big Canoe racquet amenity, like everywhere else in the country, is seeing an ever-increasing interest in pickleball. Since his arrival to Big Canoe in 2021, Geoff has witnessed a higher percentage of members opting for pickleball over tennis. In response to the ongoing interest, the Racquet Club is launching pickleball clinics – for beginners, intermediate and advanced – that start on Tuesday, April 11.
“All clubs today are about more than just tennis,” Geoff says, “and we are no different. Tennis is my passion. It’s what got me here. However, we can’t deny the popularity of pickleball.”
Geoff was on the ground floor in helping to start one of the first individual pickleball leagues in the country with Tennis Competitors of Dallas, which was established by founding members of the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association. By the time league launched its inaugural season in Texas in the fall of 2020, it boasted about 1,500 players.
In addition to more pickleball clinics at the Racquet Club, Geoff aims to add both sanctioned and unsanctioned tournaments.
While Geoff continues to respond to the ever-changing interests of its membership, he can’t hide his undying love of tennis, especially for playing on one of the club’s six clay courts, which give players a different sort of challenge than a hard court. Clay courts are more forgiving on the body – something Geoff, who had back surgery 12 years ago, says he appreciates.
Like pickleball, tennis is key to the Racquet Club amenity and round robins and clinics remain integral. “We are looking into resurrecting our Member-Guest Tennis Tournament, which I understand we haven’t had in quite some time,” Geoff says. “What better way for our members to show off our club and showcase themselves to their friends?”
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