Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach - 40 years of tennis excellence

Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach -
40 years of tennis excellence

by Rich Neher
Palisades Tennis Club was founded in 1974 with 6 tennis courts and quickly expanded to 16, attracting the cream of Orange County's tennis players to its ranks. Dubbed the John Wayne Tennis Club, it was purchased in 1995 by tennis pro Ken Stuart, who originally designed it with Wayne after being hired as its first Head Tennis Pro and General Manager.
Today, Palisades enjoys a well-earned reputation as one of the few remaining private tennis clubs that focus on its members privacy, exclusivity – and member service. Palisades’ members get real value for their money. Core among the many amenities, services and accomplishments of this facility is its sophisticated, proprietary MatchMaking software system (see photo below this article). Match-arranging is one of the most sought-after perks a private club can offer, and many tennis clubs are not able to provide it.
Asked if one event stood out for Stuart during this 40-year run he said, “Without a doubt, hosting the 1997 Davis Cup match between the USA and the Netherlands.” Over 120 million people saw that match live on ESPN. One of the local newspapers rated it as the second most significant sports story of the century in Orange County, just behind the Angels winning the World Series.
Palisades members take their tennis seriously, whether they are a beginner or a National Champion (Palisades currently has 4 full dues-paying members who have won USTA National titles or greater). One of the more astounding achievements of the Palisades Tennis Club is its number of top-quality players. Although a majority of the members are at or near the 4.0 levels, Palisades has attracted over 220 members whose ratings are 5.0 and higher.
Christopher Burkhart, Palisades Tennis Club's Director of Membership, says, "It is easy to run the Membership department at Palisades Tennis Club. After 40 years of adhering to the same high standards, prospects can see for themselves why they want to be a part of our rich history. Every tour is a chance to point out the amenities many clubs lack, such as our proprietary Matchmaking System; state -of-the-art ball machine with iPhone app; our Fit+ personal trainers; the Palisades Pub designed by John Wayne; and some of the best pros, court directors and staff in California."
Acknowledging the great relationship the club has with its immediate neighbor, the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, Burkhart adds, "It is almost an afterthought to include the Hyatt Regency's amenities which are also part of a Palisades membership: 3 swimming pools, waterslide, volleyball, a Starbucks, Shor Seafood Grill and a brand new workout/yoga center. This is why we say Palisades is not a tennis club, it is a lifestyle."
Amenities at Palisades also include Pro Shop, FIT+ Personal Training, Courtside Cafe, Head Pro Robert Van't Hof, private massage and the Palisades Pub.
Teri DeLong, the club's General Manager, says, "Palisades Tennis Club provides a great atmosphere for our members to interact and socialize with one another. As we enter our 40th year it’s obvious to me what really makes this club tick and that’s the members. We have over 50 Palisades members who have either been here continuously since 1974 or were members 40 years ago that have returned to the club and remained members. We provide a tremendous amount of activities to suit all age ranges including Junior Tennis programs, Family Sunday Fundays, Club Tournaments, Friday night round robins with live music to entertain the members, pool tournaments, Mixers and much, much more. All of these different activities and events continue to bring our members together which gives them an environment to develop lifelong friendships with one another."
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